Before Speedy learned to mix an all-natural homemade mosquito repellent, we went through plenty of lotions, sprays and contraptions. When the girls were young, we used Nenuco by default. When it was unavailable, we’d switched to OFF!
Why am I writing about mosquitoes? It’s monsoon season. After it rains, there are inevitable puddles outdoors. Breeding places for mosquitoes. Doesn’t the sun dry the puddles? The sun doesn’t shine long enough to dry them up. It rains several times a day. Sometimes, it’s just a drizzle but, most times, it really pours.
So, yes, I think a lot about mosquitoes these days. Too paranoid? Perhaps. But the paranoia is not uncalled for.
Mosquito bite can lead to illness or, worse, even death
Mosquito bite can cause malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile virus, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever.
When Sam was five years old, she caught dengue. When Alex was 21, she caught dengue.
So, yes, we’re more than a bit paranoid about mosquitoes. We abhor them so much that we didn’t really care if our anti-mosquito strategy killed and not merely repelled them. I keep wishing they’d become extinct altogether. A world without mosquitoes will be a safer place for humans. It won’t hurt the ecology either.
I’m not ashamed to admit that we used insect sprays to kill mosquitoes. Yes, insecticide. We sprayed them directly in dark corners where mosquitoes liked to hide, on puddles of water outdoors after it rained to kill their eggs… You know, exterminator style.
Anti-mosquito lotions, sprays and patches
When the girls were a little older, there came the inevitable avalanche of information about the evils of mosquito repellent lotions and anti-mosquito sprays. It seemed that, just like mosquito coils, they were a double-edged sword. Sure, they kept mosquitos off but they also introduced chemicals into our bodies through our skin and lungs that, in cumulative amounts, may cause some other life-threatening ailment. So, we switched to safer alternatives.
Ilog Maria’s Stingless Mosquito Repellent was the first we tried. Very effective. But Ilog Maria’s store was a two-hour drive away (traffic wasn’t so bad then and online shopping wasn’t yet the norm), so, over the years, we had to find alternatives. Deet-free anti-mosquito patches worked. We put them on our clothes rather than directly on our skin.
Much later, other safe anti-mosquito sprays, including Messy Bessy, appeared in the market. None come cheap.
Sonic mosquito repeller
But we also had repellents that did not touch the skin. Sonic devices were great. We had them in several brands and variants but our favorite was the portable sonic mosquito repeller shaped like a duckling.
It came with a circular battery that is inserted at the back. The duckling’s beak was the switch and timer control. Press it once and the gadget switched on for four hours (pink light is on). Press the beak twice and it stayed on for eight hours (green light is on). Press it three times and it was good for 24 hours (pink and green lights are both on).
Did it work? Yes, it did. When we turned it on, the room room was mosquito free. But it didn’t get rid of other yucky creatures like lizards and house flies.
Was it comfortable to use? Weeellll…
It’s a sonic, not an ultrasonic, device. You know the difference, right? Sonic means the speed of sound; ultrasonic means a frequency beyond normal human hearing. I can hear the sound. It didn’t seem to bother Speedy (he adored the duck and he carried it around the house) but it bothered me and Sam and Alex. When other electronic devices were on, like the television or an electric fan, the sound is faint enough to ignore. But when the cute little duck was the only device switched on inside a room, the sound got really irritating.
Conclusion? Okay, it was effective. There was no odor, there were no fumes, there were no toxic emissions whatsoever. During the day when there were all kinds of ambient noises going around, it was okay to use. But in the dead of night, well… unless you’re the kind of person who can sleep soundly even when the TV is blaring, the persistent sound was bothersome.
So, no, we don’t use sonic mosquito repellers anymore.
Electronic mosquito repeller
This one is convenient. No smoke emitted and no annoying sound.
The mat inserted into the device that gets heated and the active ingredient — Prallethrin — is released. Isn’t Prallethrin a pesticide? It is. But, according to WHO, “Prallethrin is of low mammalian toxicity, with no evidence of carcinogenicity.”
Sounds okay, right?
The downside is that the electronic mosquito repeller can only be used in well-ventilated areas. It isn’t safe to use in an air-conditioned bedroom. And that makes it useless during bedtime.
If you want an anti-mosquito repellant that’s safe, cheap and silent, read on.
Keep mosquitoes off your skin with this all-natural homemade mosquito repellent
Speedy made this.
What you need:
- 100 grams cloves
- 500 grams rubbing alcohol (or substitute cheap vodka)
- 100 grams baby oil
What to do:
- Place the cloves in a glass jar. Pour in the alcohol. Cover the jar tightly.
- Soak the cloves in alcohol for four days. Stir twice every day.
- Strain the alcohol. Stir in the oil. Shake well.
- Pour the mixture into dispensers.
- Use directly on skin or clothing.
Applying this clove-based anti-mosquito repellent will keep mosquitoes away for four hours. Re-apply as needed.
Note that because there is oil in the mixture, it can feel a bit greasy on the skin.
Applying the repellent on clothing can leave stains.