Whack! “These mosquitos are having a field day with me,” complained Annie.

“I see; were they in our room last night because you have bites on your legs,” observed LJ.

“Must have been because every time I dozed off, I was jolted awake by a bite that started itching.  I am ready to take drastic action, like getting a chemical repellant to ward them off. “

“Whoa, that doesn’t sound like you. I don’t like mosquitos, but we should try earth-friendly methods.

Chemical mosquito repellants are bad for the environment.  Most of them contain active ingredients made from petroleum-based solvents and have known negative effects on water, soil, and animals because their active ingredients degrade quickly in the environment, leaving polluting by-products. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) granted approval to two healthier alternatives — picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus—for protection from mosquitoes.

Have you noticed that they have not bitten me since I’ve been weeding the onions?

“If you say so, but I’m too busy scratching to notice what’s happening with you. Okay, so mosquitos don’t like onions?”

“Correct, Onions contain sulfur compounds. Mosquitoes have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and are repelled by the sulfur in onions. Garlic, leeks, and chives also contain sulfur compounds and are natural mosquito repellents.”

“Really? Want to trade places with me?”

“LJ laughed. “Sure. If you want to weed the onions and chives, be my guest. I’ll move over to the chili peppers, which contain capsaicin, an incredibly powerful natural repellent for mosquitoes. When mosquitoes and other insects come into contact with capsaicin, it irritates their skin and causes them to fly away. Capsaicin is even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET and other chemical repellents.”

“We can’t rub capsaicin on our skin, so how are we supposed to use chili peppers to repel mosquitos?”

“How does Vegan Birria Tacos sound for dinner? The recipe includes onions, chili peppers, and garlic, foods mosquitos hate. Another one is apple cider vinegar. It is a repellant for mosquitos because it contains a natural acid called acetic acid. This acid produces a strong scent that mosquitoes find unpleasant. The acid can also irritate the eyes and skin of mosquitos, which further acts as a deterrent.

Maybe you could make a citrus salad and Lemon Balm Vinaigrette. Lemon balm contains a chemical compound called citronella. The citronella is released when its leaves are crushed, acting as a natural barrier against mosquitos. Lemon balm is also a source of geraniol and citronellol and repels mosquitoes.”

“Sure, I can make the salad and dressing. I’ll also be responsible for table decorations that include thyme and basil, both herbs contain compounds, primarily thymol, and methyl eugenol, respectively, with insect-repellent qualities. Both plants have a strong scent that repels mosquitos. I’ll also make a Lavender and Chia Seed Pudding for dessert. Lavender is known for its calming effect and repels mosquitos because of its strong aroma. Its smell is believed to mask the scents that attract mosquitoes, making it harder for them to find hosts. Furthermore, compounds in lavender oil, such as linalool and eucalyptol, have insect-repellent properties that can help keep other pests away.”

“That works for me!” quipped LJ. “Who knew working in the garden could be so fruitful and mosquito repellent?”

Annie laughed. “And now dinner will be bug-free too.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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