While mosquitoes have a role to play in the circle of life, serving as a food source to many other insects, birds and even fish, to us personally, they are quite the irritation.
Female mosquitoes need protein for their eggs and a blood meal in order to reproduce, and that is why we become their main course. And while they can find us due to heat and scent, the number one mosquito attractor is carbon dioxide – and we all gotta breathe. Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from up to 50 meters away, and once the female smells the CO2 plume she flies back and forth through the vicinity to locate the source.
So how do you avoid mosquitoes without the use of potentially harmful chemicals? I mean, it’s not like you can just stop breathing.
Here, we have outlined 5 ways to keep mosquitoes at bay, naturally.
Clothing. In shaded areas and at dawn or dusk, wear light-coloured, light-weight clothing including long pants, long sleeves and socks to prevent bites from reaching your skin.
Citronella candles. The citronella plant is commonly used in commercial mosquito repellents because of its effectiveness. Lighting citronella candles in outdoor areas will offer a scent that is pleasant to you but off-putting to mosquitoes.
Lavender. Not only is lavender easy to grow and provides us with beautiful, fragrant flowers, this wonderful plant is loathed by mosquitoes. Keep potted lavender around seating areas and grow it in your garden to ward them off or use its essential oil in a mixture of water and apply directly to the skin.
Lemon balm. This herb is known to repel bugs, especially mosquitoes. Rub it over your skin or throw some into the campfire to keep pests away. It is found naturally in the wild but can also be purchased at your local garden center.
Rosemary. Rosemary’s essential oil is a natural mosquito repellent. Similar to lavender, keep fresh rosemary growing around your home and make your own skin-friendly repellent by mixing 4 drops of rosemary essential oil with ¼ cup olive oil and store in a cool, dry place. Apply over your skin as needed.
Remember that natural, topical repellents don’t offer the longer lasting effects of their chemical counterparts and will need to be applied more frequently – approximately every 2 hours compared with every 4-6 hours. If some highly motivated mosquitoes do manage to get a few bites in, soothe your skin with Nature’s Aid all natural skin gel. The Tea Tree, Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera work to reduce the itch and irritation while calming any swelling and redness.