Help Keep Insects Far Away From Your Campsite With This Pantry Staple – Islands

March 24, 2024 | by

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that vanilla works to keep mosquitoes away from you, and some experts have theorized that a strong smell like vanilla may be able to disguise the natural body scents that attract the bugs to bite you, scientific studies don’t support that idea. As reported by the Wisconsin Mosquitoes and Mosquito-Borne Diseases, there’s no evidence that vanilla alone does anything to repel mosquitoes. However – it might be able to make other repellents last longer.


Vanillin is the component of vanilla that makes it smell (and taste!) like the popular flavor. By itself, vanillin doesn’t repel mosquitoes. However, for decades, scientists have known that vanillin can also be used to make other mosquito repellents last longer and work better. One 1975 study published in Mosquito News found that combining vanillin and DEET in equal amounts created a repellent that lasted a staggering 95% longer than just DEET on its own. The amount of time the DEET stayed effective increased the more vanillin was added. In 2001, a study published by the Journal of Vector Ecology found that even less effective repellents were more powerful when combined with vanillin.


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