Citronella Oil: One of Nature’s Pest Repellent
When we read about DIY methods for pest management, we often see citronella as an effective repellent. In this chapter, I will be discussing which pests citronella oil is effective for. Plus, DIY tips to make your own citronella repellent. But first, an overview.
Citronella oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of different species of lemongrass. Lemongrass is a type of plant that can grow about 6.6 feet or 2 meters in height. This is usually grown in warm climates but it can also be grown indoors in colder places.
Citronella is a grass that usually grows in Asian countries and some areas in the South Pacific. It is characterized as having a rich, lemony aroma. Hence, its name. The essential oil is extracted from two types of citronella grass namely, Ceylon variety and the Java variety. In both plants, the oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh plant.
The oil extracted from Ceylon has the following main components: citronellol, citronellal, geraniol, limonene, and methyl isoeugenol. On the other hand, citronella oil extracted from the Java variety contains citronellal, geraniol, and a higher component of citronellal. For this reason, citronella from the Jave variety is known to be of higher quality and is more expensive than the Ceylon variety.
Citronella oil is mainly produced in China and Indonesia. However, it is also produced by other Asian countries, South and Latin American, and African countries in smaller quantities. Apart from being a pest repellent, there are many other benefits of using citronella oil.
Benefits of Citronella Oil
- Prevents Bacterial Growth. According to a study published in the Microbios Journal, the components of citronella oil is responsible for inhibiting bacterial growth. They found that citronella is very helpful in treating wounds and infections in the colon, urethra, urinary bladder, stomach, intestines, prostate, and kidneys.
- Relieves Body Spasms. The oil can also be used to relieve pain and spasms of the muscles, respiratory system, and nervous system. According to KG Stiles, citronellal oil is also proven to relieve stomach cramps and menstrual spasms.
- Citronella has Anti-Inflammatory Properties. A research paper published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal reiterates that citronellal oil helps relieve information particularly in the liver, stomach, intestines, and other parts of the digestive system. For the research concludes that citronella is also effective to sedate the inflammation caused by drugs, excessive use of alcohol, narcotics, spicy foods, and other toxic elements that gets inside the body.
- Removes Bad Odors. Citronella is famous for its deodorizing quality. It is used by several companies to create deodorants and body sprays in small amounts. Too much citronella on the skin could cause irritations and allergies which is why it is important to take precautions while using the oil.
- Helps Eliminate Toxins. Citronella promotes sweating and urination. A company by a regular intake of water, it helps flush toxins and bacteria from the body. According to its users, citronella makes the body feel lighter and more relaxed. It keeps the skin healthy and also helps reduce fever.
In a 2016 report published in the Scientific Research Journal, the researchers found that citronella oil helps dispose of unwanted substances from the body including uric acid, excess bile, salts, water, and excess fats. It helps maintain and reduce weight while eliminating infections in the urinary system. Furthermore, citronella oil helps reduce the chances of having renal calculi, rheumatism, arthritis, indigestion, and cardiovascular diseases.
Citronella as an Insect Repellant
Some people think that citronella oil can kill or exterminate insects. However, this is not true. Citronella only repels insects. Because of its strong scent, citronella oil masks the carbon dioxide and lactic acids scents that insects crave for. Generally, the smell of citronella oil irritates the pests. Hence, it makes it difficult for them to locate any potential food.
According to scientists, citronella oil works for about 20 to 30 minutes and needs to be reapplied after that. Compared to DEET or other synthetic pest repellents, the effects of citronella oil last in a short span of time. The only advantage of citronella oil is its safety to the environment and its contact to humans and animals.
Here are some of the insects that citronella oil can repel:
- Mosquitoes are considered as one of the most lethal vectors of diseases. They transmit a few of the deadliest illnesses of all time. In 2015 alone, Malaria caused 438,000 worldwide. In addition, the incidence of dengue increased 30 times in the past 30 years. Now, it affects millions of people every year. Apart from these illnesses, mosquitoes also transmit Zika virus, Chikungunya, and the Yellow Fever. All of which are deadly to humans.
- Fleas. If you have fur babies, fleas are your number one enemy. They are much harder to catch and kill than ticks because of their ability to jump and run fast. You might think that having fleas is normal and harmless at home. Actually, it causes a wide variety of illnesses for your pets. Primarily, fleas can cause irritation and inflammation, especially if the infestation is severe. Your fur babies could wound their skin and lose their hairs from scratching. If it gets worse, it could lead to a more serious skin condition.
- Ticks. Ticks are easier to spot and catch but they are more harmful to humans and animals. If you spot a tick on your pet’s skin, never attempt to remove it using your bare hands. Look for a pair of tweezers and carefully remove the tick from the skin. Do not squish the tick. Drown it in rubbing alcohol or in a dishwashing solution. Ticks carry vector-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease. The symptoms of this disease are as follows: rashes, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint, and muscle pain. If it gets worse, it could lead to facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy, heart disorders, neurological disorders, and arthritis. Depending on the severity of the infestation, ticks can also cause anemia, especially in smaller breeds. In some cases, a tick infestation can also cause immunodeficiency disorders among cats and dogs, causing them to lose appetite, and weaken over time.
- Cockroaches. These creatures are by far the most disgusting pests of all time. Cockroaches have no sense of personal boundaries. They infest whenever they want, wherever they want even if it means crawling over human skin. These creatures are attracted to sweets, food crumbs, and food stains on clothes and compartments. Cockroaches do whatever it takes to get what they want. It even seems like they are not so scared of being squished by human beings. Did you know that cockroaches have the speed of three miles an hour? They run very fast and can fly as soon as they are threatened. Some people think that flushing them down the drain or down the toilet does the trick. Actually, it will only mean sending them back where they came from. Cockroaches can hold their breath for more than 30 minutes. That is more than enough time before they can latch onto a dry surface where they can recuperate. Furthermore, did you know that cockroaches can live without its head for a couple of days? You can only imagine how many more bacteria it can spread in that duration.
- Bed Bugs. One of the most common household pets is the bed bug. These creatures are called silent predators. Their bite is almost painless. You won’t even feel a thing. In the morning, you are going to see red marks on your arm, legs, and neck. You will think that you are bitten by mosquitoes. You will not even suspect that bed bugs exist around you. If you observe multiple red marks on your skin, it pays off to check your mattress and your bedding for any sign of bed bug infestation.
How to Use Citronella as an Insect Repellant
There are many ways how you can use citronella oil as a pest repellent.
- Spray Repellant. To make a spray-on repellent, use citronella oil as a liquid base. In a spray bottle, combine and 2 ounces of water with 60 to 120 drops of citronella oil. Choosing the amount of citronella solution depends on how often you wish to reapply it. Spray on your windows, doors, and other areas where pests are common. That should do the trick. Reapply every after 30 minutes, depending on the strength of the solution. You can also use this to prevent tick and flea infestation on your pet’s fur. Just spray the solution on their hair before and after going out for a walk.
- Citronella Lotion. A lotion is made by emulsifying water and oil. To create your own citronella lotion, place 2 ounces of water in a mixing bowl. Put the same amount of citronella oil slowly, and whisk it until it becomes creamy and white. Be careful in using citronella as a lotion. There are people who are allergic to the substance. So, before you use it, make sure that your skin does not display any sign of irritation or allergy.
You can increase its effectiveness by combining it with other essential oils that are identified to repel insects. These include basil, catnip, cedarwood, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and geranium.
Call for Pest Management Professionals
To prevent any pests from infesting your home, the best way is to call for your local pest control company in Denver. For effective methods of pest management, call Lake Norman Pest Control. This company offers a basic service plan that eliminates and prevents pest infestation in your entire home. With the help of their treatments, you will be having a pest-free environment in no time. What are you waiting for? Call Lake Norman Pest Control for an affordable yet competent pest management techniques.