Healthy Environment, Strong Communities, Accountable Government

Garlic as an Mosquito Repellent

Garlic not only tastes great in italian food, it also happens to be one of the newest and most potent weapons in Long Island's perennial war against mosquitoes. But you don't need to buy your own garlic press--it's already available as products called Mosquito Barrier or Garlic Barrier (Martha Stewart also has a brand at Kmart Stores). In a report prepared by Garlic Research Labs in Glendale, California, tests performed in eleven states found a garlic juice product to be 94% effective at repelling mosquitoes from sprayed areas. Though it is referred to as a "repellent," garlic is not meant as a personal repellent that is applied to the body. Instead it functions by repelling mosquitoes (and certain other insects) from yards where vegetation around the perimeter of the yard has been sprayed with the garlic juice. The principle behind how Garlic Barrier works, is that many insects, including mosquitoes, have very strong olfactory senses and they react negatively to (or are repelled away from) strong smells. The same concept is at play with products such as hot pepper wax which has become one of the most popular organic methods of keeping insects off house and garden plants. Homeowners, report that the garlic smell is noticeable for from several hours, up to as long as two days. However, the insects are able to detect it, and it continues to be effective, for two to four weeks.

Garlic Barrier was voluntarily registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide, although due to a change in registration rules, garlic enjoys an exemption from EPA registration requirements as one of twenty-nine pesticidal minimum risk, food-based products. For this reason, Mosquito Barrier is not registered with EPA. Municipalities on Long Island are not using garlic to repel mosquitoes from parks or schools. Meanwhile, municipalities in Connecticut and Texas have reported great success fighting mosquitoes with garlic juice.

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Advocates for Long Island's Environment