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There is no denying that springtime and summer time are the best seasons of the year. With the first flower bloom, it can seem like you are blooming as well. With the wind in your hair and sun kissing your face, it is a joy to engage in outdoor activities. Whether it is camping, surfing, riding a bicycle, walking on the beach, or through a park, it is always a pleasure to be outside. After a long winter, your body craves for warmer weather.
But let’s stop there for a minute. What happens when the sun goes down and twilight is on the rise? Do you remember that annoying sound made by beating wings? Well, how could you forget? We are talking about mosquitoes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop with the buzzing of mosquitoes. You know how this story goes. After a long day spent outside, it is completely natural for you to feel tired. You can’t wait to go to bed and relax. You lay down and with the first phase of sleep you hear that sound. The sound of mosquitoes being persistent in their search to find the right spot on your body to suck out your blood. Soon, it becomes clear you are not going to get enough sleep that night, if you don’t do something about it一if you don’t find a way to keep those mosquitoes away. What’s your first option? Well, you need to find them and remove them from your bedroom. As if it was that simple. Those are pretty fast creatures that know how to hide.
So, let’s recap: Not only do mosquitoes do their best to ruin your outdoor activities, they also know how to keep you up at nights. What can you do prevent all of this? Well, multiple things; and we are going to name the most effective of them all.
But, before we begin naming products that have the ability to keep mosquitoes away, let’s first get to know these little monsters. Are they just annoying or can they be dangerous?
What Are Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are tiny creatures whose “bites” are usually itchy, sometimes even painful. One of the reasons they are one of the most unlikeable creatures in the world is due to the various diseases they carry, such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever or even Zika virus. It is for this reason you should do your best to keep mosquitoes away.
Let’s get to know them better. Mosquitoes are a part of the animal class Insecta and, according to National Geographic, there are over 3,000 species that carry different diseases. What you also need to know is that mosquitoes don’t “bite”. So what do they do?
Well the female mosquitoes feed on human blood to get proteins, which will help them reproduce. The male ones are completely harmless, since they feed on plant nectars. In order to extract human blood, females pierce the skin, then suck out the blood. When sucking blood, mosquitoes use two tubes. The first tube serves as a blood coagulant, which releases enzymes that promote blood clotting, while the other serves as a straw to suck out the blood. The piercing of human skin leaves a red mark, which can be itchy or even painful.
At this point you might be wondering, why does it seem like you are always getting more or fewer mosquito bites than your friends or some members of your family? There is also a reason for that. Mosquitoes are hunters, so to speak, and they find their victims based on body temperature, the amount of air you breath out (carbon dioxide), and body odors.
You might be wondering if they serve any purpose in this world, and we have to say that they do. Every animal in the ecosystem has its purpose. A mosquito’s purpose? To serve as food to birds, frogs, and bats. However, since they are of no use to humans, it is a good idea to learn how to keep mosquitoes away, naturally.
Should You Be Afraid of Mosquitoes?
Afraid is a strong word, so let’s just say you have to be cautious. There are several dangerous diseases that mosquitoes can carry. One of them is the Zika virus that affects pregnant women, which can lead to birth defects in babies. In the USA, the most common diseases are the West Nile virus and encephalitis.
Now that you have gotten to know these creatures a little bit better, let’s go through all the repellents that will definitely keep mosquitoes away:
Who would have thought that ground coffee would have such an impact on mosquitoes? Well, it does, and here’s why.
According to a 2015 study, there is a connection between coffee and the possibility of it being a repellent for mosquitoes. The study, which was conducted on one of the dengue vector, Aedes albopictus, shows there is a certain level of vulnerability of this dengue vector, but it only happens in the first stages of the mosquito’s life cycle. So, what about your average, annoying mosquito? Does coffee really have the power to keep mosquitoes away? According to eDrugSearch.com, coffee grounds are precisely the way to go. In fact, it is highly recommended to have a bowl of burnt coffee grounds placed around the house.
Why are coffee grounds so effective mosquito repellent? The reason is simple: Coffee grounds have a strong smell (burnt coffee even stronger) which can be a repellent to several types of insects, including bees, wasps, and mosquitoes. Not only that, but the smoke that comes off the burnt coffee, is a natural repellent. Remember that all animals (including insects) tend to stay away from signs of danger, such as smoke.
So next time you are wondering how to keep mosquitoes away, burn coffee grounds and keep them in your bedroom. We guarantee you will have a good sleep and wake up fresh and well-rested. As an added benefit, coffee will be the first thing you smell in the morning!
Unfortunately, we have to admit that garlic does not have as pleasant a scent as coffee, but it is a highly-effective method to keep mosquitoes away.
Although the reason garlic is such a good repellent is not completely known, scientists suspect two reasons. The first reason may be that garlic’s compound called allicin, is harmful to mosquitoes. The other potential reason is an obvious one – a strong smell of garlic can prevent them from easily finding the next victim. Whatever the reason, it works!
So, how should you use it? The easiest way to use garlic is to simply include it in your diet. Eating a moderate amount is very beneficial. However, if you are not a fan of the strong garlic scent, a.k.a “garlic breath,” then it is better to opt for a spray. How to create this spray?Just crush a few cloves of garlic and boil in water for a couple of minutes. Then pour mixture in a bottle and spray around your home/apartment.
Who knew garlic could be so effective?
If you like oils we have good news for you! There are multiple oils that can act as natural repellents for mosquitoes. Whether you are hiking, running or doing some other outdoor activity, be aware nature itself can provide you with some useful compounds to keep mosquitoes away.
Since we are in the middle of this article, it might be a good time to mention why we chose to include only natural ingredients as repellents. Well, there is no doubt there are many products that have the same or even better effect on keeping mosquitoes away, but they also have a chemical – DEET, that, in the long term, has an effect on your health.
DEET, or N, N-Diethyl-3methylbenzamide, is a chemical that isn’t dangerous by itself, but can easily become toxic if it reacts with other chemicals. It can have a major impact on the central nervous system. This is why we decided to include natural ways to keep mosquitoes away. Besides, oils, especially the essential ones, have natural, pleasant scents, which makes them a joy to use.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon eucalyptus is a plant that grows mostly in Australia, but can be found in other places in the world. This tall tree is the one that will definitely keep mosquitoes away.
How does it work?
This magical tree has natural repellent leaves not just for mosquitoes, but for many other insects. It is great as a prevention for mosquito bites, and can be just as good as the products that contain DEET.
In the US market, there are several types of lemon eucalyptus oil – ones that contain 30%, 40% and 70% of pure lemon eucalyptus oil. The good news is that the percentage of pure oil doesn’t affect the oil’s ability to repel mosquitoes.
So, how should you use it? By applying the oil to your skin twice per day. However, be sure not to accidentally drink it, and keep it away from children, since it is not designed for internal use.
You might have heard that lavender oil is great for calming the body, inducing sleep, or that it protects clothes from moth infestation. What you might not have heard is that it is highly effective if you want to keep mosquitoes away.
Why lavender? The reason is simple: Lavender has a specific scent that tends to keep insects away. Not only that, it is gentle on the skin, and has healing properties that makes it a great oil for treating insect bites. It is an antiseptic, an analgesic, and is calming to the skin.
There are several ways to use lavender oil. You can use as a body spray, mixed with a little bit of water or by itself, simply applied to a washcloth. If you are willing to make an effort, you can also use dry lavender leaves and rub them in your sore spots.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil
This is another oil that comes from the land of Australia and has multiple benefits. Over the past couple of years, beauty and cosmetic industries popularized it and marketed it as a way to fight acne. Thanks to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties it definitely works. But, can it work as an insect repellent?
It sure can! According to the study Development of Melaleuca oils as effective natural‐based personal insect repellents conducted in 2010, tea tree oil is another great way to keep mosquitoes away. The study showed that tea tree oil works amazingly as a mosquito repellent. If you want to know why that is, be sure to read the study.
How should you use it? Just apply it on the skin and wait for it to dry. It’s that simple!
As with the previously mentioned plants, rosemary is also a plant that serves as a natural repellent for mosquitoes–because of its smell. What is good about rosemary is the fact it is very gentle to the skin. What is even better is the fact that it can be used in different ways to keep mosquitoes away.
If you don’t want to use it as an oil, another great option is to simply plant it in your backyard and say goodbye to mosquitoes for good. In addition, if you have dry skin, you can mix it with olive oil and apply it to the sore spots. As Naturehacks.com suggests, you should mix a quarter of a cup of olive oil with just four drops of rosemary essential oil.
If you want to find out more about rosemary and its numerous health benefits, be sure to check out one of our previous articles in which we explain why rosemary is considered to be the holy herb.
Are There Any Other Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away?
Of course! If rubbing oils on your skin seems like too much work, there are some easy tips and tricks to prevent mosquitoes from biting you:
● Throw away stagnant water. Yes, you read that right! According to Jim Frederics, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, it is a good practice to get rid of any water that is left in your yard or kids’ pool. Stagnant water can actually breed mosquitoes.
● Again, if you are not into covering yourself in oil, find an alternative – put lavender leaves in a bowl on your backyard table. It adds a nice touch to the exterior, and will keep you safe. That being said, be sure to spend time indoors as much as you can, especially at nights, just in case.
● Dress not to impress. As GoodHousekeeping.com states, mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors, like navy or black, so try to stay away from them. Also, when you are deciding what to wear, it might be good option to cover your legs. More precisely, it is a good idea to cover lower parts of your body since this is the area of your body where you sweat the most. Sweat produces bacteria, which mosquitoes are attracted to, as well.
● Citronella candles are good, but maybe not so effective as you might think. They are a great option if you want to keep mosquitoes away just a few inches from the flame, though.
How Do You Keep Mosquitoes Away?
We hope we have provided you with some useful tips on how you can use natural repellents, and stay protected from these annoying creatures.
Is there anything else you would like to add? What was the most effective way of keeping mosquitoes away for you?
Let us know in the Comments box below.
Image credits: Pixabay.com