Beat Back the Bugs! Green Tips For Fighting Mosquitoes!
No one likes mosquitoes. They spread disease, they’re annoying, and they make us itch. Unfortunately, mosquitoes absolutely love us and will happily buzz and bite all summer long if we let them.
So let’s deal with the little devils with these great green tips!
Stopping Mosquitoes Before They Start
Remove Water Sources
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so it’s important to eliminate any sources near your home. Old tires, bird baths, blocked-up gutters, and similar areas are prime real estate for bugs – especially since they only need about a tablespoon of water to lay eggs, so clear these areas out asap!
Beat Bugs with Bacteria
Have a large pond or ditch that’s always full of stagnant water? Then give Bacillus thuringiensis israelenis a shot. This helpful microbe kills mosquito larvae in water while still being safe for fish and people. You can buy this bacteria – called Bt for short – at your local gardening store.
Plant Away the Pests
There are many plants out there that release odors that help fight mosquitoes, plants like horsemint, Ageratum, rose-scented geraniums, lemongrass and lemon balm, marigolds, and – of course – citronella. Growing these in your garden or in planters that you can roll out onto your deck is a safe way to fight bugs and make your home look lovely.
Stopping Mosquitoes Once They Start
Ah – the old standby. These candles use the natural power citronella oil to repel mosquitoes, and they can reduce landings by about 40%. Of course, this isn’t a foolproof tool, but it can be a great way to boost the affects of other anti-mosquito efforts. There are a lot of other Citronella products out there can be a big help when a candle isn’t practical.
They may like to buzz about, but mosquitoes aren’t that great at flying. A steady flow of air from fans – overhead or floor – can help push the bugs back. Added bonus: it’ll keep you cooler.
There are a lot of great recipes out there for green insect repellents, like this one from Wellness Mama:
Step 1: Pour 4 ounces of distilled water into a bottle
Step 2: Add in 4 ounces of witch hazel (a natural, astringent liquid)
Step 3: Add an essential oil like citronella, lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, or lavender. Use 30-50 drops
And that’s it! Spritz this on your skin or clothes every 2 hours or so as needed.
Dealing with Mosquito Bites
Not every mosquito can be stopped and eventually you’ll get bit. When that happens, your body will start producing histamines, which causes the blood vessels in the area to swell up, which in turn irritates the nerves and causes itching (Science!)
Thankfully there are a lot of ways to soothe that itch. You can apply tea tree oil, use a cold compress of milk and water, use ice, aloe vera, even apple cider vinegar helps. Check out this great article for over a dozen green remedies that can help you deal with the irritation.
Thanks to eartheasy.com for their articles, Barbara Pleasant with Mother Earth News and Mother Earth Living, mosquitnoband.com, Katie at Wellness Mama, Beth at Tasty Yummies, Debbie Hadley at About.com, and Sarah Klein at the Huffington Post.