Mosquitos are basically tiny little vampires, sucking out your blood and sometimes leaving behind a high risk of illness or death. Legend says that garlic repels vampires. Does it also repel mosquitos?
While the rumor that garlic repels mosquitos is based on tradition rather than superstition, many people are not convinced. Is garlic a good mosquito repellent, or is this belief far-fetched as tales of vampires?
Read on to learn whether this common mosquito belief is myth or reality.
Why is mosquito repellant a big deal?
Mosquitos are annoying, there’s no doubt about that. They buzz in your ears and their bites make you itch. Many people are allergic to their bites, making outdoor summer excursions a miserable experience!
But even if you’re not particularly bothered by mosquito bites, you still need to defend your skin against these pests. Why is mosquito repellant so important? Here’s why:
Mosquitos are the most dangerous animal in the world. They kill far more people than lions, bears, sharks, and all other razor-toothed animals combined!
As you know, mosquitos carry many deadly diseases, including West Nice virus, malaria, and yellow fever. Almost no corner of the world is safe. If there are mosquitos, there is a threat of disease. Although the threat is much lower in some places, it’s still better to avoid getting bit.
Since preventing mosquito bites is a very serious part of your summer—or your life, if you live in the tropics— it is important to choose a repellant that works well. Most people opt for DEET spray, but others hate the feel and smell of this bug repellant.
Are there alternatives to DEET mosquito repellant spray? Many people would say that there is. People have tried all sorts of ways to deter mosquitos, from munching on bananas to dousing themselves in herbal sprays. One of the most popular natural solutions is garlic.
But does garlic really work to keep mosquitos at bay?
Does garlic repel mosquitos?
Garlic has long been touted as a mosquito repellant. This traditional repellant has been used in a variety of forms for a long time. But does it work? And if so, what works?
The most obvious way to use garlic as a repellant is by eating it. According to belief, eating garlic will make your skin unattractive to mosquitos.
Sadly, this does not work at all! If you eat garlic, your breath might repel people, but your skin will be just as tasty to hungry mosquitos.
A 2005 study by the University of Connecticut Health Center showed that garlic is ineffective as a repellant. Subjects who ate a lot of garlic on a particular day did not get any fewer bites than subjects who ate no garlic in a day.
Eating garlic won’t have any effect on the mosquitos in your backyard. But what if you rub garlic on your skin? Will the smell deter mosquitos?
You may be surprised to learn that yes, rubbing garlic on your skin can repel mosquitos. Don’t get too excited yet, though—it only works for about 20 minutes, but you’ll smell like garlic for the rest of the day! And you’ll probably repel everyone on your block, while you’re at it. Your dog probably won’t even come near you.
Does eating garlic repel mosquitoes?
While eating normal amounts of garlic does not deter mosquitos, T. V. Rajan, a lead author of the University of Connecticut Health Center study, believes that you could repel mosquitos if you ate enough of the pungent spice.
However, if his theory is correct, you would have to eat far more garlic than any sane person could manage, and you might smell like you crawled out of the spice rack of an Italian pizzeria.
Does taking odorless garlic pills or capsules repel mosquitoes?
If the smell is what deters us from arming ourselves with garlic, then could odorless garlic pills or tablets work as an oral mosquito repellant? Unfortunately, the aforementioned study doesn’t think so. According to its findings, supplements aren’t any more effective than fresh garlic.
What to eat to repel mosquitoes?
If garlic does not repel mosquitos, what does? While there are many “natural” mosquito repellants that supposedly keep away these pesky bugs, most of them are only old wives’ tales and urban legends.
So far, scientists have not found anything ingestible to repel mosquitos. This is a shame because it would be nice to be able to eat something in the morning and be untouchable by mosquitos for the rest of the day! Sadly, no magic food has not discovered, and it may never be.
Despite much research, science has not presented us with an edible mosquito solution. Until the next great scientific breakthrough, we have to stick to topical repellents.
Although lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to be a pretty effective repellant, your best defense is stinky, messy DEET spray. It may not be your favorite summertime scent, but it will certainly be the best thing to keep away the swatting, itching, and disease that mosquitos bring to your summer.
This year, keep away pesky and dangerous mosquitos by taking a few easy steps. First, make sure to drain your yard of standing water. Be sure to drain large areas, like a boat, as well as smaller areas, like a bucket. Mosquitos aren’t concerned about square footage when choosing where to raise mosquito babies.
Secondly, cover your skin. Although mosquitos can bite through clothes, they have a harder time getting to skin under clothing than exposed skin. So bring a cover-up when you’re lounging by the pool.
Finally, use bug spray. Make sure to wear it whenever you go to an outdoor area that may have mosquitos. Garlic may not be effective, but commercial bug sprays are!