We were up in Maine this past weekend and the mosquitoes were fierce. It was difficult to go outside without getting eaten alive. Our only saving grace was when a breeze kicked in and the mosquitoes could no longer focus on our delicious ankles, arms and legs.
The first line of defense is to cover-up
It may seem counter-intuitive for the summer months, but the best way to keep the mosquitoes at bay is to cover up your skin with long sleeves, long pants and a hat. The less skin exposed the less likely you are to get numerous bites.
Over the years I’ve been on a quest to find DEET- free bug repellents and thankfully there are plenty of options. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring our Buzzawayalong on this trip so we were breakfast lunch and dinner for the Maine mosquitoes. Last night my youngest son counted over 30 bites on one leg.
In addition to DEET-free bug repellents there are a few plants which will help keep mosquitoes away.
Pot of basil
Basil is a known mosquito repellent (it’s also known to repel flies). Planting fresh basil around your outdoor eating areas is a simple way to repel those pesky mosquitoes. If there’s no time to grow your own pick up fresh basil at your local farmers market or supermarket and place it in a vase on the table. If mosquitoes are circling your head and buzzing in your ear while you are trying to catch some z’s place a vase of basil on your night table to keep the mosquito and the buzzing away.
Catnip is a natural mosquito repellent . “Catnip” is the common name for a perennial herb of the mint family. It is native to Europe and is an import to the United States and other countries. The catnip plant is now a widespread weed in North America. In August 2010, entomologists at Iowa State University reported to the American Chemical Society that catnip is ten times more effective than DEET.
To grow your own catnip you’ll need a perennial herb called Nepeta cataria, which can be found at a nursery or by purchasing the seeds online. Line your yard with catnip to ward off mosquitoes. Another option is to place catnip oil directly on your skin. Note of caution to cat owners-cats might find you irresistible.
Citronella has been a known mosquito repellent for quite some time. You can find citronella scented candles, bracelets, buckets and sprays. The scent from the citronella plant itself is your best bet in keeping the mosquitoes away since that provides the strongest protection. Citronella’s strong smell tends to mask your scent, making it harder for mosquitoes to find you.
According to eartheasy:
Citronella is a perennial ‘clumping’ grass which grows to a height of 5 – 6 feet. It can be grown directly in the ground in climate zones where frost does not occur. If grown in the garden or near the patio, it should be planted in the ‘background’, behind small decorative flowers and shrubs. In northern climate zones citronella can be grown in a large pot or planter, ideally with casters, so it can be rolled indoors during winter.
Natural remedies for bug bites
Last night my son with the 30 bites on his leg couldn’t sleep. The intense itching was keeping him awake. We ended up putting a cold washcloth on his legs in the middle of the night and he was able to fall back asleep. HERE are a few more natural bug bite remedies.
Are you a mosquito magnet like I am? How do you keep the mosquitoes away?
Stock Photo © pz.axe #2284534
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