Natural mosquito control repellents have often been compared with synthetic mosquito repellents – but which is best? A repellent is a spray you use on your skin, clothing or anywhere else you want to deter mosquitoes from landing on. A mosquito repellent might not be an insecticide that kills the mosquito, but simply a deterrent that the insects do not like. For example, pepper sprays applied to bird feeders deter squirrels and other rodents but do not kill them. The birds are fine with them!
Which is most effective and do the synthetic mosquito control sprays offer any significant advantages over their natural alternatives? In fact, why use a natural mosquito control system if a synthetic alterative is available? To be effective, the repellent must protect you from mosquito bites and the diseases they carry with them.
It must be stated now that no repellent of any kind should be used on children of 2 months or under.
Synthetic Mosquito Control Repellents
There are several synthetic mosquito control repellents available on the market, so let’s look at these first and then compare them with their natural alternatives. The best repellents will protect you from mosquito bites for several hours and must be applied to all exposed skin areas. If you miss any areas of your skin then mosquitoes are likely to land there.
Among the most common synthetic mosquito repellents is N,N-Diethyl-meta-Toluamide, commonly known as DEET. Others are Picaridin, or Icaridin as it sometimes known, Permethrin and IR3535 – chemically Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate.) Let’s have a look at each of these in more detail.
DEET: This is a 1940s Department of Agriculture development designed to overcome the mosquito-related issues experienced by U.S. Army troops in tropical climates. There are no doubts that it is effective, but there are issues regarding its safety, particularly with young children. It should not be used on children under 6 months of age and only once per day on children from 6 months to 3 years.
So at what age are there no risks in using it? DEET has its adherents and its critics, although there will always be some question regarding its safety. Its manufacturers recommend it not to be used under clothing or on broken skin and that is should be washed off your skin once you go indoors. Mr. Mister does not recommend you use DEET as a mosquito repellent.
Picaridin: This has been available in Australia and Europe since 1998, and in the USA since2005. It is synthesized from extracts of the ‘Piper Nigrum’ plant, from which black table pepper is obtained. Unlike DEET, it has no odor and is not greasy, but has been found to be just as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
Permethrin: Permethrin is used to impregnate mosquito nets and personal clothing and uniforms used by the US Military. One of its major drawbacks for use by the public is that, like DEET, it is toxic to cats. It is used for flea treatment on dogs, and many cats have died through being accidentally treated in this way. Add to that the fact that permethrin should not be used on skin, and it is not a recommended mosquito repellent for home use!
IR3535: This was developed in Germany in the early 1980s. It has not found to be toxic to humans and no recommendation has been made by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding its use on children.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
Natural mosquito repellents include Citronella, Oil of lemon eucalyptus and Geraniol.
Citronella: Citronella oil is a common natural mosquito repellent. It is obtained by mashing two species of grass, and then distilling the mash to get the oil. It is an effective mosquito repellent, although the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has not the potential for some skin irritation and allergic reactions.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus: This has been found to be as effective a mosquito repellent as DEET at up to 6.65% concentration. Like DEET, it is not recommended for use on children under 3 years old.
Geraniol: This substance was identified in the 1990s as the best natural alternative to DEET. Depending on the species, geraniol will protect you for between 2 and 4 hours after application. It is a component of several plant oils, including citronella, oil of rise and lemongrass.
Atlanta Mosquito Control Recommendations
Mosquito repellents are used as a means of preventing mosquitoes landing on your skin and biting you. They repel the insects through chemicals that they tend to abhor and avoid. However, you can avoid having to use them if you can prevent mosquitoes from entering your yard. Impossible? Not on your life.
Here at Mr. Mister, we recommend that you prevent the mosquitoes from entering and thriving in your yard and garden, so you have no need to protect yourself in any other way. We can offer you mosquito control systems that prevent the need for you to use mosquito repellents in your own yard.
The need for mosquito repellents indicates a lack of awareness of how to control mosquitoes to ensure they cannot stray into your hard, let alone breed in it. Contact us for more information on how to enjoy the use of your backyard and garden without the worry of mosquitoes attacking and biting you, your family or your pets.
Call us here: (404) 941-0720