Summer is without a doubt many people’s favorite time and for obvious reasons. However, with summer there comes mosquitoes, and the itchy agony of getting bitten by them! The bite of a mosquito can also cause health problems too. West Nile virus has been a particular problem in recent years – an unpleasant virus with symptoms that include anything from flu-like aches to deadly encephalitis. Store-bought repellents containing ingredients such as DEET (Diethyltoluamide) are very effective at repelling bugs, but they are also full of chemicals which have been linked to serious health problems in both adults and children. The good news is, insects are also repelled by natural methods, without using noxious substances. Read on for a complete explanation of these methods and how they could help you stay bite-free all summer.
#1 Check around your property for any standing water – even tiny amounts
Have a look round your property for any sources of standing water – make sure you look carefully. A female mosquito only requires tiny amounts of water to lay her eggs in – even a bottle cap full of rainwater is enough. Drains that aren’t working properly are a habitat that mosquitoes find ideal, so make sure all of your drains are flowing freely. Even pet bowls are a source of standing water for mosquitoes to breed in, so move them inside.
#2 Destroy habitats favorable to mosquitoes
Look around your property for any loose piles of dry leaves or vegetation and keep them clear as these are also an ideal breeding ground. If there are any places where water collects after rain, consider using bark chips to keep it absorbed. Keep grass and weeds trimmed as mosquitoes love to hide out in overgrown vegetation.
#3 Plant lemongrass, lavender, basil and rosemary around doors and windows.
Mosquitoes hate the smell of certain plants and herbs – even if you don’t have a garden, most of these are ideal for growing in a pot or container near doors and windows. These also are also ideal ingredients for any home-made remedies you wish to make yourself to keep mosquitoes away, such as candles or sprays. If you are having a barbeque or outdoor event, a couple of sprigs of rosemary placed on the hot coals will keep any unwanted flying guests away!
#4 Soak ribbons in tea tree oil and stick them around your window frames and doors
Mosquitoes and other flying insects hate the smell of tea tree oil, so soak ribbons of any material in it, and stick them around your windows and doors to discourage them from entering. If you don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, use lavender instead.
#5 Use fans around the area where you are sitting
Mosquitoes are very weak flyers and even the draft of a fan on low setting is enough to keep them away. Set up a couple of fans to create a perimeter of moving air around the area where you are sitting to keep the pesky little creatures away.
#6 Create some home-made natural citronella candles
Mosquitoes aren’t the only flying insect that hates the smell of citronella – it puts off other bugs too because of it’s strong smell. These easy to make candles will keep them at bay so you can enjoy your evening.
½ pound raw, settled beeswax
Pan of boiling water and metal bowl (to act as a double boiler)
Ready-made tea light wicks (available from arts and crafts stores)
10 holders for candles (dessert glasses make pretty holders for dinner parties)
Wooden chopsticks or similar (to stir mixture)
Using the knife, break the beeswax into small pieces that will easily melt. Place them in the metal bowl over the pan of hot water and stir thoroughly while it is melting. Use your thermometer to keep testing the temperature, and when it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, start adding the essential oils of your choice. Add several drops of each of your chosen oils, stirring thoroughly all the time. Beeswax has quite a strong, distinctive smell of its own so don’t be afraid to add more oil if you think it’s required. Start pouring the mixture into your holders – if you have decided to use glass, pour in a little bit of wax and allow it to cool before adding the rest. This will reduce the chances of the glass shattering. Once you have filled your holders and the mixture has cooled (look out for a slight skin forming on the top of the wax), you need to add wicks. If the wicks you are using are not pre,-dipped in wax (“primed”), you will need to do this yourself, as it ensures the candles burn for a lot longer. Place the primed wick into the wax. Your candles will be ready to use once all the wax has hardened.
#7 Avoid perfume and strong smelling shampoos
The strong, artificial smell of perfumes and shampoo attracts mosquitoes so try not to use them. Fabric conditioners and strong smelling sunscreens will also attract them – try to wear as little artificial scent as possible.
#8 Use baby oil on your skin as often as possible
Mosquitoes hate the smell of baby oil, and they also find it much more difficult to bite as when your skin is covered in oil, it’s harder for them to find an area to alight and bite. Make sure your skin is slathered in it in the evenings, a favorite time of day for mosquitoes. Be careful if using baby oil on your skin during the day, it can cause sunburn in direct light.
#9 Use a home-made mosquito-repelling body spritz
There are several recipes and lots of different ingredients you can use to create your own natural, refreshing and skin-kindrepellent spray. The only equipment you will need is an 8 oz. spray bottle for application.
4 oz. distilled water
4oz. witch hazel
Essential oils – choose from:
8oz. spray bottle
Combine the distilled water and witch hazel in the spray bottle and shake thoroughly. Add the essential oil, the more you use the stronger the spray will be. Use around 15 drops of each scent, or if you are only using one for scent use at least 30 drops. Shake the bottle thoroughly and you will have an inexpensive spray that repels mosquitoes, not other humans! Ensure when you are buying oil to put on your skin, the label must say it is safe to use on skin.
#10 Take garlic capsules
It is thought that mosquitoes are repelled by the smell of garlic; try taking odorless garlic capsules for a few weeks to see if this has any effect. The smell exuded through your sweat shouldn’t be detectable to other humans, however it should be enough to keep mosquitoes at bay. If you don’t mind a strong smell in your garden, you can buy a garlic spray.
#11 Be aware of the time of day and the clothes you’re wearing
The mosquito’s favorite time of day is early in the morning and after dusk . This is when they are most active and you have a much higher chance of getting bitten. If you are outdoors at these times, make sure you are as covered with clothing as possible.They are also strongly attracted to dark clothing, so wear light colors as often as possible.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a bite-free summer! A big difference will be made to the mosquito population on your property by making sure the habitat is as unfriendly to them as possible, thereby discouraging them from laying eggs. You will see far greater effects by doing this than by simply attempting to repel them.