Lavender against midges and mosquitos. Does it Work?
Spending more time outdoors or leaving your windows open?
Insects can be annoying and cause uncomfortable bites. Read on to find out if using a natural repellent can keep them at bay.
What science says
But how it works and how to use it?
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) owns the repellent quality of its prized essential oil to its high concentrations of linalool (a natural terpene alcohol). This can, sometimes, top out at 25% depending on the oil’s composition.
Linalool is responsible for producing a strong, distinctive odour that is very pleasant to humans, so much that we use it in a variety of fresheners, cosmetics, bath products, and more.
However, the same smell is detestable to mosquitoes, primarily because it overloads their sensitive olfactory organs, much in the same manner as DEET.
In terms of testing, a 2009 study found that lavender oil possessed a 93% repellent rate against mosquitos indoors and around a 53% repellent rate against mosquitoes outdoors.
Comparing it to the effectiveness of other essential oils, like Lemon Eucalyptus, Cinnamon or Citronella, Lavender oil is one of the most effective natural mosquito repellents on its own.
It becomes even more powerful when used as part of a natural repellent formula.
Experience in farms and anecdotal sources suggest that lavender oil, paired with cinnamon oil, tea tree oil, or citronella oil, creates a fully-fledged shield, very offensive to mosquito olfactory receptors, but quite pleasant on human noses!
How to use it
If you have access to a lavender plant you can crush the flowers and rub them to bite-sensitive areas of the body, such as your ankles and arms.
If you’re in the mood for a simple project, you can easily make your own mosquitoes repellent spray:
Mix 1 part of lavender essential oil with 10 parts witch hazel, in a spray bottle. (For each drop of oil, use 10 drops of witch hazel)
Shake gently to mix and spray to apply on your skin and clothes.
You can also add Citronella oil and Lemon Eucalyptus oil to it, and use the mixture as a natural bug spray.
The key is to apply liberally and reapply frequently, at least every 2 hours, to keep an effective shield against moths, mosquitos, fleas, and biting flies.
In addition to repel annoying little insects, Lavender oil is also an effective remedy for insect bites, soothing itching, and inflammation.
If you find yourself exposed and unprepared, you can use a preparation with lavender essential oil (mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin) as a post-bite ointment.
Remember the basic precautions
So don’t let bugs ruin your summer and be prepared to fight back:
1) Apply (and reapply frequently) insect repellent while outdoors, especially on your ankles, feet, lower legs and wrists, all thin-skinned spots mosquitoes love to bite.
2) Prevent bites by covering up with long sleeves and long pants when outdoors and keep in mind that light colors and white are hardest for mosquitoes to spot!
3) Eliminate standing water around your home to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home.
Stay safe and comfortable and hopefully, this summer, lavender and its essential oil will help you enjoy a relaxing outdoor life, making you “less irresistible” to mosquitoes!