Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

It's that time again...

Mosquito season.

When I lived in the desert southwest I didn't really have much of a problem with mosquitoes.  To avoid most mosquito bites, all I had to do was stay inside at dusk and dawn.  Dawn was easy.  I simply slept through it.  Dusk could be avoided, as well, since it really didn't last very long before the sun would set and the city was plunged into darkness.

Here, though, it's a different story.  Since the climate is much cooler, mosquitoes seem perfectly happy to stay outside all day long.  This does not make me a happy woman.  I spend a lot of time outside, so naturally, I have large, angry bumps all over my body.  Mosquitoes really love me.

While I plan to create a small fountain/pond to attract dragonflies, since they're the mosquitoes' most aggressive enemy, I have to admit that I haven't done much in that regard, yet.  I'm sure the mosquitoes are very happy about this.

Clearly, I need a Plan B.

So how about a natural repellent?  The stuff I've bought at the store, to be honest, has done a much better job at repelling me than repelling mosquitoes.  The strong smell drives me nuts and causes a great deal of coughing and sneezing.  There are limits, I think, to what a person should go through to keep mosquitoes at bay.

So I hit the web.  I imagined there had to be something that would work.  The idea actually came from a friend of mine that posted a homemade mosquito repellent on her Facebook wall.  I didn't have either the essential oil or carrier oil in question, so I couldn't use that one, but what if there was something else I could use?

Indeed, there were a few different essential oils that seemed to be mentioned by just about everyone "in the know."  The following were common to just about every site I went to:

       Essential oils (A few drops - just enough to produce the proper scent):

          Rosemary
          Citronella
          Catnip (Possibly 10x more effective than DEFT)
          Lemon Oil
          Eucalyptus

Whichever essential oil is chosen, it needs to be mixed into a carrier oil or alcohol.  This can be aloe vera gel, witch hazel, coconut oil, grain alcohol, or even basic water.  Whether you use it as a spray or as a gel/cream really depends on which carrier you choose to use (in my case, whichever is actually laying around the house). I've also seen it mentioned that any cooking oil can be used, but based on my own experience with trying to use olive oil as a carrier, I wouldn't recommend it.  I was a very greasy lady for a few hours!

Naturally, I didn't have any of the essential oils that are most mentioned.  Figures, right?  But then I remembered that when I went through my 10 minutes of panic, thinking that I might have scabies (yeah, I know... crazy) I had discovered that tea tree oil repels biting insects, and even acts as a pesticide.  Soooo....


I'm trying it.

I checked it out, and it appears that tea tree oil does repel mosquitoes.  I also discovered that mint does the same thing, which makes sense, considering I never seem to see mosquitoes on the front porch where I planted different mint varieties.

I have aloe vera gel that I bought after my daughter got a rather nasty sunburn upon our return to our old home in the desert southwest, and it has a bit of mint extract in it. That would work as a very nice carrier, indeed.  Obviously, I won't be using a spray bottle for this repellent.  The aloe will give it a rather gooey consistency.

Here goes nothing!  I'll be sure to give you a short update once I'm convinced it worked... or didn't.  Only time will tell!
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2 comments:

BeezeyD said...

Hi, Did the tea tree oil work? I hope so!

Rebecca Foster said...

Sadly, I wasn't able to come to a proper conclusion on that. I can, however, tell you that aloe vera is a very bad carrier choice! The tea tree oil *seemed* to work... when moist... but once the aloe I mixed it with dried (after around 3-5 minutes), mosquitoes dove at me.

It was a great lesson in endurance!

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