Here at Gritman we are all about natural. Is there a safe and effective natural mosquito repellent? Both safety and effectiveness must be present for it to be a good product. Natural products are usually safe but are they as effective as the synthetic? Unfortunately neither can say that they are totally effective. Then it becomes a matter of personal preference.
Lemon scents seem to deter mosquitoes, so anything with a lemon scent will be in some way effective. Citronella is mostly sited as a mosquito prevention. It does have a lemon scent but we have found it mildly effective. The most effective lemon scented oil that we have found is lemon eucalyptus. Lemon Eucalyptus is even on the government approved list. This oil once applied will last for up to six hours. DEET can last for 8 hours.
DEET is the most effective of the synthetics. There are some studies that suggest that it should be avoided and there are others that say that it is safe. Being an aromatherapist I just cannot stand the smell. I have banned it from the Gritman Garden. Personally I avoid it for myself as well.
There is good evidence that Lemon Eucalyptus is just about as effective as DEET. Some studies suggest that its effectiveness is the same as DEET. I use Lemon Eucalpytus and have found this to be true. I was out in the salt marshes in Galveston when a swarm of mosquitoes surrounded me. They came on very quickly and I was totally submerged in black flying bodies. I reached into my pocket for the lemon eucalyptus. I only needed to take the cap off as they totally disappeared. I was surprised as I thought I would need to spray it into the air.
There is also evidence coming out of the University of Florida that recognizes geraniol as their first alternative to DEET. Geraniol products tend to last for two to four hours before you need to use them again. Essential Oils with geraniol are geranium, palmarosa, citronella, lemongrass, gingergrass, lemon eucalyptus, and litsea cubeba. Geraniol has a rose,lemon scent. Chemically rose and lemon scents are very close to one another. Often the aldehydes of rose scented alcohols become strong lemon scents.
Making a Mosquito Spray.
- 2 oz Spray Bottle
- Alcohol like Vodka or EverClear
- 40 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus
- 20 drops of Geranium
Add Alcohol to bottle so that it is 1/4 full. Drop in oils. Shake. Add water and shake again. Label.
Gritman also makes No Fly Zone, a natural mosquito repellent. Always shake before using. You can add other lemon scented oils to this if you wish.
Spray onto body or exposed areas as you need. Be careful about exposing your eyes to essential oils. If the oils get into the eyes, use a fatty oil like fractionated coconut oil in the eyes and blot away the oil that has now absorbed the essential oils. The stinging will stop immediately.
If you find that you need something a little stronger, use a drop of garlic in your blend. Garlic can be offensive to others so use it only if you have too. Extra Strength No Fly Zone is the Gritman mosquito repellent with garlic. If you are also looking for spray to deter TICKS then add camphor to your blend.
Natural Mosquito products can be safe and effective.