While most of us love Summer and the evenings outside, mosquitoes are an unfortunate by-product of such balmy weather. If you are one of the unlucky ones, that feature on the nocturnal insect buffet, read on. We have some ideas to not only keep them at bay but also treat those pesky bites.
Hide in plain sight
Some say, if you wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and shoes at dusk, the bloodthirsty insects may seek a meal elsewhere. Of course, you can camouflage yourself with some bug repellant spray too, but it’s probably wise to steer clear of the chemical kind. Luckily nature offers an array of herbs that act as natural repellents.
Why do the parasites prefer some people over others? Research shows that they prefer certain blood types (type O is a firm favorite) and enjoy carbon dioxide. Thus, larger people, who exhale more CO2, are preferred. That's why kids generally have fewer bites than adults. They prefer hot, sweaty bodies and they love alcohol – so there goes the gin myth. Be that as it may – about 20% of the population are more likely to fall prey to mosquitoes.
Plant a garden to attract their enemies
As much as one can plant to attract butterflies, there is value in inviting frogs, dragonflies, and bats into your garden. They feed on mosquitoes and their larvae – a surefire way to reduce the population without any chemicals.
Add some natural repellents to your patio garden
Apart from using essential oils as a natural insect repellant, you can plant herbs such as lavender, eucalyptus, anise, mint, catnip, geranium and rosemary (to name but a few) to help keep the pests at bay. If you plant them in pots, you can move the herbs to where you will be: on the verandah or next to the firepit. A few sprigs of the right herbs in your fire will also help keep the creepy crawlies away. Not only will you be able to enjoy dusk without any bites, but you will also add some welcome aromas to your environment. Of course, with your own supply of herbs, you can start a mini natural pharmacy too.
With a little google research, one can find various homemade bug spray options – all natural and safe to use on children and pets too. Below is one of our favorite recipes.
- Take a glass jar or spray bottle
- Add distilled water until your bottle is half-full
- Fill it to the top with witch hazel
- Add 30-50 drops of the essential oils of your choice (more than one oil will be more effective) you can use Lemongrass, Cajeput, Tea Tree, Citronella, Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, Clove, Cedar, Eucalyptus or catnip.
Beat the itch
What to do when you feel that itch that tells you that you have been the victim of a female mosquito? Yes, only the females drink human blood, but both males and females rely on nectar and other fruit sugars for food– you see our blood is only needed as a source of protein for the eggs. Don’t scratch: that will only make it worse – instead, rub some lavender oil, aloe or vinegar on the itchy bit of skin. As a last resort, you can consider antihistamine to calm your allergic reaction to the bite.Armed with all this knowledge it is time to plan and host your next outside party. Can you picture it? Kids playing on the grass, adults sitting in the twilight enjoying a sundowner. Followed by a barbecue and marshmallow roasting – everyone will retire happily.