Summer is (almost)here, along with all of those pesky critters that seem to have been hibernating over the winter– ncluding my least favorite, the mosquito.
This year, I went on a hunt for a natural remedy that is less toxic and harsh than store-bought bug spray that usually includes DEET (http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/1006.asp). There are so many great remedies out there (some that I already knew about), and others that I am definitely going to try see which ones work for me.
Here are the top 9 ways I’ve found to keep from getting eaten this summer:
1. Know where they are. You may notice that there are a lot more mosquitoes around water. Lakes, pools, ponds, and any place there is standing water will attract the pests. If you know you are going to be around water, be sure to plan ahead and carry your natural repellant with you.
2. Don’t smell too good. Mosquitoes are attracted to floral and sweet smells, like perfume and body lotion. Reducing these as much as you can may help lessen your attractiveness to them.
3. Spritz yourself with vanilla. Simply dilute pure vanilla extract in water and spray it on.
4. Wear light clothing. Mosquitoes are drawn to darker clothing and colors. Wearing light colored clothing can be your first line of defense against these insects.
5. Make a garlic paste. This is not something I can see people doing everyday, but it is definitely great for repelling those little critters. Make a paste with garlic powder and water and apply to pulse points, behind the knees, on shoes and ankles, and a bit on your cheeks or somewhere on your face and neck. (Keep it out of your eyes, it will sting!) You can also spray garlic powder and water around your yard and bushes for an extra preventative measure. (Rumor has it it will also keep away unwanted vampires.)
6. Dab on a little Eau de Vinegar: If you don’t mind the smell of vinegar (and neither do those around you), dabbing on a little vinegar is a great way to repel mosquitoes. Put a little bit on exposed areas, or dilute with water and use as a spray. Many people swear by this one!
7. Use essential oils. Citronella, lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, tansy, basil, thyme, cedar, tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass will all help keep the mosquitoes at bay. Mix with rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or water, (just one or any combination), shake well, and spritz on your body. You can also add a few drops to baby oil or olive oil and rub onto your skin, avoiding the mouth and eye areas.
8. Eat up! Certain foods we eat are rumored to repel the bugs. B1 vitamins, brewers yeast, lemon and, of course, garlic have all been thought to deter mosquitoes because of the smell that comes out of your pores after eating them.
9. Exercise your green thumb. Potted plants, such as lemon thyme, citronella, lavender, basil, catnip, pennyroyal, tansy, and marigolds, will help keep mosquitoes out of your yard. Place them around your porch or patio, and when you need a little more protection, break off a leaf and rub it on your clothes and skin. You can also infuse the leaves in water and use as a spray.
Everyone has a different body chemistry that may make different methods work better than others. Try them out and let us know which of these natural remedies worked for you!