Essential oils found to be highly effective at repelling mosquitoes

Natural essential oils extracted from citrus peels are notably effective in repelling mosquitoes, according to a recent study published in the Natural Product Research journal. As part of the study, a team of researchers at the Department of Pesticide Chemistry and Technology and the Department of Tropical Health at Alexandria University in Egypt air-dried peels of three various citrus species: Citrus reticulata L., C. reticulata chinase Blanco and C. sinensis Osbeck.

The research team then cut 100 grams of the citrus peels into small pieces and subsequently subjected the peels under hydro distillation in order to extract the essential oils. The experts also carried out bioassay and biochemical experiments on mosquito larvae to assess the essential oil’s mosquitocidal activity. The results showed that the natural oils are a highly effective and eco-friendly method in repelling mosquitoes.

“This study, which we believe to be the first of its kind, shows that the essential oils from the peels of citrus plants were very effective against larvae and adults. This means there could be a natural and hugely accessible product available which could be used as a method of mosquito control,” lead author Dr. Mohamed E. I. Badawy stated in a Science Daily article.

Other essential oils show efficacy against mosquitoes

The scientific community has long established the essential oils taken from various plant sources — such as lemon, neem, catnip and cloves — have shown relative efficacy in combating mosquitoes. (Related: Use Essential Oils to Prevent Mosquito Bites: Catnip, Clove, Neem and Lemon Oil.)

  • Catnip oil — According to experts, undiluted catnip oil can be directly applied on the skin and may help repel insects for up to two hours. In some cases, the oil’s repellent properties may last up to four hours depending on the mosquito type. A study carried out in 2001 has revealed that catnip oil is actually 10 times more effective that the chemical-based repellent N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide or DEET.
  • Clove oil — Clove oil is a remarkably potent repellent against mosquitoes. However, its strong properties are known to irritate the skin. Experts recommend a dilution formula of below 24 percent. Clove oil can be added to either coconut oil or olive oil to soothe the skin.
  • Neem oil — Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine commonly refer to the neem tree as “village pharmacy.” Neem is found to contain the strong natural insecticide azadirachtin. Likewise, the plant is valued for its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.
  • Lemon oil — Lemon is touted to be a powerful insect repellent, especially when used in a 10 to 30 percent concentration in combination with coconut oil. A 2003 study has revealed that the essential oil is highly effective against the Aedes albopictus mosquito.

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