It’s hard to believe we’re talking about mosquito repellant, but warm weather is just around the corner! The days are already getting longer, and soon the swarms of bugs will arriving as well. Though they are practically microscopic, mosquitoes can ruin a good time outside in a matter of minutes. Whether you’re trying to enjoy a quiet picnic with the spouse or an outdoor summer wedding reception with hundreds of guests, these tiny pests can make the whole thing miserable. Constantly swatting at your bare arms and legs isn’t even enough, as you’ll always go home with more bites than you expected. Then the incessant itching lasts for days and serves as a reminder of your failure to smack every last one.
Mosquito repellents can be effective, but they contain potentially harmful chemicals such as DEET. If you’re trying to live a healthy, natural lifestyle, these insect repellents should be avoided for their high chemical concentration. Luckily, there are ways to naturally repel mosquitoes without chemicals. Of course, some of these solutions will work in certain situations where others will not, but next time you’re going to be outdoors for a long time, you should consider trying one of the following.
Stay Close to Fans
Using fans to deter mosquitoes is actually the most effective form of repellent because it works in multiple ways. If you’ve ever watched a mosquito clumsily navigate the air around the porch, it’s no secret that they’re horrible fliers. Unlike zippy bees or steadfast beetles, mosquitoes have trouble flying in a straight line. For that reason, situating yourself near a fan can help prevent mosquito attacks. They might see you from a distance, but even a light breeze from a fan will make it nearly impossible for them to reach their targeted landing zone. If you’re relaxing on a porch with a ceiling fan, sit directly under it to repel the pests. You should also consider bringing a standing fan out to the porch if you and a few guests will be sharing a meal outside. The fan doesn’t need to be blasting in everyone’s face to be effective. Even a subtle breeze will help.
The subtle breeze will also work to disperse the carbon dioxide from everyone’s breath, which mosquitoes are attracted to. Dispersing this carbon dioxide will make your group of friends, wedding party, or even just yourself less attractive to the mosquitoes, and they won’t be able to sense your location from a distance.
Finally, fans also help keep everyone cool so that they sweat less, which is another scent that mosquitos are attracted to. The bugs won’t be able to sense the delicious scent of sweat from a distance if people are barely sweating. A simple house fan can work wonders to repel mosquitoes, so this should be your first line of defense.
Light Candles and Torches
Tiki torches around a patio on a warm summer night are not only beautiful, but they’re also effective in keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Lighting torches or candles around your yard or outdoor event will cause smoke to build up, and mosquitoes try to avoid it. Of course, you won’t want to be surrounded in a thick cloud of smoke, so you should try lining the perimeter of the area. If possible, you should also try turning your nighttime patio hangouts into bonfires. Bonfires are a fun social activity, and very few mosquitoes will be lurking and taunting your guests.
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Eliminate Standing Water
Instead of trying to keep the mosquitoes away when they’ve already surrounded your property, you should try making your entire property less attractive by eliminating all standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so keeping any on your property is asking for trouble. There are a few tricks you can try to eliminate standing water when you might not even realize it’s there.
First, make sure you clean out your gutters frequently. If leaves and debris have built up in the gutter, pools of water could sit there for weeks. While you might not even realize it, there could be a mosquito breeding ground right above your head.
Next, make sure the spouts from these gutters are dispersing water. If you have puddles or containers that catch the water after it drains, mosquitoes have probably already made these their happy homes at one point or another. Make sure you buy the proper piping to disperse the water and eliminate puddles.
Turn over all artificial containers after you’re finished using them. If you have a kiddie pool, dump it out as soon as your child is done using it, and then turn it upside down so that it doesn’t catch any rainwater. You should do the same with wheelbarrows and gardening buckets.
Finally, ornamental ponds are beautiful, but they’re obviously a dream home for mosquitoes. The water in these ponds sits for years at a time with little movement, so the breeding area will be largely undisrupted. If you really want a pond, stock it with fish so that the mosquitoes will be eaten. Otherwise, if you’re hesitant to use bug spray but spend a lot of time outside, plant some nice trees and pass on the pond.
Essential oils are a non-toxic and safe alternative to the chemicals in bug spray, and there are countless options as to which scent you might prefer. The essential oils that can work as a bug spray are the same ones that are used in aromatherapy. They are concentrated and aromatic oils that are made from plant compounds. You can purchase premade insect repellents that are made from these oils, or you can even make your own solutions. There are several effective and easily available oils you can use.
- Eucalyptus is the most effective essential oil for repelling insects, and one species of the plant is as effective as low concentrations of DEET. Eucalyptus citriodora, more commonly known as lemon eucalyptus, can be sprayed in moderation on the skin or clothes to effectively repel mosquitoes.
- Citronella is a popular form of insect repellent, and most people burn citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away. While the smell is generally unmoving to humans, mosquitoes can’t stand it, so they’ll steer clear. Burning a citronella candle works in two ways, since the smoke will also help.
- Clove oil as a mosquito repellent lasts a lot longer than other essential oils. While you might need to reapply other essential oils to your clothes or skin as the scent wears away, clove works for two hours or more.
These are only three of many essential oils that can work well as natural mosquito repellents. You should experiment with a few to find out which works best and also has the least abrasive scent to you. Just make sure to use caution when applying these oils to your skin and do research to find out which are safe. Some might need to be combined with a carrier oil before they are handled.
To avoid the potentially harmful and toxic chemicals contained in commercial bug sprays, you should try repelling mosquitoes naturally. You’ll be protecting your family and friends from unnecessary chemicals, protecting the environment from chemical pollution, and protecting everyone around you from painful, itchy mosquito bites. These options are healthier and in many cases cheaper than buying insect repellent. Experiment with different methods of repellent to find which works best for you and your family in every situation.
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