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natural mosquito repellant - trying to avoid Deet

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Oh man, my little ones and I have been eaten alive this summer by mosquitoes. It's horrible. We move all the way from the Pacific Northwest to the east coast and now in summer when you want to be out in the garden every day.... man, the mosquitoes have been horrendous. All day, not just morning and night. No standing water around here either. Honestly I want to move back to the west coast even though I really like it here. You come in from the garden caked with slimy insect repellant. Bleh! I tried a whole lot of natural bug sprays, citronella based etc and none have worked for us. Quantum Buzz Away, Burt's Bees Insect Repellant, Bite Blocker, Herbal Armor ... nothing has worked. 


The only natural type mosquito repellant that seems to work to some extent for us is this little known stuff... Mosquito Defense lotion bar by Sleepy Hollow Farm that contains neem, tea tree, eucalyptus - amongst other things. Maybe this is the key. Is tea tree, eucalyptus or neem particularly effective? How about catnip? Maybe I should try that. 


In the meantime, I switch between the mosquito defense bar and Avon Skin So Soft with Picaridin. The skin so soft when I want to be outside for a while. Gosh, as much as we'd like too I can't imagine camping around here with mosquitoes and my little ones ...

Edited by spiritofthings - 8/28/12 at 4:34am
post #2 of 24
Sorry mama! I dont know what to tell you. Bite blocker spray is the only thing I use and works for us and the others I know who use it. It is odd, in that the Mosquitos land on us still, they just don't bite and you do have to reapply every couple of hours (even if it says eight!)

Maybe some of those deet fans or lanterns might be a lesser evil for you, since your not applying it to your skin?
post #3 of 24

We use an OFF brand one that says Cutter on it. But there are several varieties with those terms... It's a eucalyptus one that works well but mosquitoes will still get you if you miss a spot. And it makes me feel flushed/uncomfortably hot on the back of my neck and inner elbows and feels horrible if any mist gets up your nose. I really don't like it but it works. It's also hard to find in stores.


It really does suck, these invasive tiger mosquitoes... The native ones of my childhood which buzzed and only came out at dawn and dusk have been replaced by these silent all day biters. Not only that, but they are nibblers. One mosquito will bite you five times. And they can lay eggs in any tiny knot of wood. The eggs stay there on the side of the hole until whenever it rains and it fills up with water. Then they hatch out.


They are attracted to dark things so they always congregate around our trashcans. If I leave a dark bucket outside for 2 minutes, there will be a little swarm of them in there looking for a breeding ground. They feel the heat of our car and swarm around it after we park. So if we are going out again, they are right there and fly into the car when we get back in and torment us the entire trip.


Every spring, I decide I'm going to wage war, but then the weather gets hot and humid and the mosquitoes come out in full force. We end up just staying inside all summer despite having what could be a lovely yard if we could stand being outside long enough to weed it. And weeding would help minimize the mosquitoes, of course. I've had luck past years mixing up yard sprays using essential oils and liquid soap but you have to respray every few days and after it rains.

post #4 of 24
Changing your diet may help. Cut sugars out as much as possible, and increase salt. It makes the blood thicker (so the theory goes) and less appetizing to the mosquitos.

Tea tree has the unique property to reduce the itch of bites you do get. It has lots of antibiotic, etc properties, too, so it may help to protect against Lyme disease.

Mosquitos can breed in among the grass, unless it's been treated with chemicals.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies for the empathy and suggestions. Is there anywhere on the east coast that doesn't have mosquitoes by the way? I am in Asheville, NC and we moved here from because it was supposed to be mosquito lite! 

post #6 of 24

We use Bullfrog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen/Insect Repellant and it works! Like you, I've tried a million different "natural" products and aside from the fact that I hate being coated in oil everywhere I go, most of them dont work. DD and I both get eaten ALIVE. Dh eats craploads of processed food, junk food, and drinks beer and he never gets bitten. I eats tons of garlic, salt, little sugar and Im eaten alive.


It's deet free. I prefer the aerosol can, but this one works too (it had reviews and the other one didnt).




As far as around your house goes, you can plant scented geraniums (citronella scented) and make sure that there is no standing water anywhere. Otherwise, No, there is not some magical place on the east coast that doesnt have mosquitoes. But look at it this way- WE have autumn AND lightening bugs!

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Bless you for that insect repellant recommendation!!! I bought it straightaway. I will also look into planting citronella scented geraniums. I'm thinking about taking garlic pills as well, but I dunno, I'm a little sceptical. I already eat a lot of garlic and it hasn't done much for me either. 


By the way, such cute pics of the kids in your avatars, 4evermom and Adaline'sMama!

post #8 of 24
I just ordered Skin So Soft by Avon. It's DEET free and it works. They sell it on amazon.com.
post #9 of 24

I like Bite Blocker. I'm in NC, too, and personally I haven't has as much trouble with mosquitos in the mts as I do here in the Triangle. They rarely bother me there. However, there really are some people that they are more attracted to and some conditions that are more attractive to them. You may be one of those people with mosquito magnet qualities. I have heard that B vitamins can help, too. As far as conditions we have a _very_ shady yard with a ton of wretched, unstoppable English Ivy and they love it here. We do try to empty any standing water. Another thing that helps a lot if we want to hang out on the deck is to put a fan out there. We just have a basic standing fan and I turn it on when we're gonna hang out and grill out or do art or something. Mosquitos are not very strong flyers so it doesn't take that much wind to keep them away. 

post #10 of 24

i do a two step approach, i have the little fan thing, still not totally sure what i think of it, but it does seem to work, i put it on the handle bars of my stroller when i go out walking.  


http://tinyurl.com/9qbry78  here is the one by Off


and then my go to is Lemon Eucalyptus, it seems to the only thing similar to DEET in lasting for hours, tons of things work but need to be put back on every 30 min and who does that?  there was a huge study and Lemon Eucalyptus (a specific series, was shown to last 4-6 hours, pretty good in comparison.

the highest strength (40%) brand i know if is Repel they also sell it in REI.  Cutter makes a 30% version that is not bad and i found that in Target.

post #11 of 24
Originally Posted by spiritofthings View Post

By the way, such cute pics of the kids in your avatars, 4evermom and Adaline'sMama!

Ha! That's me. Don't I looked prepared for the world:-)


I think the thing to do it to weed like nuts. Trim trees up 6 feet. Mow often (they don't breed in the grass but they hang out there). The more open and airy your property is, the more they will be blown away. They have a hard time with wind. Like Beanma said, if you hang out on a porch or patio, have a fan going. Do the yard spray thing. You can google for natural homemade recipes. Have any plantings be things they don't like, like marigolds and lemongrass. I don't think they really ward mosquitoes off but if they don't like eating them they won't be hanging out in them waiting for you. Mosquitoes eat leaves. The females bite because they need blood to lay eggs. 


We have too many trees and hedges but we don't own so can't do anything major... The bright side is we have plenty of fire flies which appreciate a similar habitat as mosquitoes.

post #12 of 24

We bought badger anti-bug shake and spray http://www.amazon.com/Badger-Anti-Bug-Shake-and-Spray/dp/B003FBPFJW/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1346282138&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=badger+anti-bug+shake+and+spray about a month ago, and it has done its job. I'm really happy to have found something natural that works, no more huge bumps from mosquito bites! Hubby also bought california baby bug repellent, but we haven't tried that one yet.

post #13 of 24
Originally Posted by spiritofthings View Post

 I will also look into planting citronella scented geraniums.

citronella's been debunked quite a while ago. its actually marigold that mosquitoes cant stand. so plant lots and lots of marigolds. you can eat them too, but i am not sure if that has any effect of mosquito proof. 


I'm thinking about taking garlic pills as well, but I dunno, I'm a little sceptical. I already eat a lot of garlic and it hasn't done much for me either. 

garlic didnt do much for dd either. 


honestly i never found any non DEET that worked effectively enough for dd. they would work initially but then be no longer effective. dd was allergic to mosquito bites which she outgrew at about 5 or 6. 


i did clothing and indoors. 

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yeah I'm going to have to get used to mosquitoes in summer, especially the Asian Tiger ones. The only good thing is there's hardly a tick around here. Not sure why. I'm gonna try a fan for the porch... thanks for reminding me Beanma (always good to hear from you). Yaay, can't wait to actually use the porch! Hmm, I think I'm going to invest in a lil' dollar store fan also for the stroller. 


I've heard about the Badger spray. Thanks for reminding me. I see it has twenty something percent soybean oil. Other recommendations from around here: a pure catnip based spray (like this one: http://www.greenvalleyherbal.com/GVH2011A/SkeeterSkedaddle.html) or neem based spray (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Theraneem-Outdoor-Herbal-Spray-Ounce/dp/B000YDJ21Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t). I will be trying them all!!!!!  Oh and using Zote soap or something similar!


Next year I'll try spraying the yard with a garlic mosquito barrier (http://www.mothering.com/community/t/884340/mosquito-barrier-garlic-barrier-does-it-work).

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

Huh Meemee, that may be why most of the citronella-based natural repellants I tried didn't work.

post #16 of 24

So you already have suggestions, but I was going to recommend some I bought in Pennsylvania, although I didn't buy it until after I had been quite bitten up.  It was in a tube, but when I looked for it, I found they had a spray that was more expensive, but probably easier to apply. http://sassyalbertsoap.com/All-Natural-Flying-Insect-Repellant


Mosquitoes always bite me, but they didn't really bite my kids much.  My sister told me they are attracted to smelly things, like strong cheese and foot odor--and people who drink beer.  My friend says it's blood glucose level, which kind of irritates me because I have always gotten bitten, regardless of my blood sugar.

post #17 of 24

Oh, mosquitos also favor dark over light. They love my stinky black dogs. I often see them hovering around them. The dogs don't seem too bothered by them, though. Maybe you can get a stinky black dog as a decoy? Course then you have to keep the dog away from you so he doesn't bring them to you.

post #18 of 24

winky.gif my theory is they like type A personalities. something with their body makeup just excites a pregnant mommy mosquito.


all the type A types i know get bitten by them. and ticks and fleas. 


me and the relaxed ones - rarely. 


i had to discover this through my poor 2 year old who in 5 mins was bitten 15 times on her face while i got not one bite. because she was allergic they swelled so bad that her dc had to call and ask me what was up (the director even though i had spoken to the teacher). her face was swollen even after a week when we returned home and to dc. 


my dad too a type A got bitten by that one mosquito. you can see swarms above my head too, but a rare bite once in a while. even when my mom got diabetes she was rarely bitten. 

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

No doubt I am pretty type A these days, battling with these mosquitoes! Okay Bullfrog Mosquito Coast arrived today in the mail. Will try tomorrow. 

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
One last thing ladies- does living on a hill help some?
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