Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Summer mosquitoes can seem overwhelming. They can even drive you to heavy doses of pesticidal repellent.

Bad idea. Or might be, according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, which estimates up to 56 percent of the most common repellent used on the skin (diethylmetatoluamide or DEET) enters the bloodstream, and can remain in your system for two months. So try a few healthier options before grabbing that bottle of Off!:

Make Your Own:
Mix citronella or oil of pennyroyal with a dash of vegetable oil, or even a splash of vodka. Or cheat, and buy natural repellents that include these effective ingredients.
Soft Approach:
Avon sells a repellent without even trying. Jimmy Carter is among fans who claim a mixture of one part Skin-So-Soft bath oil and one part water keeps mosquitoes away–and makes even the rankest camper smell pretty. But Avon downplays this use: They want their bath oil associated with silky smooth skin, not insecticide.
A Fine Whine:
Also available are small, solar-operated gadgets that emit a high-pitched whine that bugs even the hungriest mosquitoes. Keep one of them on the car’s dashboard or on your beach blanket until it charges, then flip it on at dusk, and watch bugs buzz off.
Dress the Part:
For rainforesty conditions, get serious: Wear long-sleeved shirts, tuck pants into socks, don gloves and a hat, and wrap a bandanna around your neck. If you have to use a DEET product, apply sparingly, and in low concentrations (30 percent DEET for adults, 20 percent for children). Treat clothing instead of skin, but keep in mind DEET can corrode plastic, rayon, spandex, and even vinyl car seats.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate