A mosquito repellent is a substance that is applied on human skin, clothing or any other surface in order to prevent the mosquitoes from crawling or sitting on that surface.

How the mosquito repellent works

Mosquito repellents doesn’t kill mosquitoes. The repellents work by making the human skin or surfaces on which they are applied to be unattractive to mosquitoes. They prevent bites from mosquitoes by preventing blood feeding in the mosquito’s stimuli. The length of time a person is protected from mosquito bites depend on the strength and type of repellent used. A good kind of mosquito repellent will provide many hours of protection just from a single application. Furthermore, for a repellent to be effective, apply it evenly on all exposed skin and surfaces as mosquitoes can quickly detect areas where the repellent has not been applied.

Kinds of mosquito repellents

There are various kinds of mosquito repellents i.e. plant derived repellent, electronic and synthetic chemical repellent. All the plant and chemical categories of repellent have different levels of active ingredients (substance that repels the mosquitos).example of synthetic repellent is DEET (diethlytoluamide). It is one of the most effective and widely used repellent developed by US army in the 1950s.picaridin another chemical repellent was developed in 1990s is as effective as DEET with an even more pleasant smell when compared to DEET. Plant derived repellent include geraniol that is derived from plant oils like lemongrass, citronella & oil of rose. A graniol based repellent is effective between 2-4 hours. Another example of plant derived repellent is lemon eucalyptus oil.it has been effectively used since 1940s and approved by CDC (center of Disease Control and Prevention).

Electronic repellents use electromagnetic waves and ultra-sound to repel mosquitos. Repellents do also exist in different form like sprays, foams, lotions, sticks, liquid vaporizers mats, coils and wipe-ons.

Mosquito repellent precautions

DEET repellents should not be used on infants younger than 2 months!

Repellent in form of foams and sprays can be use limitedly indoors and outdoors. Fumes from the spray and smoke from the coil when inhaled can cause allergic reactions and breathing problems. Essential oils like citronella and neem oil are only effective when applied on the skin although its effect is not lasting. Furthermore, a user is advised to use a repellent from a well-known brand that has a proven long safety track record.

The repellents level of effectiveness decrease with things like increased perspiration, high temperature and humidity, swimming and rainfall, thus a user is advised to avoid such conditions for maximum results.

Repellent labels

It’s necessary to read the labels before use as each repellent comes with different recommendations for use. Additionally, the label should have an EPA-approval registration number and mark. It’s advisable not to use repellents that have not been approved with EPA.the label should also list mosquito as one of the insects that it repels.

You are advised to keep in mind that all repellents do not equally protect its users. A repellents effectiveness depends on the mosquito species, gender, and age and user level of activity of the person using it.