Everything You Need To Know About Mosquito Repellants

Everything You Need To Know About Mosquito Repellants

The word mosquito is Spanish in origin, and its meaning is "little fly." A lot of people assume (wrongly I might add) that mosquitoes bite them because they require blood to survive. Let me assure you that these claims are entirely false.

Mosquitoes are, in fact, a lot like bees because they also suck nectar from different plants. The male mosquitoes do not absorb as much blood as female mosquitoes; the reason being that female mosquito needs blood for their eggs to grow.

Mosquito Sucking Blood

Even though mosquitoes are considered as pests and have a tendency to irritate people, they are essential. A lot of living organisms and the ecosystem are dependent on mosquitoes. Their ability to carry and transfer dangerous diseases is what makes people so afraid of them.

You will be surprised to find out that the species of mosquitoes are almost around three thousand. However, three species, in particular, are known to cause dangerous diseases. They are:

  • Anopheles: Famous for transmitting malaria
  • Aedes: Known for transmitting encephalitis, dengue, and yellow fever
  • Culex: They carry the dreaded West Nile virus and also filariasis

With a presence so small, it can be difficult to see a flying mosquito. But the danger some of these mosquitoes carry is perilous. So dangerous that almost millions of people die all over the world, which is a caution to everyone to take necessary steps to avoid them.

The need of water is essential for every mosquito to breed. Stagnant water should always be wiped away to make sure that your area is mosquito free.

How Have People Fought Mosquitoes Over The Years?

In the modern day and age, there are countless methods to get rid of mosquitoes, but it was different in the old days. The number of ways to eliminate mosquitoes was insufficient. In the early 1800s, a common remedy for mosquito bites was to apply a concoction to the body. It was a mixture of various roots, herbs, wild angelica and different oils.

It was combined and applied on the skin like the mosquito repellant lotions like we use today. These concoctions not only kept mosquitoes away but were also instrumental in keeping away other pests as well. Smoke prevented the mosquitoes from even coming to a specific place.

Mosquitoes or any other bug for that matter are always wary of sites that have regular smoke or fire. There were numerous insect repellents devised to keep mosquitoes away. All of these repellents had their unique ingredients. Oils extracted from the fat of bears and fish oil were a common ingredient in older mosquito repellents.

Vegetal dyes or as some people call them natural color were also used commonly because of their mosquito repelling effect. A great leave known as the western yarrow was also used to treat mosquito bites and as a repellant. The yarrow of the west mainly grew in Mexico and some parts of Alaska.

Senior Man Burning Leaves

People used to put the leaves on coal and burn them; the smoke that came by torching the yarrow was enough to repel the mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes are attracted to the human body's blood through smell; if the scent is not appetizing enough for them then they don't bother harassing them.  

After learning this fact why a lot of people throughout history, especially people living outdoors started applying mud to their skins. Thick layers of clay ensured that the aroma that a body gives away is not accessible to the mosquito's senses. 

Even if the mosquitoes bit the mud covered people, the efforts went in vain because it is impossible to penetrate their way through the skin if it had clay.

How Does Sickle Cell Anemia Protect Against Anemia?

There are only a minority of cases where malaria proved to be a life-threatening disease. Otherwise, most of the time that malaria occurs, it tends to go away after some time. The reason most people don't get deathly ill when diagnosed with malaria is that they possess sickle cell in their bodies.

The unusual shape of red blood cells is a clear indicator of sickle cell disease. However, the advantage that sickle cell bearers have over others is that they are immune to long-term malaria effects and recover fairly quickly.

Many suggestions explain to us why sickle cells have the power to resist malaria. The sickle hemoglobin blocks the parasites that are inside the body. It ensures that the hold of disease is short lived and eliminated as soon as possible.

Scientists are still researching further into the reasons behind sickle cells effectiveness. These researchers can prove to be helpful in finding out the cure to mosquito infected diseases. 

There is the possibility that there are many other variants that sickle cells possess that make them a shield against malaria. With scientists delving deeper into this subject matter with the passing of each day, the answers can be closer to us than we think.

Diseases Caused By Mosquitoes

One of the deadliest creatures in the world, mosquitoes do not need to look intimidating to scare you silly. The diseases infected by them are enough for everyone to be wary of them. As discussed earlier, millions of people meet their untimely death due to illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

With millions of people dying, it is safe to assume that a more substantial number of people fall ill due to the transmitted diseases. In the old days, people used to catch bugs but, they were not classified by types as they are now today. The simple reason for the classifications is that it points the people towards the correct direction of treatment.

Holding Two Dead Mosquitos

With the rapidly increasing rate of global warming, there is a scary possibility of mosquito-transmitted diseases growing exponentially. Some of the most frequently prevailing illnesses that are caused by mosquitoes are mentioned and briefly explained below.

Malaria

Experts suggest that the Malaria originated in Africa. It is a very ancient disease and dates back to thousands of years ago. Female mosquitoes of the Anopheles species are most famous for transmitting the malaria parasite. In the beginning, people did not know the exact cause of malaria.

They thought that it occurred from the wind coming from the swamps and rivers, hence the name, malaria. Which is an Italian word meaning "bad air."

The amount of deaths and illnesses caused by malaria is scary. Constant outbreaks used to occur in America when the soldiers returned from the Vietnam War, but thankfully they were controlled later on.

The anti-malaria campaign has been ever present, and scientists have given it a significant invigoration by solving the malaria parasite genome puzzle. Drugs to prevent and cure malaria have also been around for around fifty years and progress to fight disease has been steady for most of the time.

Dengue

Asia, Africa, and America are the primary victims of the dengue virus. Europe is relatively safe from it. Not as life-threatening as malaria, dengue is still pretty dangerous and has symptoms that can make the coldest of hearts cringe with fear.

The mosquitoes that are most commonly known to carry dengue are from the Aedes aegypti species. Standard spraying techniques are not potent enough to prevent dengue-carrying mosquitoes. They prefer to lay their eggs as close to human occupancy as possible. 

Dengue was not as common as it has become now, the reason behind it being the adaptability of these mosquitoes. It makes it extremely difficult for us to eliminate them. The preceding sixteen years have seen the most cases of dengue throughout the world, especially in the Americas.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus also has a long and storied history with its beginnings from Africa, spreading into the Middle East and west and extending towards the north and South Asia. The severity of this virus is significantly less when compared to other infections.

Rash From Mosquito Bite

West Nile virus also affects animals as some deaths have occurred due to its transmission. Countries are developing programs to survey the cause of this virus and are planning a contingency plan for it accordingly. The only place where the West Nile virus has not occurred yet is the United Kingdom.

Yellow Fever

Tropical places like America and Africa are the main places that are targets of yellow fever. The Yellow fever has a history that dates back to almost around four hundred years. There are individual countries (especially the ones that have jungles) that require yellow fever vaccination before stepping foot inside the country.

The number of cases that result in death due to yellow fever is around thirty thousand out of the two hundred thousand that are affected. The past ten years have seen yellow fever expand significantly. Asia is a continent that is lucky enough to not have any cases of yellow fever up till now.

Dog Heartworm

Canine dogs are the primary victims of this lethal disease caused by mosquitoes. Roundworms are the reason why raccoons, cats, and dogs get infected. Mosquitoes carry the larvae of the worms and infect the animals with them. For the mosquitoes to transmit the larvae of the roundworms, the mosquito has to be affected by the infection first.

Mosquitoes bite the skin of their victims creating an opening in the surface. It allows the roundworm larvae to enter the bloodstream of the animals causing them to get sick.

Dog heartworm does not cause damage if it enters a human body. There is no sickness in human beings when mosquitoes carrying dog heartworm bite them. Numerous ways are present to cure and prevent this disease.

The most commonly used methods are injecting the animals with medicines or feeding them pills. Asia is the leading continent where dog heartworm is present usually.

What Repels Mosquitoes?

People throughout history have tried and tested numerous methods to repel mosquitoes. Some were successful while some were not. Let us discuss some of the most commonly used mosquito repellents of this day and age.

Synthetic Mosquito Repellants

When the word mosquito repellent comes to mind, most people think of a concoction used for killing insects. That's partially true, but there is much more t it than that. A mosquito repellent can also keep the mosquito away altogether, making sure that it doesn't bite you in the first place.

Different Mosquito Repellents

Infants should remain as far away from repellents as possible. The often toxic and dangerous chemicals are the main reason to keep the repellents away from infants.

There is no market shortage of synthetic mosquito repellents. You can easily find a variety of types of various mosquito repellent brands. It is essential to apply mosquito repellents thoroughly to the exposed areas of your skin. Leaving any part out can result in a mosquito bite.

Applying repellents can provide your skin with hours of shielding from mosquitoes. However, as the name implies, synthetic repellants are not natural and are made using chemical synthesis. Involving chemicals in anything can sometimes be harmful. Here are some of the conventional synthetic mosquito repellents: Picardin, IR3535, DEET and Permethrin.

Pros

Cons

  • Synthetic repellents act quickly and are an excellent way to exterminate mosquitoes instantly
  • Synthetic repellents containing DEET make it impossible for mosquitoes to smell scents which is why they are unable to locate people for many hours
  • Synthetic repellents should be used very rarely on infants as the chemicals present in it are extremely dangerous to their health
  • times-circle
    Synthetic repellents are harmful to already damaged areas of your skin. You should keep a watchful eye when applying it to your surface

Common Natural Mosquito Repellents

Due to the damaging chemicals found in synthetic mosquito repellents, a lot of people have turned their attention towards natural mosquito repellents. They are more comfortable on the skin and are significantly safer. Some of the conventional natural mosquito repellents are: Lemon Eucalyptus oil, Cinnamon oil, Greek catnip oil, Lavender oil, Tea tree oil and Soybean oil.  

All of these oils are excellent natural mosquito repellents and provide several hours of quality mosquito protection. Unlike synthetic mosquito repellents, you will not have to worry about harmful chemicals damaging your body in the long run.

Pros

Cons

  • First of all, there are many reasons why natural repellents are so terrific. The main advantage that makes natural repellents stand out is the fact that they don't have any chemicals
  • Natural repellents are infinitely safer for your skin than synthetic repellents, and with the absence of chemicals, they even smell better
  • plus-circle
    You can apply natural repellents on your animals without any hesitation
  • There aren't many cons as far as natural repellents are concerned. The only drawback is that they are slightly expensive and aren't as widely available as chemical mosquito repellents

Electronic Mosquito Control

The most common method of electronic mosquito control is the ultrasound method. A lot of countries in the world adopt this method to repel mosquitoes. People are often surprised when they find out that a technique like this exists. It turns out that the ultrasound technology is not limited to medical procedures but can be used as a mosquito repellent as well.

Electronic Mosquito Repellent

The workings of an electronic mosquito repellant are relatively simple to explain. An ultrasonic buzz with an exorbitant amount of frequency comes from electronic repellers. The sound of this high-frequency buzz repels the mosquitoes away from people.

Pros

Cons

  • Electronic ultrasound repellents are safer than synthetic mosquito repellants in the regard that there is no chemical application on the body. They require batteries or electricity
  • The results of electronic repellents, especially the ultrasound ones have been inconclusive. So no substantial evidence supports its effectiveness

Electric Mosquito Killers

There are a large number of electronic devices that are useful in killing mosquitoes or any bug for that matter. There are electric lures, fly traps, bug zaps and many more variations of mosquito killers present in the market.

The most effective device is the mosquito attracting bulb. It works by just luring the mosquito towards itself, and as soon as the mosquito comes in contacts with it, the lamp electrocutes it. An important thing to keep in mind when buying electric mosquito killers is to make sure that they are waterproof.

Most people install or place their electronic repellents outdoor, so purchasing a waterproof electric repellent is a no-brainer, as it won't be damaged when it rains. LED bulbs are suitable for electrical mosquito killers. The reason for that is because mosquitoes get attracted to the light that shines the brightest.

Pros

Cons

  • A lot of options of electric mosquito killers ensure that you have the utmost convenience when it comes to killing mosquitoes
  • plus-circle
    Electric mosquito killers allow you to be flexible with the placement o the devices to whatever place you deem fit
  • A lot of electric mosquito killers are not durable, and they do not last for too long
  • times-circle
    Exposed electronic devices can not only be dangerous for children but adults as well
  • times-circle
    They require constant electricity through battery or external power, which can be a burden on the wallet

Are Mosquito Repellents Safe?

As we all know, there is a wide variety of mosquito repellents available all over the world. Some are safe while there are some that are effective but aren't as reliable. Most people consider natural mosquito repellents to be the safest form of repellents, as they do not have any harmful chemicals.

You could never go wrong with buying an all natural mosquito repellent as it is the best option for animals and infants as well. Whereas synthetic and some other forms of mosquito repellents, although useful, aren't as safe.

Additional chemicals are the deal breaker for many people with synthetic repellents as they can cause health problems in the long term and some cases short-term as well. A lot of repellents that use smoke are dangerous to inhale and can cause severe respiratory problems.

What Is DEET?

DEET is a chemically formulated ingredient that is present in most insect repellents, especially synthetic repellents. It is a liquid which does not have any color, and its peculiar smell is what repels insects away from coming close to it.

Antifection Chemical

A lot of controversies surrounded DEET, and it was not clear whether it should be a legal ingredient in repellents because of its use of somewhat arguable chemicals. But in 1957 it was allowed to be used by people and even got officially registered later on as a repellent. However, it is advisable that you should not use DEET on children in excess. 

How To Apply Mosquito Repellents

Applying mosquito repellents is as simple as ABC. You have to squeeze out a few drops of repellent in your hands and thoroughly rub the exposed areas of your body that are susceptible to be bitten by mosquitoes. Be sure to wash your hands afterward.

Conclusion

Mosquito repellents have been present for centuries in different forms. It is an essential item in everyone's household. There are multiple categories of repellents all having their unique qualities. With the passing of time, the standards of these repellents are getting better and safer.

It was a complete guide to educate you about the use of mosquito repellents. You will find the answer to all of your mosquito repellent related queries in this article. We have provided below, a comprehensive buying guide of mosquito repellents to help you choose the best product.

Leave a Comment: