The Lavender Hack For Keeping Mosquitos Away From Your Campsite

Camping can be a blast and bring you closer to nature and yourself. One downside of being in the great outdoors however, is dealing with mosquito bites and the constant ringing of these insects in your ear. Needless to say, mosquitos are a nuisance. Even worse, they can also spread diseases such as Zika, West Nile Virus, and more. While you can use a harsh mosquito repellent or pricey devices to keep them away from your campsite, there is a more natural and affordable alternative: lavender. This brilliantly colored plant is known for its distinct aroma and ability to alleviate anxiety.

It can also keep mosquitos at bay. Per a 2019 study published in the Malaria Journal, lavender essential oil had an 80.9% repellency rate against mosquitos. Thus, placing this essential oil on your skin alone or mixed with another oil to dilute it, will work wonders against these pests. Likewise, you could bring a lavender plant to your camping trip for added protection.

Another option to consider includes creating a DIY bug repellant by combining lavender essential oil and witch hazel. Witch hazel can aid with the itching caused by mosquito bites, but alternatively, you could skip this ingredient and mix the lavender essential oil with water. That said, there is a reason why mosquitoes stay away from lavender.

What's so special about lavender?

According to the study done by the Malaria Journal, using lavender oil as a mosquito repellent provides eight hours of protection. But why is it so effective? Lavender contains a chemical compound called linalool. A study from Cell Proliferation states that lavender oil is 35% linalool. This compound makes lavender fragrant and gives the plant its physical and mental benefits, including its anti-anxiety properties. 

Mosquitos do not like linalool because it disrupts their ability to smell. In fact, a study from the Journal of Vector Ecology noted that when used in diffusers, linalool repelled mosquitos at a 93% rate. There is, however, a drawback. Linalool is known to be a common allergen. Before you place lavender essential oil on your skin, consider doing a patch test. This is especially recommended if it's your first time coming into contact with this product.  

If you are allergic or can't stand the smell of lavender, other plants and essential oils can repel mosquitos while camping. This includes citronella and lemon eucalyptus oil. Citronella is commonly sold in candle form for this purpose, and the CDC approves the latter for its effectiveness against mosquitos.