In many places in North America, there seems to be two seasons: winter and mosquitos. Just when we want to enjoy ourselves, it seems like we spend half the day either slapping the little buggers away or scratching frantically at our itchy bites. There are, however, some natural things you can do to prevent the bites, or some soothing tips for your sore hives if you do get bitten!
Prevent the Bites:
1.) Cover up in dark or dull coloured clothing: Mosquitos are attracted to bright colours and you're more likely to get bitten if your skin is left exposed, so opt to wear darker or dull colours that cover most of your skin.
2.) Mosquito nets: If you have access to a mosquito net, use it. This might seem a bit extreme and is usually a technique that is used in countries where malaria is an issue, but if you're having trouble sleeping because mosquitos are singing you their little arias, try setting up a net to prevent them from getting close, especially at night.
3.) Fragrance-free soaps: When female mosquitos are not trying to reproduce, they will feed off pollen from flowers so the last thing you want to do is use a bunch of shower gels and soaps that make you smell like a flower. Opt for fragrance-free soaps or those infused with essential oils that mosquitos hate such as tea tree, lavender or citronella.
4.) Eliminate standing water: This is an obvious one. Mosquitos grow in pools of unmoving water, so be sure to dump out any overfilled flower pots or get rid of your bird bath if you don't want a yard full of these persistent critters.
5.) Grow lemon balm and rosemary: These plants are naturally deterrents for mosquitos and so can stop them from reproducing in your yard if you opt to plant them around the perimeter. Plus, then you can use the lemon balm in tea and rosemary in cooking when they're ready to pick !
6.) Natural Insect repellent: You can try making your own insect repellent sprays using a variety of essential oils, though the effectiveness of these sprays varies greatly between individuals. Lavender, citronella, tea tree, catnip, rosemary and neem are all great options. Be careful with the catnip, however, when camping in the mountains as it attracts cats of all varieties and sizes!
7.) Garlic Oil: Diluting garlic oil in a spray bottle with water is a great deterrent for vampires and mosquitos are like tiny Edward Cullens (only they don't sparkle!). Try putting some of the solution in any remaining standing water (like fountains you don't want to empty) or spray it on your grass, especially after a recent rainfall.
8.) Vitamin B1: There is some evidence that taking larger amounts of thiamine internally can make your scent less attractive to mosquitos. Consult a natural health practictioner for dosages that are right for you.
If you get bitten:
9.) Resist the Urge to Itch: I know. I'm a jerk. This is easier said than done. But there is some evidence that actually scratching mosquito bites contributes to their itchiness so it is best to resist the urge as much as possible. Below are some remedies to help you do that.
10.) Apis Mellifica: This homeopathic is available for internal consumption and as an external gel and I recommend doing both regulary to prevent excessive inflammation and irritation of bites.
11.) Apple Cider Vinegar: This usually takes the stinging itchy sensation out of the bite, particularly if you soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it directly to the itchy lump. It might not smell the best but it's a surefire way to stop the insanity of itchiness that mosquito bites bring !
12.) Banana Peels: An age-old remedy, applying a banana peel to mosquito bites takes the heat out of them and calms inflammation which lets you breathe a sigh of relief and helps you resist the urge to scratch!
If you are in Edmonoton and would like to get some of the essential oils mention, please do stop by Kolya Naturals.