Old Wives Tales: Will Eating Garlic Repel Mosquitoes?

By Tatiana Tobar-Darzi R.
Tatiana Tobar-Darzi R.
Tatiana Tobar-Darzi R.
September 18, 2015 Updated: September 18, 2015

According to lore, vampires cannot stand the scent of garlic. By this logic some people believe that eating garlic will repel the vampires of the insect world—mosquitoes.

However, while garlic is certainly a boon to your health in many ways, research has not shown it to keep you bite-free.

A double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology found that whether participants ate garlic or a placebo before exposing themselves to hungry mosquitos did not seem to matter to the bugs at all. 

And if you don’t like mosquito bites, watch how much you drink because a few beers may make your blood tastier to mosquitos. A 13-participant study in the journal of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) found that “mosquito landing on volunteers significantly increased after beer ingestion compared with before ingestion.”

Retired U.S. Navy entomologist and AMCA spokesman, Joseph M. Conlon, told ABC News that garlic could possibly help you ward off mosquitos if applied topically.

“If you take garlic and squeeze it on your skin, that portion of your skin will be repellent to mosquitoes for about 20 to 40 minutes.”

However, with this approach you might repel your friends too. So if you wish to drive these little pests away with natural products but keep your relationships, give essential oil-based repellents or citronella candles a try.

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