As the whining buzz of a mosquito darts past your ear for the hundredth time, you begin to wonder about the wisdom of being outside right now. You want a way to repel the blood-sucking pests, but you don't want to use chemicals like DEET that have been shown to be harmful to people and pets in addition to repelling insects.
The diminutive bugs breed in standing water and sally forth at dawn and dusk to look for mammals from which to suck blood. The female mosquitoes are the culprits responsible for itchy, red bumps the world over and malaria is spread through the feeding tube mosquitoes in tropical climates. They track their prey primarily by scent so insect repellents provide a scent that the bugs hate more than they love to suck blood.
Aromatic cedar has long been used to prevent moths from devouring wool clothing with cedar lining applied in trunks and wardrobes. Cedar blocks can also repel insects that might try to infiltrate your home. Something about the smell of cedar is repulsive to bugs so they find a different place to be when they catch a whiff of the cedar in your closet or cupboard.
Distilling the scent of cedar down into an essential oil makes the insect repellent power of cedar much more portable. Where you are not likely to make a shirt out of cedar, you might dab some of the oil on your skin, especially if it's mixed with other known repellent substances like citronella. Put a few drops of cedar oil into sunblock or lotion and rub it on your skin. Mix up a cedar-infused citronella candle to drive the pests away from your next garden party.
There are several commercially available products that use the power of cedar to not only repel, but also to kill insects like mosquitoes that plague homes and yards. Cedar and cedar oil are popular ingredients since they are completely natural and have no harsh chemicals and have not been shown to be harmful to humans or animals.
- Photo Credit mosquito image by Martin Sevcik from Fotolia.com
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