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Catnip may not be just for Felines – It may also be Effective in Repelling Mosquitos from Humans

When the topic of mosquitoes comes up most of have just about the same response: No thank you! That’s why we’re excited to talk about a new summer mosquito repellant hack. New research suggests there may be a natural and quite effective mosquito repellent you probably haven’t heard about.

This all-natural and easily accessible repellant is: Catnip!

It’s true! Your feline’s favorite feel-good herb just might be the trick have you feeling better this summer too!

Does Catnip Repel Mosquitoes?

According to a Science News article published in March 2021, Catnip (Nepeta cataria) contains an active component called nepetalactone. This active ingredient is an irritant to certain chemical receptors found in many living beings – from flatworms to humans. The irritant is mild (it can cause a brief cough now and again in humans), but it causes a strong reaction in insects – especially mosquitos!

How Does Catnip Work ?

But let’s back up a moment, how does Catnip actually inspire excited behavior in cats? Catnip is and herb that is a member of the mint family that is often found in cat toys and treats due to its calming and – sometime somewhat exciting – effect on cats.

One informative article in Scientific American explains a bit more about how catnip works. Nepetalactone (one of the oils in catnip) binds to protein receptors in a cat’s nasal tissue. This causes neurons in the cat’s olfactory bulb to send signals to the brain.

Specifically, it signals the emotional part of the cat brain, the hypothalamus (or “master gland”) which regulates “everything from hunger to emotions.” The cat’s brain can interpret these messages as a “sexual response” so the cat is “reacting to an artificial cat pheromone” – hence, the strange almost “high” behavior you may witness in your cat when exposed to catnip.

The article goes on to reassure readers that “catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and completely harmless to cats” so don’t worry about your feline friend experiencing dangerous or addictive symptoms. The same article notes that as humans we don’t experience the same response to catnip since our brains are physiologically much different from feline brains. 

The only way catnip may make humans excited is in its ability to repel summer’s mosquitoes!

To use catnip as a human mosquito repellant, some suggest tucking a sprig of catnip into a hat or inside the collar of a shirt. Others say a more effective method is to try various oils or infusions made from catnip. Whatever method you choose, your cat is bound to be a big fan so be prepared for a little excitement.

Other good news: catnip won’t only prevent mosquitoes from biting, there’s evidence it may dissuade house flies, fruit flies and other insects from hanging the house as well!

If you decide to grow your own catnip at home, it’s best to keep it in its own separate pot – away from other plants – as it is a weed-like plant and as such it may spread prolifically.

Brookside Barkery and Bath offers several fun catnip treats and toys your feline is bound to enjoy. And who knows – maybe a catnip toy around the house will help keep the mosquitos of summer away!

Want to learn more? Drop on by either Barkery location, we’d love to answer any questions you might have! Or click here to shop online !