Top 10 Pesticide Alternatives
Even though the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) considers DEET to be safe, it is
still a compound comprised of synthetic materials. Most toxicologist consider the long-term use of any synthetic
chemical to be potentially hazardous to ones health.
Pesticide alternatives should be used whenever possible to limit "pesticide poisoning" of human
tissue over long exposure times.
Below are some good alternatives to pesticides as determined from a study by the US
Department of Agriculture.
This study compared DEET to other natural mosquito repellents.
1. REPEL LEMON EUCALYPTUS - This study found that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the most effective
repellent, more so than a 7% DEET repellent providing 120 minutes of protection.
2. BITE BLOCKER - A repellent called Bite Blocker ranks second. Studies found that Bite Blocker
provided 94.6 minutes of protection against mosquitos. This is slightly more effective than Off Skintastic for Kids
(containing 4.75% DEET), which provided 88.4 minutes of protection. Bite Blocker contains the oils of geranium,
soybean and coconut and is available as a spray or lotion.
3. CITRONELLA - A well-known natural mosquito repellent. The oils from the plant are used to
make lotions, sprays, and candles. Further studies assessed the effectiveness of 3% citronella candles and 5%
citronella incense in protecting subjects from bites. They found that subjects who were positioned near the
citronella candles had 42.3% less bites and those near the citronella incense had 24.2% fewer bites. Based on these
results, citronella candles shouldn't be used as a stand-alone repellent, all though they may help in combination
with topical repellents.
Here are some other natural repellents which can be applied directly to the skin or
purchased in various product formulations:
4. STRAIGHT VANILLA - Studies show that even though humans find vanilla quite pleasant, it
appears that insects DO NOT.
5. FENNEL - A small study by researchers at Seoul National University in Korea found that a
spray mosquito repellent containing 5% fennel oil was 84% effective after 90 minutes and a repellent cream with 8%
fennel oil was 70% effective after 90 minutes.
6. THYME - In one study, carvacrol and alpha-terpinene, two compounds derived from the essential
oil of thyme, were found to have significantly greater repellency than a commercial DEET repellent. The researchers
suggest that a spray made with 2% alpha terpinene is a promising natural mosquito repellent. However, don't try to
make a thyme oil repellent at home- it is too irritating and strong-smelling to be used at effective concentrations
7. CLOVE OIL - Two studies have found that undiluted topical clove oil is active against
mosquitoes. However, like thyme oil, clove oil should not be applied undiluted to skin as a homemade repellent.
8. CELERY EXTRACT - A Thai study compared 15 mosquito repellents with a topical extract from
celery. The researchers found that the extract did not irritate the skin or cause a burning sensation. It was found
to be active against a wide range of mosquito species comparable to a 25% DEET formula.
9. VITAMIN B1 - Vitamin B1 is often taken to help repel mosquitoes but is often considered to
expensive to use as an insect repellent.
10. GARLIC - There is a common belief that ingesting garlic can provide protection against
mosquitoes due to the odor being emitted from skin. However, it is believed that prolonged ingestion may be needed
and the odor can be offensive to other humans.
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