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Never Use Natural Mosquito Repellants Until You Read This
Mosquitoes are the deadliest creature alive, and are responsible for the spread of diseases like malaria, yellow fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and dengue fever. We have learned over the years that measures should be intensified to provide workable solutions that will keep mosquitoes away.
An interview with the technical advisor of the American Mosquito Control Association, Joe Conlon was conducted to uncover solutions to the increasing menace of these annoying creatures our homes.
On the use of N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), Colon rated it as the standard repellent in the market because it makes it virtually impossible for mosquitoes to locate humans, by blocking the receptors in the antennae of the mosquitoes. He went on to suggest a 25 to 30 percent increase in the formula if one wanted to get from four to eight hours protection against them.
While The American Mosquito Control Association says it has found no evidence of toxicity in DEET, even rendering it safe for use even during pregnancy. They merely acknowledge a major problem found was that its weird feeling and offensive smell negatively affected its usage. However Duke University pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia found that frequent and prolonged DEET exposure led to diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes when studied on rats. This study states that humans should stay away from the stuff.
Picaridin is a synthetic derivative of pepper plants that perform pretty much the same function as DEET but with a better smell and light feel. Conlon suggests a 15 to 20 percent formulation. However, it is important to note that different mosquito species respond differently to different active ingredients.
Some other alternatives to DEET include; the Citronella oil, which is mild and can give about an hour protection; the Patchouli and clove oil which offers similar protection to the citronella oil with the clove oil offering more at a purified level because of its extreme corrosiveness. Lemon eucalyptus oil is another valid alternative to DEET which works for about six hours and should not be used on children less than three years of age according to Karen Thompson, an editor of InsectCop, a pest control blog.
The mixture of lemon eucalyptus oil, alcohol and neutral oils (like soybeans or olive oil) can also be used. Another recommendation by Conlon is refined and concentrated catnip oil, giving about seven hours of protection. However, care must be taken when using any of these because “natural” does not equate to “safer option,” especially for young children. Conlon confirmed that research is underway to find a “natural,” perfect, natural mosquito repellent.
While repellents (both natural and otherwise) are great, there are still practices that can be adopted to make it impossible for mosquitos to live around us. This includes draining any stagnant water and ensuring that any pool of water around us is always clean. Infestations can be prevented by properly cleaning containers with soap and water when their content is emptied out. Emptying your containers every five days can go a long way too because, according to Colon, a mosquito develops from an egg to an adult in a minimum of five days.
Vents should be closed to prevent their entrance into your home. Make use of different repellents and traps to cut down their population in your area. Finally, carry out adequate research on any natural product you want to use by reading up on EPA guidelines.