Being a tropical country, India’s climate has made it possible for you and me to enjoy the king of fruits, Mangoes. But the same climate has given us our biggest curse – Mosquitoes.
Considering the prominence of mosquitoes in India, further aggravated due to the naturally accumulated water bodies which become breeding grounds for these insects, it is not surprising that Malaria and Dengue (both mosquito-borne diseases) cases are a perennial concern in India.
When I was a child, I never understood why Nana Patekar was so intensely venting his frustration against a single mosquito in his famous monologue. Probably it had to do with the fact that my mother had kept me well protected from these little bloodsuckers.
As I moved out of the comforts of home for higher education, I got well acquainted with these little bloodsuckers. Summer months were when one experienced the full power of these persistent mosquitoes who would just let you sleep a wink. In fact, as I am writing this post, the hands are typing away, but the legs are occupied in either shooing away the mosquitoes or scratching the itch. It seems like mosquitoes or who knows it is just one mosquito which is enough to make it feel like it’s an army under my table.
That brings me to the question you all must be wondering, so what do we know about these damn Mosquitoes?
Especially since mosquito coil fumes are said to be harmful, which pushed me into researching other alternatives. I spent two days of the last week on some mindless Google research and came across “Mosquito Incense Sticks” also known as “Mosquito Agarbattis” in India. Battling with this incessant problem, I immediately went to the nearby store and got one for myself.
I discovered that incense sticks or mosquito agarbattis are a good alternative to mosquito coils as they have ingredients that are naturally occurring, such as citronella, rosemary, peppermint, and lemongrass. All these ingredients are known to us as natural home remedies for killing mosquitoes.
Believe me when I say, now it is just my legs which are occupied with these mosquitoes coz before these incense sticks, all my limbs were occupied in the war against mosquitoes.
Ingredients of a Mosquito Incense Stick?
But yes, before I wrote this article, I wanted to be thoroughly sure of these incense sticks and these ingredients and hence continued my research. At the end of it, I can say that these ingredients are natural extracts from citronella, rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, neem, and lemongrass. In fact, most of the repellent incense sticks are plant-based and DEET-free.
Some may contain chemicals, and there have been reports that the smoke emitting from incense sticks made from chemicals may cause Lung Cancer. Hence it is best to read the ingredients before paying up at the counter.
When are they Ineffective? When are they effective?
Most of the manufacturers recommend lighting these sticks outdoors and have also advised to keep them away from children and pregnant women. These sticks are said to be unsafe when used for prolonged periods of time.
Lighting these sticks outdoors is the best solution for adventure campers who would normally slather themselves with mosquito repellants. But the winds outdoors may not make incense sticks a viable option.
How to make natural mosquito repellent incense sticks?
In case you don’t trust the ones which are manufactured in bulk and are DIYer, you would be glad to know that one can make an all-natural mosquito repellent at home itself. One of those many sites is this brilliant article that I came across. Give it a read and self-assess whether you’d make one or purchase it from your local store.
Advice to our readers
- The first thing to remember is to read and follow the entire label instructions on whichever packet of incense sticks you buy
- Avoid lighting them in a closed room
- Avoid lighting them in the presence of a pregnant woman or children
Going back to the incense sticks that I bought, I am just about to light one again for the evening as they have worked wonderfully well for me. If you are seeking a natural plant-based alternative to chemical-induced coils you can check out a few products here. And also check out our article on natural repellant plants for mosquitoes.
Cheers to keeping those pesky and vicious mosquitoes outside your door just like uninvited guests!