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Monday, June 14, 2010

Natural Mosquito Repellent

It's that time of year when mosquitoes attack the moment we step outdoors.  There are a few plants that act as natural repellents for these pesky little insects.  A plant that most folks are familiar with is citronella.  The essential oil is used in lotions and candles to keep bugs at bay.  Other essential oils that may help are tea tree, sandalwood, patchouli, lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile, rosemary, eucalyptus and oregano.

To make an effective spray for both you and your pets, add essential oils in a 1:10 ratio to witch hazel.  If you make your own soap, these oils can be used to scent the bars for bathing or you can make the bars into laundry soap.

Strategic planting in areas where you spend a lot of time outdoors can create a "safe", bug free area.  Sweet fern, catnip, oregano, garlic, lemon balm, lavender, citronella, geranium, marigold,  basil, and sage.

My daughter loves to burn incense.  I've read that burning incense inside your tent will repel mosquitoes within minutes.

Bats are the natural enemy of mosquitoes and many other insects.  Installing bat houses will encourage bats to live near your yard where they will eat hundreds of bugs each night.  If you live near a street light, hang your bat house near that area because the insects will fly to the light.

Adding certain foods and supplements to your diet may also help protect you.  Vitamin B1, zinc, garlic, apple cider vinegar and oregano to name a few.

Pets are also bothered by bugs, some of which can cause infestations of worms or carry disease.  Adding apple cider vinegar to their drinking water and garlic or brewer's yeast to their food can give them an edge. 

Rubbing plants on your skin can be a good "on the spot" way to protect yourself.  Sweet fern, catnip, lemon balm, oregano work well.  I've read that vanilla extract can be rubbed on your skin but I would think the sweet smell might draw other insects.

There are a few other ways to keep the bugs away that aren't really natural but since we're not applying them to our skin, might be worth a try.  Lemon scented dish soap on a white plate will draw them in and they will drown in the soap.  Bounce dryer sheets hung in bushes or even attached to your clothing is another idea.  Avon original Skin So Soft bath oil has also been reported to repel mosquitoes.

The old standby that my husband often uses while fishing is smoking a cigar.  He's not a smoker but doesn't mind a cigar once in a while and the cloud of smoke it creates keeps the bugs away.  Probably much on the order of burning incense.

So try one of these natural ways to repel mosquitoes and get outdoors!

This post is part of the Home Remedies Carnival at Keeper of the Home.

Sharing this with Wildcrafting Wednesday #26

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