I went about writing this article as if I were researching tick and mosquito abatement I would consider doing myself. For something I would buy myself, it has to be non-toxic, and because I am well-read in the green field, a relatively sophisticated product in terms of understanding of the science, and one that is green. I have a vested interest in this because I have just fallen in love with gardening and we live in one of the East Coast’s tick epicenters. What can I do to keep them out of the garden so that I can comfortably weed? What would I do for mosquitoes if I were to have an outdoor party?
In researching tick repellents for a retreat center a number of years ago, I came across the research that carbon dioxide attracts ticks like no other, and mosquitoes, too. At that time there were no contraptions on the market to establish carbon dioxide and catch ticks. At the time, if you can believe it, I bought dry ice, put it in Styrofoam ice chests (not too eco-friendly, sorry), and caught ticks in there with masking tape!
How wonderful that the product world has caught up to the science about what an attractant carbon dioxide is for ticks and mosquitoes, to make products for us that don’t require a DIY contraption. In looking around the Internet I’ve found a few that I like, both because they don’t use propane, the commonly used method of creating carbon dioxide in these types of pest control products. You can read more about H-man at a distributor site, and buy an H-man, here. There is also another type of propane-free CO2 pest trap called an Eco Trap.
I am also considering doing a non-toxic garlic juice spray on my lawn and garden a few times a year. Ticks are such a huge problem for my environment, and I have had a few serious cases of Lyme disease to prove it. The garlic spray will also repel mosquitoes because, apparently, they simply hate garlic. For more detailed information about safe mosquito control and guidelines, read my Safe Mosquito Control.
For a small gathering outside with friends, I’ll use beeswax candles with citronella. I’ve written about citronella candles recently, in Green Touch for the Tiki Torch.
You can also easily custom make your own insect repellents.
Annie B. Bond is the author of four books on green living.