Let’s face it; bugs are just a part of summer. Some bugs such as gnats and flies are mostly just annoying, but some insects are downright dangerous. Mosquitoes have always been an aggravation. The buzzing, the biting and the itching are enough to send the bravest outdoorsmen back into the safety of the house. But these little guys are capable of lot more than just getting on our nerves.
Mosquitoes can carry malaria, yellow fever and most recently discovered, West Nile Virus. It is also alarming to note, that our pets are actually more susceptible to become sick from a mosquito bite than we are. Facts like those will certainly put a damper on your outdoor, summer plans. But when you read the ingredients and possible side effects of the chemicals found in most mosquito repellants, you almost wonder which would be worse on your health: West Nile Virus or DEET poisoning?
Not to worry. There are some safer more natural alternatives to the harsh chemicals this summer.
Don’t Become Bait
Understanding and avoiding things that attract mosquitos is your first line of defense. Mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing, scented lotions, perfumes and hair products. If you are going to be outdoors for a while make a point not to make yourself too appealing. Mosquitos are also attracted to standing water of any kind. Keep the areas around you home free of puddles and containers that could catch rain water. A little attention in this area goes a long way to making your yard mosquito free. If there are areas around your home that you cannot keep dry, spread cooking oil over the wet surface. This will prevent females from laying eggs, and kill any existing larva.
Citronella Really Does Work
Don’t underestimate the power of an old fashioned, citronella candle. Most people find the scent pleasant and nostalgic, but mosquitos and many other flying pests, absolutely hate the scent of citrus. Mosquito bites were reduced by 42% in areas where a citronella candle was being burned in a University of Guelph study on insect repellants. Citronella has no known ill effects on humans or pets.
Natural Repellants For Your Skin
Many of us have memories of our mother or grandmother slathering us down with slippery, old fashioned Avon Skin So Soft before being allowed outdoors. Well, there is a lot of wisdom in that, because the essential oils used in this product do in fact discourage mosquitos.
The concentrations of these essential oils in Skin So Soft may not be high enough to protect you for long periods of time outside, however. A better option is to make your own topical insect repellant by mixing any of the following essential oils with rubbing alcohol in a 10 to 1 ratio: eucalyptus, lavender, clove, lemon grass, peppermint, rosemary or tea tree oil. All of these essential oils can be purchased at herb shops. Many of these, especially lavender and lemon grass, have a lovely scent as well.
Try these natural repellants this summer so that you and your family can have all the fun and none of the itch.