BEAT MOSQUITOES THIS SUMMER
November 28 2014 | leanne
Common sense plus natural ways to outfox the bloodsuckers
Love the outdoors, but hate sharing your bodily fluids with mosquitoes? These tips can help avoid their itchy, annoying bites.
First, here’s some common sense tips:
- Take precautions if you’ll be outside at dawn, dusk or after dark, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks to cover as much skin as possible, and apply a repellent on any exposed skin.
- Dress in white or light-coloured clothing. Research suggests mosquitoes are attracted by dark colours.
- Avoid scented products like perfumes, fabric softeners and hairspray, which can draw mosquitoes.
- Use a mosquito coil, bug zapper and/or an electronic device to protect your campsite.
For anyone with a green thumb or who may be sensitive to commercial mozzie repellents home-grown recipes are worth a try. Garden plants known to repel mosquitoes naturally include:
- Rose-scented geraniums: these contain the insect repellents citronellal and geraniol. Some gardeners report that swishing their hands through the leaves is enough to deter mosquitoes.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), which is easy to grow from seed, contains the repellents citronellal, geraniol and geranial.
- Catnip – an essential oil – (Nepeta cataria), nepetalactone, has been found to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the active ingredient commonly used in insect repellents, according the Iowa State University.
- Another remedy to consider if nothing else is at hand is to crush handfuls of basil (Ocimum basilicum), lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus) and lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus). This mixture is said to repel mosquitoes for short periods—usually less than 30 minutes. To try these plants, just crush a handful of leaves in your hand and rub them on exposed skin. (Use any herb with caution until you know how your skin will react.)
Some people swear by home remedies like eating garlic, taking B-complex vitamins or drinking a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each day to keep mosquitoes at bay, however controlled lab studies have not proven that these measures are effective at keeping the little suckers at bay, although they may ward-off vampires.