Garlic Can Help Keep Pesky Mosquitoes Away

June 20, 2007 WTOP Radio

WASHINGTON - Garlic isn't just for seasoning food and warding off vampires anymore. In fact, it may help ward off a summer pest that is often hard to get rid of - mosquitoes.

WTOP's Garden Editor Mike McGrath recommends using garlic-based sprays outside the home, as well as consuming garlic to keep the blood-sucking insects away from you.

"This is an age-old folk remedy for both mosquitoes and fleas. Many holistic vets to this day will tell you to feed your dog some garlic during flea and mosquito season and it will change the scent of the animal and these parasites won't be as attractive to them and a lot of humans have adopted this as well."

McGrath recommends taking a fresh clove of garlic, chopping it up, and then consuming it, either by using it to cook with or by eating it by itself followed by some parsley to take away the bitter taste.

"Mosquitoes do actually prefer the scent of certain people," says McGrath. "By changing that scent by having some strong, scented, naturally occuring chemical compound in your bloodstream could well work. The nice thing about eating garlic is it might have potential health benefits beyond that, but its certainly not going to harm you like DEET would."

By using a garlic spray, any mosquitoes (and similar pests, like chiggers, midges, ticks and gnats) directly hit by the spray will be killed and repelled from the area for two to six weeks. And despite the smell, after an hour or so, the odor will disappear from what humans can smell.

McGrath calls garlic "the universal insect repellant," and says, "homeowners can now buy garlic sprays that they can spray on their own lawn to keep mosquitoes away and there is some sign that it could be very effective."

Some of these products include "Mosquito Barrier" and "Garlic Barrier", both available in highly concentrated and dilute formulations. Also, "Mosquito Repellent" is a pre-mixed formula in a spray bottle to hook up to a garden hose to treat 5,000 square feet of lawn.

(Copyright 2007 by WTOP Radio. All Rights Reserved.)