Summer is on its way, and that means sun, watersports, and enjoying the warm weather. Unfortunately, it also means that we’ll be seeing a return of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can be a pain for anyone.
But for an unlucky few, they may cause a condition called skeeter syndrome. This is essentially an allergic reaction to their venom, causing pain, swelling, and extreme itching. For these people, in particular, keeping mosquitoes away is vital.
Studies show that mosquito treatments like DEET and permethrin are perfectly safe to use in approved quantities. But some people prefer to use natural substances.
Joseph Conlon, the technical advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association, says that mosquito repellent really is the best way to keep yourself safe.
“In today’s era of the Zika virus, I would be professional remiss in not urging people to use a mosquito repellent that has been registered with the Environmental Protection Association,” says Conlon.
However, if you want to try using a natural mosquito repellent, it may boost your other methods of getting rid of mosquitoes. So, what are the best natural ways to avoid bug bites this summer?
Believe it or not, the scent that smells so sweet to humans has the opposite effect on mosquitoes. To use it in a homemade mosquito spray, just combine two teaspoons of vanilla with a cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. Then spray liberally on your clothes, hair, and skin. The best time to do this is right before you go outside. The vanilla scent will also cover up the natural human odors of sweat and oils, which are attractive to mosquitoes.
You can also spray this throughout your yard and home, especially in grass and bushes. A word of warning, though: check your vanilla before you mix up your spray. If it contains added sugar or alcohol, it will attract the bugs instead of driving them away.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common household item that has dozens of uses, from cleaning sinks to deodorizing smelly carpet. But it’s also highly unpleasant for mosquitoes. You can make a spray by combining a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar, spraying it almost anywhere. It’s safe to breathe in and suitable for clothes, skin, and around your home and yard. But there’s one other interesting fact about it.
“Many tales claim that taking an undiluted tablespoon of apple cider vinegar at least once per day is just what you need to keep mosquitoes away for good,” reads an article from Health. However, this hasn’t been substantiated, so don’t start drinking apple cider vinegar just yet.
3. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Essential oils are very popular nowadays, but they come with heavy caveats. Many of them are not regulated by the FDA. They can cause skin reactions and asthma attacks in sensitive individuals. They should also never be used on children or near pets, especially cats.
With all that being said, if you don’t have anyone sensitive nearby, lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to be fairly effective against mosquitoes. In fact, it’s one of the most effective natural repellents you can find, providing protection for as long as 12 hours.
“It is a very good repellent,” says Conlon. “Just do not use it on kids younger than three years old; it hasn’t been approved for them.”
Be sure not to use eucalyptus oil near cats, either, as it is highly toxic and can cause poisoning.
4. Catnip Oil
We all know that catnip drives cats crazy. They can’t get enough of the stuff, but research shows that it can be used to repel mosquitos too. Catnip oil, which is acquired from catnip by steam distillation, can be used as a repellant for up to 7 hours of protection. And if you happen to be concerned about whether or not you’ll start attracting cats, don’t be alarmed. The oil is different from the herb so you won’t become a cat whisperer just yet.
So, What’s The Bottom Line?
Experts say that an EPA-approved commercial product works the best for repelling mosquitoes effectively. However, you can get rid of these nasty bloodsuckers with some natural remedies this summer, too — especially if you combine them. This year, there’s no reason that bugs should interfere with your outdoor activities.
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