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Natural Methods to Repel Mosquitos

Let’s face it… we live in a tropical country where the environment allows pesky, annoying mosquitoes to thrive! The bite of a mosquito is not just itchy, but it can also cause diseases such as malaria, dengue and even the dreaded Zika virus. Commercial repellents work well, but they are loaded with chemicals and mostly contain ingredients such as DEET (Diethyltoluamide), which have been linked to serious health problems in both adults and children. The good news is, natural methods work too. Here, we feature some really effective ones!

Tea tree oil ribbons

Mosquitoes seem to loathe the smell of certain plant oils, tea tree and lavender oils being two of them. Hence, try soaking ribbons of any material in the oil, and stick them around your windows and doors to discourage entry.

Switch on the fan

Mosquitoes don’t fare very well in a draft and are easily blown away. Breeze from a fan, even on a low setting is enough to keep them away. By setting up two or more fans to create a perimeter of moving air around the area where you are sitting, those pesky biters will have difficulties trying to get to you.

Mosquito repelling plants

Some plants have the ability to ward off mosquitoes. The repelling effect will be even more powerful when the leaves or flowers of the plants are crushed to release their oils. Try growing any or all of the following at home, not just for their mosquito-repelling qualities, but also because most of them happen to be really pretty house plants.

Marigold

Marigolds have a distinct scent that not even many humans like, and mosquitoes don’t like it any better! They are sun-loving plants that come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they thrive in almost any landscape. They are quite easy to grow in any type of soil and grow best outdoors in full sunlight.

Rosemary

This aromatic cooking herb is also a natural mosquito repellent. It favours hot, dry weather and well-drained soil. It is an inexpensive and attractive way to boost the appearance of your garden or balcony, and to keep mosquitoes away as well.

Plant them in well drained red soil and add coco peat or small loose stones to make the soil more permeable. They thrive best in partial to full sunlight (2-3 hours), but in very hot weathers however, it’s best to keep them in semi-shade conditions.

Ageratum

Mosquitoes are repelled by the coumarin in the ageratum plant. Coumarin is used in the perfume industry and in some commercial mosquito repellents. Ageratums may be crushed to release its oils, but do not rub them onto your skin. Ageratum needs heavy soils to grow on and thrive best in semi-shaded environments. They are a pretty way to keep mosquitoes away.

Citronella (Serai)

The oil of the citronella plant (serai) is popular as a ‘natural’ insect repellent, where its effectiveness in repelling Aedes mosquito has been verified through research. Citronella happens to have superb anti fungal properties as well. It grows best in well drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

Peppermint plant

Peppermint oil is one of the natural ingredients added into many commercial insect repellents. Mosquitoes don’t like the scent of peppermint, so you can crush up the leaves and rub it on your skin to ward them off. As an added bonus, peppermint also can also do double-duty as itch relief if you do get bitten! Peppermint grows well in well-drained soil and needs partial sunlight, hence it can be planted under your larger plants as a beautiful ground cover.


Home-made natural citronella candles

Mosquitoes are put off by the scent of citronella, so these home-made candles will act as a repellent.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound raw, settled beeswax
  • Several drops of the following essential oils: Rosemary; Geranium; Lavender; Citronella

Equipment:

  • Pan of boiling water and metal bowl (as a double boiler)
  • Ready-made primed tea light wicks
  • Candle holder/holders
  • Plastic jug
  • Wooden chopsticks (to stir mixture)
  • Thermometer
  • Knife

Method:

  1. Break the beeswax into small pieces (use a knife for this).
  2. Place the broken beeswax in the metal bowl over the pan of hot water and stir thoroughly while it is melting.
  3. Using a thermometer, keep testing the temperature. When it hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit, start adding the essential oils, stirring thoroughly all the time.
  4. Pour the mixture into your candle holders – Note: If you’re using glass holders, pour in a little bit of wax and allow it to cool before adding the rest. This will reduce the chances of the glass shattering.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled, place the primed wick into the wax.
  6. Once the wax has hardened, your candle will be ready for use!

Peppermint leaves

Known for its very strong scent and flavor, peppermint is also a great natural way to repel insects whenever you go outdoors. No insect or biting bug likes the scent of peppermint, so simply crush the leaves, rub them onto your skin and let them work their magic!

Use baby oil on your skin as often as possible

Mosquitoes may find it much more difficult to alight on and bite oil-covered skin. Baby oil is not only a great repellent, but acts as an excellent skin moisturiser as well! Apply some in the mornings and evenings, which are prime times of day for mosquitoes to strike. Be wary of using baby oil on your skin under direct sunlight though, as it might lead to sunburns.

Try these home-made mozzie-repellents:

Oil-based mozzie-bye drops

Ingredients:

  • 10-25 drops of essential oil (lavender, coriander seeds, peppermint and citronella)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp aloe vera gel (optional)

Method:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend.
  2. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.

Cider-based repellent

Ingredients:

  • 25 drops of essential oil (lavender, coriander seeds, peppermint and citronella)
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar

Method:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a glass jar.
  2. Shake to blend.
  3. Dab some on your skin or clothing.

Neem rub

Ingredients:

  • 6 drops each of essential oils of catnip, citronella, lavender, neem, and black pepper
  • 30 ml unscented and natural oil or moisturizer.

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients together and rub onto skin.

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