What are effective natural mosquito repellants

Mosquitoes and ticks: These products protect against bites

Status: 08/14/2020 3:22 p.m.
Bug sprays containing DEET and icaridin can appear to be environmentally harmful.

Insect sprays with the active ingredients diethyltoluamide (DEET) and icaridin can protect against bites from mosquitoes and ticks for several hours. But the biocides contained in the sprays are apparently problematic for the environment: DEET can damage aquatic organisms and microorganisms, there are indications of this in the case of Icaridin. Consumers should not exceed the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.

VIDEO: Mosquitoes and ticks: how dangerous are bug sprays? (7 min)

Diethyltoluamide detectable in sewage treatment plants

The insect repellant DEET was developed by the US Army to protect soldiers from mosquitos. The active ingredient is used in sprays such as Anti Brumm or Nobite with an active ingredient content of 20 to 50 percent. DEET is a chemical that requires authorization, which in higher doses can damage environmental organisms. Insect repellants must therefore print warning and dosage information on the packaging.

The composition in sprays makes DEET a water-soluble substance. However, sewage treatment plants can only remove 70 percent of the amount of DEET from the water. 30 percent go back into the water cycle and decompose over time.

Icaridin: how dangerous is it?

The insecticide icaridin has also recently been subject to authorization in the EU. The manufacturers of insect sprays with icaridin have to have their product reevaluated in order to then possibly bring it onto the market with further warnings.

Conservation groups are of the opinion that Icaridin is not a harmless substance for the environment. An American study from 2018 came to the conclusion that the concentration of an over-the-counter American insect spray with the active ingredient Icaridn can decimate the larvae of amphibians if they are exposed to the substance for a long period of time. *

Despite methodological deficiencies in the study, the Federal Environment Agency sees this as a serious indication that the environmental properties of icaridin should be researched further.

Who mosquitoes prefer to bite

Not all people are equally attracted to mosquitoes. The strongest stimulus for mosquitoes is the carbon dioxide in the exhaled air. The composition of sweat on the skin also plays a role, as does the breakdown of sweat by skin bacteria.

Alternative protection against mosquito bites

In areas where mosquitoes are not abundant and do not spread communicable diseases, consumers may consider alternatives to bug sprays containing DEET and icaridin. What protects against mosquito bites:

  • A fan ensures that mosquitoes no longer perceive the smell of people so intensely. They are not even attracted by this.
  • take a shower before sleeping or a barbecue party removes human sweat, which is attractive to mosquitoes.
  • The right dress can deter mosquitoes, for example bright colors and long-sleeved sweaters made of thick fabrics. Black and blue are more likely to attract mosquitoes.
  • As a distraction worn socks place near the bed - tests have shown that mosquitoes find the smell attractive.
  • In the summer from dusk close to Avoid lakes and rivers - they are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Appropriate clothing protects against tick bites

Alternative means without the use of chemicals can also be used to repel ticks:

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, long trousers, a cap and scarves
  • Tuck your pants into your socks
  • Wear light-colored clothing to help identify ticks

PPlant mosquito repellants can cause allergies

According to experts, natural active ingredients such as the vegetable oil geraniol can trigger allergies in some people. Therefore, try mosquito repellent with herbal active ingredients on a small area of ​​skin before using it for the first time.

Home remedies for mosquito bites

These tips give viewers of the market against mosquito bites:

  • yarrow: "When a mosquito bites me, I take one or two leaves of yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and rub it over the bite. The itching disappears immediately and there are no wheals, it always works for me." (Werner Hoffmann from Seelze)
  • Propolis: "An old home remedy for stings and also for small inflammations is propolis from bees, this has a disinfecting effect and is particularly good if it is applied shortly after the sting." (Peter Plenz)
  • Ribwort plantain: "The only thing that really helps against mosquito bites and doesn't even cost anything is ribwort. Rub a leaf between your fingers and pour the juice on the bite and the itching is over." (Günther Hässler)
  • ginger: "If it starts to itch, cut fresh ginger into slices and rub the sting point with it and if possible leave the ginger slice on it for a while. As a sufferer who is very troubled by it, it always helped me well." (Ursula Rieth from Waffenbrunn)
  • vinegar: "I fill normal vinegar (39 cents per bottle) into a small bottle with a pipette, for example an empty nasal drop bottle. Sprayed on immediately after the bite, it doesn't itch or swell. The next day you don't see anything of the bite . Always had my mother with me when I was little. " (Monika Brdek from Cologne)

Heat stick relieves itching

Anyone who is bitten despite mosquito repellent can relieve the itching with a heat stick (available from around 20 euros in the pharmacy). The pen, which is around 50 degrees Celsius, is held on the puncture site. The heat kills the proteins that cause itching.

* (Source: Rafael Almeida (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY) et al., Royal Society Biology Letters, doi: 10.1098 / rsbl.2018.0526)

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Market | 08/17/2020 | 8:15 pm