Picnics at the park, barbecues with friends, hikes through the woods are all what make summer fun. But they are also the times when those pesky mosquitoes come out to bite. In addition to the annoying itch their marks leave behind, the possibility of contacting West Nile virus has spread in recent years.
Conventional insect repellents often contain DEET (N,N- diethyl - toluamide ). While the Environmental Protection Agency deems it safe when used properly, it isn't comforting to know that our skin absorbs it quickly and passes it along to our organs. It can cause a rash, and those who are overexposed to DEET may experience neurological injuries.
Fortunately, a recent study has found that catnip oil works ten times better than DEET without the toxic side effects. One application can last up to six hours. However, unlike DEET, which keeps away mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks, catnip oil has so far only been found to repel mosquitoes. No one knows why they hate catnip, but it's assumed that they dislike the smell.
While there a number of natural mosquito repellents on the market, many contain citronella, which is not quite as effective as catnip. You'll want to make sure to read the labels. You can also make your own bottle of natural mosquito repellent using one drop of catnip oil and dilute it in 50 drops of a carrier oil, such as almond oil or olive oil. Keep it away from your eyes and wash your hands after applying.
One last tip, mosquitoes love smells so lay off the perfume when enjoying the great outdoors.