So it’s summer, and the insects are out in full swing – and that includes those pesky mosquitoes! Man, I hate those things! I know when you go out early in the morning or in the evening to do your gardening, watering, what-have-you, because you’re trying to beat the heat – THAT’S when those little buggers are most active! Guess you can’t win – you’re either hot or bitten, take your pick!
I know there are plenty of insect repellents on the market, but most of them seem kinda “iffy” as far as the chemicals they are using. I hate when they leave you smelling so unpleasant and feeling greasy. If you don’t shower right away the smell can get on your furniture or bed clothes . . . yuck! Here are a few ideas that I ran across at Re-nest to keep the mosquitoes away:
1. Make friends with bats. Some bat species can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour! You can attract these beneficial bug eaters by installing a bat house in your yard. Visit Bat Conservation International for installation advice and to buy a shelter or get plans to build your own.
2. Grow catnip (and other plants). Plant some catnip (Nepeta cataria) in your garden; not only will it repel mosquitoes, but you’ll get some pretty flowers, too. Other mosquito-repelling plants include rosemary, marigolds, citronella grass, and lemon balm.
3. Light a candle. If you’re averse or allergic to citronella, or want something more beautiful (and, yes, more expensive) than the typical citronella candle bucket, you might like these mosquito repellent candles from Hillhouse Naturals. Made with soy and ingredients like eucalyptus, lemongrass, and mint, they come in concrete containers that can be reused as planters.
4. Buy a natural bug repellent. Conventional repellents contain the chemical DEET, which may be toxic and harmful to the environment. We’ve had good luck with the plant-based Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. For more alternatives, see the Daily Green’s list of 7 Natural Insect Repellents.
5. Or blend your own. For a DIY mosquito repellent, you’ll need essential oil and something to mix it with, like vodka, olive oil, or witch hazel. For best results, combine a few different essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus, citronella, cinnamon, cedarwood, and juniper.
They have a recipe at Mother Earth News if you feel like making your own repellent:
Herbal Insect Repellent
2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary (available at health food stores)
1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)
Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.
Experiment a little to find which essential oils work best with your body chemistry. If you’re lucky, you also will like the way they smell; otherwise, add a few drops of peppermint oil to fine-tune the fragrance.
And if you’re feeling REALLY inspired and crafty here’s a recipe from Positively Splendid, via Tip Nut so you can make your own repellent candles (click on the image to go directly to the tutorial!)Good luck – I hope this helps keep you bite free this summer!