Mosquitoes can ruin a mid-summer’s day walk and wreak havoc on a relaxing canoe trip. All of a sudden, you feel that tiny, stinging sensation on the back of your arm or leg.
By then, it’s too late; your blood has become a meal for one happy mosquito. An itchy, red welt quickly appears, and then soon fades away.
But mosquitoes are not just annoying pests to be swatted away. They have actually earned the reputation of being one of the deadliest creatures in the world.
Several dangerous, life-threatening diseases are directly spread from person to person through mosquito bites.
When mosquito bites, viruses like Zika, West Nile, malaria, and many others are given a direct route to a person’s bloodstream.
What will keep the mosquitoes away?
Because mosquitoes are such a huge problem, much time and effort has been dedicated to keeping them at bay. There are chemical sprays, candles, mosquito coils, mosquito nets, and “bug zappers,” just to name a few.
Today, many people are looking for more natural, chemical-free methods to repel mosquitoes. Plant-based repellents are one option. They are safe for humans and animals, biodegradable, and may be more readily available in impoverished areas.
Orange peel as a mosquito repellent?
Maybe you have heard about orange peel and its mosquito-repellent properties. Is it really effective? Or is this another internet fad with little merit? Read on to learn more about orange peel and its effect on mosquitoes.
Does Orange peel repel Mosquitoes?
Oranges and other citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit all contain d-limonene in their peels. This is an organic compound produced by many plants; its strong odor serves to help protect that plant from harmful insects and plant-eating animals.
D-limonene can be extracted from citrus peels and used as a natural flavoring agent in foods and beverages. It can also be used as an insecticide or repellent. The peels and zest of citrus fruits contain approximately 90-95% limonene.
Orange peel extract as mosquito repellent: A look at the research
Many studies have been conducted to help establish whether citrus oils are effective as a mosquito repellent or not.
One study, published by Global Journals Inc (May, 2012), looked at five citrus fruits: sweet orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, and grapefruit. Their peels were dried, ground into powder, and the extract was removed.
Different concentrations of the extracts were applied to determine which was the most effective as a mosquito repellent.
Concentrations of 15%, 20%, and 25% were all found to be highly effective. Researchers also found that the higher concentrations of extract offered longer protection against the mosquitoes.
More recently, a study published in 2017 tested extracts from three species of oranges and found them to be a highly effective repellent against adult mosquitoes. In addition, it was also able to kill mosquito larvae.
Use orange peels for a DIY mosquito repellent
There are several ways to use orange peels to help keep those pesky mosquitoes away:
- Rub the orange peel directly on your skin for a quick and easy repellent.
- Find an old plug-in device that was once used to ward off mosquitoes. Create your own refill by cutting an orange peel to fit the device. Simply plug in the device, and the strong citrusy scent will naturally keep mosquitoes away.
- Create your own citrus-infused oil. Chop up a few oranges and pour near-boiling water over them. Allow the mixture to cool, and then strain the liquid into a spray bottle.
- Burn orange peels to repel mosquitoes. The oil in orange peels is naturally flammable. To burn orange peels, take a sharp paring knife and cut off the peel in large strips. Allow them to air-dry completely. (They should be able to snap in half.) Once they are dry, use them as a fire starter or burn in a wood fireplace. The combination of smoke and burning citrus will help keep mosquitoes away.
- Here’s another recipe for DIY bug repellent. Fill a quart jar with orange peels. Cover the peels completely with white vinegar and put a lid on. Keep the mixture soaking for two weeks. Finally, pour the citrus-infused vinegar into a spray bottle and use as needed. This also works great for ants.
Orange peel products on the market
Companies all over the world are incorporating orange oil and other citrus oils into their products to develop safer, more natural methods of controlling mosquitoes.
Many such insecticides and repellents containing orange oil or extract are available on the market.
Mosquito-repellent clothing is also being manufactured and sold. This clothing is typically infused with an insecticide called permethrin.
However, research is looking into incorporating orange peel extract into clothing rather than synthetic options like permethrin. This would be a more natural, cost-effective alternative, especially for areas with limited resources.
One such study, conducted by the International Journal of Home Science, (2017), infused cotton fabric with various concentrations of orange peel extract to see if it affected the clothing in any way.
Fabric stiffness, crease recovery, strength, thickness, and other factors were tested. Although more research is still needed, the quest to incorporate orange peel oil into fabric is a worthy cause.
If you are looking for an easy, inexpensive, and natural way to repel mosquitoes, try orange peel! Research has proven it is a safe and eco-friendly way to help keep mosquitoes at bay.