Using the best mosquito repellent can help you a great deal to avoid itchy bites provoked by these annoying insects. One great natural repellent is lavender. You can use it by growing it around your house or by applying essential oil. Whichever method you prefer, it will keep these pests away from you.
What is Lavender?
Lavender, or Lavandula, is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. It originated in the Old World and can be found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, across Europe to northern and eastern Africa, southwest Asia, China, to southeast India, and the Mediterranean.
Most members of the genus are grown extensively in temperate climates primary as ornamental plants for landscape and garden use. It is also used as a culinary herb, as well as commercially for the extraction of essential oils.
Lavandula angustifolia is the most widely cultivated species and it is often referred to as lavender. Also, there is a color named for the shade of the flowers of this genus.
In the past years, lavender has been grown for the production of its essential oil. This results from the distillation of the flower spikes of certain lavender species. The oil has multiple cosmetic uses and it is also believed to have a few medicinal uses as well. You should know that unlike the plant form, lavender essential oil is toxic if swallowed.
Do Mosquitoes Like Lavender?
Besides the cosmetic, culinary, and medicinal use, lavender is also used as an effective natural mosquito repellent. Therefore, even if this plant is highly appreciated for its lovely scent, mosquitoes cannot stand it.
To go deeper with the explanations, lavender oil contains up to a quarter of linalool. This is a terpenoid alcohol which contributes to its fragrance. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, this element is also an active ingredient in multiple registered products that are used to control mosquitoes outside.
Therefore, clearly, the answer to this question is no, mosquitoes definitely do not like lavender. They cannot stand it, actually!
Lavender vs. Mosquitoes
Even though this plant is a favorite scent for many people, these pests would certainly disagree. They simply detest the strong scent released by this purple flower and will stay away at all cost. If you want to use this plant as a repellent, the most effective method is to apply its oils. You can do so directly on the skin or you can make a body spray.
You can do even more, especially if you live in a house. You can plant lavender around your home. Not only will it keep your surroundings mosquito-free, but it will also make the landscape around your house look beautiful.
Based on various studies, the linalool from lavender has a similar effect on mosquitoes’ olfactory receptors as diethyltoluamide or DEET which is a chemical used in numerous conventional mosquito repellents.
Unfortunately, not all of us have access to the plant. If you live in an apartment, you cannot grow plants around it. Still, there is some good news! Lavender oil is easily accessible and works great. It is highly aromatic and also very concentrated.
It consists of the essential components of the plant’s volatile oils which are very effective in protecting it from predatory insects, as well as various diseases. Due to the fact that these and other chemicals in the oil are changed by different methods of processing, the oil produced by steam distillation is preferred over those distilled by chemical solvents or water.
Also, if you want to purchase lavender oil, be aware that those labeled as fragrance oil are most likely combined with synthetic components. Instead, you should look for certified organic or 100% pure-labeled essential oil.
A study from 2009 that was published in the Journal of Vector Ecology revealed that the use of linalool, the active ingredient from lavender oil, in diffusers achieved a mosquito repellency rate of 93% indoors, and 58.5% outdoors.
The same study also showed that geraniol which is the active element in geranium oil is even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than linalool and citronella, that is also a known effective repellent. So, even though lavender oil is a very good mosquito repellent, you can enhance its effectiveness by combining it with other oils.
A recommendation from the Colorado State University is to blend lavender oil with cinnamon oil, citronella oil, or tea tree oil to keep these nasty insects away when outdoors.
As it is with most essential oils, lavender oil should also be diluted with a carrier oil before using it on the skin, in order to avoid irritations. You can use sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. As a general rule of thumb, a basic skin oil contains one to four drops of essential oil for each tablespoon of carrier oil.
This should help you get the correct quantities for your DIY mosquito repellent project. To keep these insects away outdoors, there is another way you could use this oil. Put two or three drops of undiluted oil on a piece of ribbon or cloth and keep it near you.
Also, in a small bowl of potpourri, you can add some oil and entertain your guests without having to deal with mosquitoes.
You should know that the use of essential oils is not recommended during pregnancy, nor on infants or very young children. You should always consult a qualified medical specialist before doing so.
Furthermore, when you apply oils on the skin, make sure you avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose, and mouth as well. What is more, the inhalation of lavender oil is also associated with an induced state of relaxation. Therefore, it is possible to increase the effects of anti-anxiety treatments for some people.
Lavender oil, as well as other types of essential oils, may be a great way to keep mosquitoes away, but you should not cause yourself other problems in the process.
Other Effective Natural Repellents
As mentioned earlier, certain plants and the essential oils extracted from them can do wonders when it comes to getting rid of mosquitoes. Lavender is a great choice, but there are others that are very efficient as well. You can use them separately or combine them.
Citronella is an excellent choice as a mosquito repellent. Citronella oil is extracted from the lemongrass plant and it is regularly used in commercial insect sprays as well as candles. Since it has a lemon-like fragrance, it is usually very pleasant for people but mosquitoes find it extremely irritating.
If you have the possibility, plant lemongrass outside your home. It will look very attractive and it will keep the pesky insects away. The essential oil can be applied on the skin directly or you can blend it with other oils.
Garlic is known for its multiple culinary, medicinal, and even cosmetic uses. It will make you feel better if you catch a cold, you can use it as part of your hair treatment, and you can deter mosquitoes. Why not say things as they are? When you eat garlic, you stink! It is really not a pleasant experience to talk to someone who has just eaten garlic.
However, mosquitoes detest this scent too, and they will not come near you. That happens because its active ingredient, allicin, masks us from these insects by interfering with our natural scent. The good news is that you do not necessarily have to eat garlic in order to repel mosquitoes.
You can simply cut some cloves into slivers and spread them around your outdoor living areas. You can also combine it with essential oils and other liquids to create a spray for your yard, and even for your body. You will certainly keep mosquitoes away. And vampires too, while we are talking about blood-sucking creatures.