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Natural Mosquito Repellent

There is nothing more annoying than being awakened in the middle of the night by the unnerving sound or itch of a pesky mosquito bite. It may be tempting to slather on the insect repellant but please before you do, read on.

There are plenty of natural alternatives out there so avoid the poison stuff and try these safe and natural alternatives.

As my mother would say “All good Italians eat garlic”. Well you don’t have to be Italian to know that eating enough garlic will keep the mosquitoes, vampires and your loved ones away! The problem is the ladder of that statement, so here are some sweeter smelling alternatives.

Duke University Medical Center did a study on diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) which is used in many repellants and found that applying it directly to the skin can be very dangerous. In fact, it has been linked to brain damage and as with all pesticides; it affects children and infants more severely. So take caution when dashing into your local drugstore and grabbing those adorably packaged repellents; they should come with a cross and bones on the label.

Citronella, that old standby your grandmother told you about, really is an effective insect repellant. Most commercial products containing citronella actually contain fragrance oil and not real essential oils, which is what you want. Fragrance oil is ineffective as a repellant and is potentially dangerous.

Be sure to purchase a good quality essential oil and never apply directly to the skin. Add a few drops per tablespoon to a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil, sesame seed oil, or soybean oil and apply liberally.

Other essential oils known to be effective mosquito repellants include catnip, lemon eucalyptus, regular eucalyptus, cinnamon, and lavender essential oils. Dilute these essential oils just as you would dilute citronella in a carrier oil and apply liberally to your skin.

Neem seed oil is derived from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree of India. Researchers in India claim that it’s powerful insect repelling properties are far more effective than DEET. The US National Research Council and the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association both concur with these findings.

Soybean oil is probably the best choice for a carrier oil as The New England Journal of Medicine published a study claiming that soybean oil-based mosquito repellents are just as effective as DEET-containing repellents.

You can also mix the essential oils with alcohol and spray onto clothing or bedding or spray the room. Just be careful to avoid the eyes! Store any unused natural repellent in a dark bottle away from heat and sunlight.

Make Life Delicious,

Chef Tina Jo

Early August is the peak transmission period for the West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. About one in 150 people infected develop severe illness, which includes high fever, coma and paralysis; it can be deadly. People are urged to wear repellent, dump out standing water around homes and report dead birds by calling 877-968-2473 or going online to


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