Don't spend your summer swatting, smacking and scratching. Mosquitoes can easily ruin outdoor fun, but many repellents and itch-relieving treatments rely on harsh chemicals to make them effective. Here are six ways to naturally prevent and treat mosquito bites.
A staple in many Alberta backyards, citronella candles are a combination of soy wax and essential oils. The smell actually isn't irritating to the mosquitoes, but as the candle burns, the fragrance of the oils will mask the scents that mosquitoes are attracted to. As long as it isn't too windy out, the candle should help repel mosquitoes for up to 2 hours or until the oil evaporates.
Mosquito-repelling herbs & plants
An easy and inexpensive way to repel mosquitoes starts in your garden. In the spring before mosquito season is in full swing, try planting basil, marigolds, peppermint, geraniums or lavender. These aromatic plants can be potted in the summer and arranged to help keep your backyard mosquito-free.
Those same herbs can also be used to make homemade mosquito spray. Add dry herbs like mint, sage, rosemary, lavender or thyme to boiling water. Turn off the heat and let the herbs steep until the water returns to room temperature. Add 200ml of witch hazel then transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and you're ready to repel!
Ever wonder how mosquitoes always seem to find you? They can actually sense nearby changes in carbon dioxide to find potential prey. If you set up a fan in your backyard, it will help dissipate carbon dioxide and any body odours that may attract mosquitoes. And because mosquitoes are weak fliers and have difficulty with even the slightest breeze, the fan will make it more difficult for them to navigate.
Soothing oatmeal wash
If you've already been bitten and the itch is setting in, relieve itching and reduce swelling with an oatmeal paste by combining equal parts oatmeal and water in a bowl. Add it to a washcloth and hold it on the irritated skin for 10-15 minutes. Oatmeal contains calming properties and lowers the skin's PH level to soothe the irritation.
Cold tea bag
Another anti-inflammatory you might have hiding in your kitchen is a green or black tea bag. Dunk the tea bag in very cold water for a few minutes and apply it directly to the mosquito bite. This will reduce blood flow to the surface of your skin and the tannins of the tea will lower swelling and ease any itchiness. And next time you make a cup of tea, put the spent tea bag in a reusable container in the fridge for the next time you might need to use one.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera's anti-inflammatory and soothing properties make it ideal for helping reduce irritation and itchiness caused by mosquito bites. Instead of buying pre-packaged gels, which can contain other additives, invest in an aloe vera plant. Cutting the leaves lets you can make quick use of the natural gel inside.
Don't let mosquitoes be the reason you can't enjoy the rest of summer. Any combination of these tips will keep you pest free so you can enjoy time outdoors. For more seasonal hacks and helpful tips visit our Green Tips, Tricks and Gadgets page for energy efficient blogs and content.