In a super-cool article by a group of entomology researchers in Iran, I found scientific evidence showing that bug sprays containing essential oils really can work! Of course, quality always matters and you have to pick the right oil or oils to do what you want them to do.
These scientists show us that there are 2 essential oils that effectively kill the larvae of the Anopheles stephensi mosquito, with further research suggested for 2 others. They decided to investigate this due to the environmental toxicity of commercially prepared synthetic pesticides that are used to control malaria in countries such as Iran. So, which essential oils were used in this study to kill mosquito larvae?
Bring on Citrus aurantium, or bitter orange. This is the species of orange that is used make marmalade. The peel of this fruit has been used in Asian medicine for centuries to treat digestive problems.
Next, we have grapefruit, or Citrus paradisi. This fruit has been used in Persian traditional medicine to treat infections, digestive problems, colds, and to treat high cholesterol.
And the GOOD NEWS is that both of these essential oils killed MORE THAN 90% of the mosquito larvae at relatively low concentrations (0.008 %) – which is astounding!! This is real research, folks, not conjecture. I’m looking forward to making my own bug spray to see how well it works on mosquitoes and other critters. I have some friends & family who are about to head out to Gatlinburg, TN so they’re going to test it out for me too. I’ll pass along an update and possibly offer my buggy spray for sale in my online store soon!
Sanei-Dehkordi, A., Sedaghat, M.M., Vatandoost, H., & Abai, M.R. (2016). Chemical compostiions of the peel essential oil of Citrus aurantium and its natural larvicidal activity against the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi in comparison with Citrus paradisi. Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases, 10(4), 577-585.
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