Mosquitoes are the worst. These disease-bearing blood-suckers show up on the scene at the most inopportune times: cool summer nights hanging outdoors with your buds, on Saturday morning when you’re moving the lawn, or during a peaceful hike. Mosquitoes prefer certain blood types more than others. If you happen to be the type that’s most attractive to these awful insects, you’re probably looking for some natural ways to save yourself from skin bumps and itching. Here are some of the best ways we’ve ever tried.
If you’re looking for a mosquito-free house or yard, you’ve got to bring some herbs into the mix. Many herbs (such as lavender, rosemary, mint/catnip) repel mosquitoes naturally. However, no herb is so effective at this task as citronella. Citronella oil is the primary ingredient in many store-bought bug sprays. However, you can go to the source for localized protection around your home/yard/deck. Citronella grows well in containers, and is sun tolerant, thus thriving at the hottest points in the year when mosquitoes are most active. Buy several citronella plants and space them out, 1 per 100 square feet, in any outdoor area where you’ll be spending time. If you have strong, mature citronella plants, you may be shocked at how effective they are.
Another natural way to keep mosquitoes away from your outdoor hangout is to use fans. Mosquitoes are tiny, weighing between 2.5 and 10 milligrams. As such, any wind at all will send these bugs spinning into the distance. So, if you’re sitting outside and mosquitoes are pestering you, a simple box fan on low speed may be enough to send them flying, if strategically placed. This method is especially good for people who don’t want to put chemicals (even natural ones) on their skin.
Use Herbal Oils
Living green herbs like rosemary and citronella may be effective against mosquitoes, but these herbal solutions may not be useful when you’re on the go. Of course, you could carry along some herb cuttings in your backpack, socks, or sleeves during a hike, but you’ll find it’s slightly less cumbersome to use oils. Essential oils from rosemary, mint, catnip, and (especially) citronella will give you much the same results from the mature plants, without requiring you to carry a huge potted rosemary on your next outdoor excursion.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Now it’s time to go to the source of your problem. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and the resulting larvae start out as aquatic wrigglers before maturing into flying insects. Mosquito larvae love still, warm water with lots of organic material. Therefore, you’re sure to find them in dirty, standing water, especially when it’s warm outside. You might have seen these wiggly swimmers in rainwater sitting in an old bucket outside, in a puddle beside the road, or in runoff collecting in a poorly drained part of your yard.
It’s up to you to eliminate these mosquito breeding waters. Do so by improving drainage around your property, upsetting water sitting in objects left outdoors, and by treating and covering ponds and pools. You may not be able to get rid of all standing water in the periphery of your home, but making even small changes to the immediate area where you spend time outdoors, you should note a reduction in the mosquitoes bothering you and your friends.
Mosquitoes don’t have to ruin your days this summer. Use the above tactics to outsmart them, shoo them away, and keep them from developing in the first place. We wish you a happy summer with very few itchy bites!