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Life Lessons: Natural mosquito repellants

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 12 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Learn some natural ways to keep the bugs at bay.

Before you grab that DEET-based mosquito repellant, consider using a natural option instead.

Research shows the main ingredient in commercial mosquito repellants not only leaves a bad odor, it can damage brain cells, cause reproductive disturbances, and can have harmful interactions with medications.

However, there’s no need to suffer long-term and serious health consequences to ward off pesky mosquitoes.

Instead, choose a natural alternative that's proven to work as effectively, or in some case, more effectively than DEET.

Try catnip; you can drive cats wild and make mosquitoes run in terror.

An Iowa State University study shows the essential oil in catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Apply it topically.

Neem oil also works, which comes from the neem plant that grows in India.

A study by the U.S. National Research Council shows neem oil more effectively repels mosquitoes than DEET does.

Get some lotus flowers.

Research shows they're natural mosquito repellants and also help kill mosquito larvae.

Also, since lotus grows in the water, you can use it in backyard ponds or in other water features instead of something that's applied topically.

Mix the essential oils from catnip and neem together with an unscented moisturizer and rub it on your skin for a DEET-free way to protect yourself when heading outdoors.

Always be sure to do a 24-hour skin test to make sure you don't have sensitivities to any of the oils.