Natural Bug Repellant: The Effectiveness of Citronella

Citronella is a substance derived from a combination of cultivated grasses and can come in many forms such as lotions, oils, candles and powders. With the dangers of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and other biting insects, such as the West Nile virus and malaria, people are always looking for methods to effectively repel them away from areas typically populated by people. Citronella can be used as an alternative to the chemical DEET, which is a common ingredient in many commercial insect repellents, however is may not be as effective over time or for prolonged exposure.

The effectiveness of citronella may be enhanced or increased when it is used in combination with other, similar products. For example, a citronella torch can be a useful tool for repelling insects and is popular for backyard uses such as at parties, barbecues and other events, but will most likely have to be used in large quantities to be very effective. There are many people who do not believe that a citronella torch is much more effective than a torch that uses nothing more than a plain candle. The biggest drawback about using a citronella torch is that the citronella scent is the most effective when in close contact with the skin. In order for a citronella torch to work the best, people must be very close to it or else the mosquitoes and other biting insects will not notice the repelling scent and will still be present.

The lemony scent of citronella is generally a repellent for insects and ticks and can be worn as a type of flea collar on pets. A citronella collar is also used on certain types of pets, such as dogs, for a variety of reasons such as repelling biting insects such as ticks and to control certain behaviors, such as incessant barking. A citronella collar that is designed to control pet behaviors works by emitting a spray when the pet exhibits the behavior, such as barking. Soon, the pet will learn to stop the behavior when they realize it leads to the reaction of the collar.

As a method of behavioral training, the effectiveness of citronella collars is comparable to, if not more so, collars that utilize shock therapy to modify pet behavior. Because of its humane way of training pets, citronella collars are very popular for pet owners.

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