I have discovered a remarkable homemade, all-natural recipe for mosquito repellent. Being a gardener, I am getting a little too up close and personal with these annoying insects. Even when I remember to spray my body with an insect repellent it doesn’t take them long to find the spots I missed. The commercial mosquito repellents give me an instant headache and sniffles.
Those pesky mosquitoes are also thriving at our family cottage, again, all day long, not just at dusk or when overcast. Trying to get any work done outdoors is brutal; we spend more time swatting than working. We recently installed a bat house to see if attracting bats to our property will keep the mosquito population down.
Did you know that there are 64 species of mosquitoes in Ontario alone? The species connected to the West Nile Virus breeds in urban areas and never flies far from its breeding grounds of stagnant, shallow water that is high in organic matter. Let that be a warning to keep the water collectors in your yard clean. Bird baths and kiddie pools should be drained and cleaned frequently. Water-filled planters, watering cans, and other items hanging around the yard should be emptied often, especially with all the rain we have had lately. If you have an ornamental pond, be sure it includes a waterfall or fountain so the water is not stagnant, and add some fish to eat the mosquito larvae that may breed there.
Today I spent four hours working in a client’s garden in Nepean. It was a very hot afternoon; 27 degrees Celsius or 39 degrees with the humidity. At times it was cloudy wit!h storm clouds threatening, other times it was sunny. I worked in the sun and shade in this garden. Before I left home I slathered myself with sunscreen as per my usual routine and then sprayed my clothes as well as my exposed arms, legs, neck and hair with my new concoction of mosquito repellent.
I am thrilled to report that not one mosquito bit me today, in fact not one even landed on me! I did see a few getting close, but they certainly did not like my scent, and quickly flew off to find someone else to bite. I did not even hear any of that annoying buzzing around me; you know, the sound they make just before they land and bite you…
Don’t worry, this scent is not offensive, in fact, I love the smell. I use essential oils and extracts of plants that mosquitoes dislike. Those of you who know me well will realize there is no way I would spray any toxic, strong-smelling, artificial chemicals (AKA commercial mosquito repellent) on my skin and clothes. To do so would give me an instant headache and coughing fits.
My next step is to make up a large batch, bottle it, and get other people to try it out; if you are interested, let me know…
photo credit: pexels-photo-2382223