by Tracy Rohland
Mosquito season is in full swing, and Down to Earth wants you to remain bite-free, naturally. There are countless bug repellents on the market today, but the majority of them contain harmful insecticides such as DEET. A recent study by Duke University pharmacologist Dr. Mohamed Abou-Donia resulted in an extensive list of neurological problems caused by DEET and other conventional insecticides such as memory loss, tremors, and slurred speech. The study also found that DEET killed brain cells and caused severe behavioral changes in rats. In addition to the dangers it poses to humans, DEET can seep into the ground and water, harming birds, fish, and other animals.
Fortunately, there are alternatives without using harsh chemicals: The most effective natural mosquito repellents are essential oils, such as citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, tea tree oil, and cedar oil. All of these oils are to be applied topically, not internally. There are many products on the market that are comprised of a combination of these oils and are quite effective. The secret is to reapply often, about every 30 minutes or so for the best results. Citronella candles and incense are also common and effective, especially when used in combination with the oils. Other natural repellents that are currently being researched for their effectiveness include fennel, thyme, clove oil, and neem oil. Be sure to check out the various natural insect/mosquito repellents available in our Down to Earth Wellness Centers.
Another suggestion is you can also wear loose fitting clothing and lighter colors to discourage the mosquitoes. Finally, be sure to prevent mosquitoes from living and breeding near you home. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as 1 tablespoon of water in only 7-10 days. Get rid of any sources of standing water around your property, including buckets, bottles and cans, car tires, bird baths, and tarps. With these simple precautions and the above mentioned essential oils, you can peacefully co-exist with mosquitoes all summe