Summer is the time when you want to spend your time outdoors, but when it comes to mosquitoes and other bugs, the last thing you want to do is go outside. Thankfully, there’s a remedy for this, and it doesn’t require using toxic chemical-laden bug sprays like DEET. They’re called Mosquito repellent mason jars.
First, lets talk a little about why bug repellents and DEET should be avoided at all costs.
Bug Repellent and DEET
Almost all conventional insect repellents used today contain the chemical DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET was developed during the Second World War, and became registered as a pesticide in 1957, where it became widely available to consumers.
While most formulas contain 10-30 percent DEET, you can find products for direct skin application with up to 100 percent DEET. This is shocking, given the fact that DEET is a dangerous pesticide, and should never be used on on our clothes, let alone our own skin.
A 2008 study out of the Institute of Development Research in France published in the journal BMC Biology, looked into how DEET affects the nervous system. They found that DEET interferes with the activity of enzymes that are crucial in order for the nervous system to function like it should. DEET was discovered to block the enzyme cholinesterase, which is required for transmitting messages from the brain to the muscles in insects. They noted that DEET may also affect the nervous system of mammals, and while more research is needed, it is still a major cause for concern (1).
Heavy exposure to DEET has also been linked to (2):
– Muscle and joint pain
– Memory loss
– Shortness of breath
– Burning lips
– Temporary numbness
– Difficulty concentrating
Sometimes these symptoms don’t present themselves until months or several years after exposure.
There have also been fatalities related to DEET exposure. From 1961 to 2002, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported eight deaths related to DEET exposure (five of the deaths were following DEET exposure to the skin in both adults and children).
While commercial bug repellents contain harmful substances, there are healthy alternatives that won’t risk your health, or your own life.
Essential Oils That Insects Hate
There are many natural foods and compounds that produce scents that insects hate.
Lemon eucalyptus, for example, provided 96.88% protection from mosquitoes for 4 hours in a field study in Bolivia (3), 90% protection from An. arabiensis for 6 hours in a laboratory study (4), and 100% protection from An gambiae and An. funestus for 6-7 hours in a field study in Tanzania (5).
Neem was also been found to be 76% effective against mosquitoes, with the effects dwindling off at the 2-hour mark (6). Combinations of citronella essential oil and vanillin (which could be found in vanilla essential oil) are also useful for protecting against mosquitoes for at least 3 hours (7).
Studies have also found that substances made from the peel of citrus fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are effective at repelling mosquitoes (8).
With this information in mind, developing mosquito repellent mason jars should be pretty straight forward.
Mosquito Repellent Mason Jars
These mosquito repellent mason jars are simple to create, and smell amazing. They’re also largely effective against mosquitoes and look lovely on the porch at night. These mosquito repellent mason jars utilize the power of essential oils, citrus peels, and fresh herbs to pack a power punch against mosquitoes.
The ingredients in this recipe are known to keep mosquitoes at bay, and they’ll stay away once they smell the oils permeating the air around you. Try it out, and see for yourself!
– 4 mason jars
– 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
– 10 drops of citronella essential oil
– 5 drops of vanilla essential oil
– 1 lemon, sliced
– 1 lime, sliced
– 4 sprigs of rosemary
– 4 floating disc beeswax candles
1. Add an even amount of slices of lemon and lime to each jar.
2. Put 1 sprig of rosemary into each jar.
3. Fill the jar about 3/4 full with water
4. Add 10 drops lemon eucalyptus, 10 drops citronella, and 5 drops vanilla essential oil into each mason jar (don’t mix them together).
5. Add more water (if necessary) until the jar is almost full.
6. Add beeswax candles to each mason jar, and light the candles to activate the power of each mason jar.