Do DIY mosquito repellents work? One Memphis woman thinks so

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MEMPHIS,  Tenn. -  When it comes to some mosquito sprays you don't have to look any further than your kitchen cabinet.

More and more people are using things like apple cider vinegar, citronella oil, essential oils, vanilla and even mouthwash to keep the pests away.

Environmental health specialists with the Shelby County Health Department say science shows Deet is the most effective repellent, but that doesn't mean these natural bug sprays don't work.

"You have to reapply.  If it doesn't work, you move to the next product and continue.  But know that you can always put on any insect repellent that has Deet, and you'll get the best protection," said Dr. Tyler Zerwekh with the Shelby County Health Department.

Jasmin Cage spends a lot of time outside and doesn't like the idea of putting chemicals on her skin.

"I'm not so selfish that I'd be willing to do away with the honey bees just because I don't like mosquito bites," said Jasmin.

She mixes apple cider vinegar with witch hazel, castor oil, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon grass, mineral oils and water.

She says by trial and error, she's found something that really works and is even selling it.

"Yesterday, I was out surveying my land for five hours, and aside from scratches and this unfortunate watch tan, I pretty much came out unscathed," said Jasmin.

The CDC recommends you wear EPA approved insect repellents with Deet, Picaridin or oil of eucalyptus to prevent mosquito bites.

Health experts also recommend you cover up with loose, light clothing during the summer months.

Studies show dark clothes, blood type, exercise, metabolism, and even drinking beer can make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

"I can address the exercise and beer.  What happens with exercise is you're breathing heavier and you have more carbon dioxide that you're admitting. That's what draws the mosquitoes to you," said Dr. Zerwekh.

Jasmin admits she does have to reapply her homemade concoction every couple of hours, but says it's worth it to put on something that smells good and is good for the planet.

To keep mosquitoes away from your yard the Shelby County Health Department recommends you get rid of anything that can hold standing water.

If you have mosquito problem around your home you are urged to the call the health department at (901)222-9715. For more on where you get the natural bug spray click here.

Natural mosquito spray recipe:

3/4 cup alcohol-free witch hazel
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup castor oil
10 drops each of Texas Cedarwood oil, Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus oil
20 drops each of Lavender oil, Bergamot Oil, Rosemary Oil
30 drops each of Lemongrass Oil
1tsp of Citronella Oil
dilute with distilled water as desired
shake bottle and apply liberally every 2-3 hours




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