Garlic Spray Wards Off Mosquitoes

8/13/03 The Washington Times, Washington DC

By Ruth Hepner

Section: Life - Home Gardening

There is a wedding tradition in my friend Kay's family. They hold them in the spring or summer in a big tent on her brother Jim's farm in Frederick. Kay makes centerpieces of flowering annuals and ivy, and then after the wedding moves her creations to brighten her Bethesda garden for the rest of the summer. She also oversees the rental of portable toilets. This year, there was another chore among the preparations. With a pond on the farm not far from the tent site, and concern about West Nile virus, the family decided to make sure there were no mosquitoes. Research on the Internet yielded a wealth of information, including the availability of a nontoxic garlic spray to do the job. "This works," Kay told me. "[The mother of the bride] sprayed the pasture in front of the house where the tent was going to be erected, and we were not bothered by any mosquitoes. It didn't seem to work on the flies, but they seemed to like the peak of the tent and really didn't bother us." The product Kay's family used is sold under two names, Garlic Barrier and Mosquito Barrier. "Both are registered names for the same product," according to a distributor, which is produced by Garlic Research Labs of Glendale, Calif. "[It is] an excellent product for 40 different species of insect," he says, including fleas, ticks and some flies, but not house flies or horse flies. It also repels deer, rabbits and geese. The spray is bought in a concentrated form and mixed with water for use in a canister sprayer or hose-end sprayer. A distributor says he prefers the canister sprayer because it makes a more effective, fine spray, although Kay says her family was happy with the results using a hose-end sprayer. Either kind is widely available. The spray must be applied 48 hours before any rainfall because it needs that time to enter the plant systemically. Then it lasts 10 to 14 days, and as long as four weeks if there is a dry spell. "I can do my place - which is just under a quarter acre - in one hour," said the distrubutor. The best time to apply the spray is two to three hours before sunset, he says. Don't apply it when there is dew on the ground, he says, because that dilutes the spray.