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PSA: The mosquitos are hungry and we are delicious

St_johns_wort
As I went into my garden this evening for a little therapeutic weed-pulling and, ironically, to pick St. John's wort buds (to make more skin salve good for burns, hives, bruises... and bites), I wasn't that surprised to get a few hungry mosquitoes swarming my yummy arms. After all, I'd been heedless enough to go out with a sleeveless top. And then. I got a bit through my stretchy black cotton pants and my underwear, right on my behind. As I rubbed some of the buds I'd just picked inside my undies, another mosquito landed on my pants and went in for a snack. Ouch!

For the next 45 minutes, I proceeded to pull weeds with dozens of mini-breaks to wildly swing at the mosquitoes. Never since I lived in Montana when I was a tween have I seen so many mosquitoes in such a short time. I ended up with so many bites I was afraid to look; I went inside and slathered myself with St. John's wort oil (thankfully, I have lots already steeped).

As I have a sister who lives in Panama and gets regular governmental notifications of such things, I realized quickly that our recent weather has been perfect mosquito breeding weather. Lots of recent rain, with a few cloudy cool days following, means lots of standing water for mosquitoes to lay their little eggies. The warm weather we're moving into now is pitocin to these biological processes! Zow!

Thanks to those weeds growing in my backyard, many of them medicinal, I was hoping I'd find the perfect concoction for a natural herbacious mosquito repellent (I've always been sensitive to the smell of bug spray and I finally decided it couldn't be good for me; I've foresworn). Sadly, I may have to suffer through. I found these recipes for catnip and rosemary repellent... lovely, but you need to let 'em steep two weeks. Also, I hve no catnip. I may try to spray myself with a rosemary tea tomorrow, it's worth a shot. If you have other ideas for more instant herbal repellents, send them my way! And dump any standing water you have around, pronto.

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I haven't verified this yet. But as a kid, our old babysitter told us to rub our skin with calendula petals to ward off mosquitos. I still do that and I think it works. I've also got lavender, lemon verbana, lemon balm and marigold growing in the yard so yesterday I rubbed the kids down with a handful of these and I didn't see any mosquitos on them.

Great title! :D

we too were just noticing the huge surge of mosquito numbers this week.

I'm wondering about the effectiveness of garlic spray to deter the critters. Never have extra garlic to squander on non-eating uses though! :)

I heard plants such as geranium, catnip and sweet basil deter mosquitos. Also, apparently eating vitamin B6 helps as it changes the smell of one's sweat and mosquitos supposedly don't like that smell.

i use (i believe the brand is uncle harry's?) lemon eucalyptus essential oil (25 or so drops) in almond oil. i've used this mix camping at a lake and we didn't get bites.

I've heard of rubbing a dryer sheet (ie: Bounce) on your body as an insect repellant.

Burt's Bees uses lemongrass.

I've been told witch hazel, but haven't yet tried. It was recommended by someone who has spent time in Hawai'i.

Lemongrass doesn't do jack sh** against mosquitoes except make you taste like Thai food. Burt's Bees does not work at all.

Taking B vitamins helps make you smell less appetizing to skeeters, same with eating raw garlic. If you can stand it, having a smudge of something (like white sage) burning around you can deter them, since they don't like smoke. Tobacco is also an herbal deterrent, though I'm not sure if Nicotiana can be steeped into a salve or if it's only effective smoked.

Me? I'm a wetland biologist who has spent an entire summers working in the Klamath Falls and Medford irrigation districts, and I've tried everything. I swear the only thing that absolutely works for me is 100% DEET. Sorry!

We were JUST talking about this! A friend of mine got bit on her inner thigh WHILE WEARING PANTS and we couldn't figure out how the mosquito got up there, lol! I guess it just went right through her pants. On July 4th, I got about 15 bites in a matter of minutes (including on the bottom of my feet) so even though I hate the stuff, I sprayed on the bug repellent. Thanks for all of the natural remedy ideas, I will be giving them a try!

we cleaned our gutters last weekend and found that effective for getting rid of the little &-*#$s :) for "lite" mosquito days we use burt's bees; for heavy, a light dust of deet is sometimes necesssary. For reducing itch after the fact, camphor works well.

We've had luck rubbing fresh mint leaves on our skin. and we apply vinegar to fresh bites; it seems to make the itch go away faster.

When we were kids my mom used to use Avon Skin so Soft. Seemed to work then, and the skeets are really bad in humid New England summer

i also grew up using Avon Skin so Soft and remember it being super effective. I just looked at Avon's site and see that now they sell an insect repellent by the same name, but we just used the bath oil. don't know if the formula is still waht is used to be, but here's the current ingredient list:

MINERAL OIL/HUILE MINERALE
ISOPROPYL PALMITATE
DICAPRYL ADIPATE
PARFUM/FRAGRANCE
DIETHYLHEXYL SODIUM SULFOSUCCINATE

my mom used it on us specifically because it didn't have deet or anything else she thought toxic in it. not sure what kept bugs at bay - maybe the perfume? it does smell pretty strong.

Timely post. We killed more than 200 (I am not kidding) mosquitoes in our house the other night. We resorted to using the vacuum hose to suck up those suckers.

Our boy is going to Tryon Creek Nature Camp next week and I need a safe repellent to put on him that will last for 4 hours. I'd love more ideas for kids.

Sad to report that Burts' Bees did not do anything for us either. Has anyone tried Mosquito Barrier (garlic based) to spray their yard? It's getting mixed reviews (ineffective on the East Coast, apparently effective in California)

I've started looking every body care product up on the environmental working group's comsetic safety database. I remember using Avon SSS too. It looks like the original oil rates the best in terms of concerning ingredients, they don't have a rating for the Burt's Bees insect repellent, DEET rates 6/10 on the bad stuff scase. www.cosmeticsdatabase.com

we used Avon SSS growing up camping in northern Florida. Worked wonderfully but I haven't used it in years. I just bought a bottle of Aubrey organics Gone spray. Haven't used it yet but I'm sure tonight i will. it has a bunch of essential oils from different herbs including lavender, nettle,camphor, eucalyptus, sage, rosemary , witch hazel. . worth a shot.

We've tried a variety of DEET free repellents. My homemade concoction of vinegar with peppermint and citronella essential oils worked for just ~20 min. at a time. Last week we bought All Terrain's Kids Herbal Armor, and it's worked like a charm for 2 hours at a stretch - no bites when we've been using it, and we've been around a lot of mosquitos! I tested out a couple drops of lemon eucalyptus oil today, and it was also effective (not sure how long it lasts though as I was only out for 30 minutes). It's a good idea to test any of the above with your kids before applying all over, as some can have skin rashes/irritations with the oils.

Oh my poor child is getting bitten ALL OVER (dh too) and the bites really bother her. They're even biting her while she sleeps (and we're trying to keep the doors and windows shut as much as we can but these things just swarm us. I just started taking a B vitamin complex recently for other reasons but I'm not experiencing as many bites or irritation from the bites...could be coincidence but I'd also run into the 'take vitamin B' rec. (though I think I saw B1). I was just telling dh we needed to get to the nursery to buy some catmint cause I also read the rosemary/catmint idea...don't know how effective it will be but the thing I read said to pour boiling water over freshly chopped rosemary and catmint, let steep for an hour, and use as a spray...who knows. How long can these things last? They're really hampering our outdoor activities! HOWEVER--visiting our favorite farm today where we get our eggs and NO mosquitos (in Saint Paul...so maybe it slightly locational) perhaps it's because the chickens eat the larvae/bugs? I need some CHICKENS!

I found this handy-dandy natural insect repellent guide on Design*Sponge recently:

http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/06/small-measures-with-ashley-natural-insect-repellents.html

I just went camping this weekend with my new, homemade insect repellent (mosquitoes LOVE me). It was simple -- 3 oz water, 1 oz witch hazel, and 24 drops tea tree oil mixed in a spray bottle. You have to reapply, but it worked better than anything else I've tried, including DEET. In fact, I was feeding my daughter watching mosquitos land on me and bite because I didn't reapply after going in the river, then called my husband over to apply more on my arms. The mosquitos hovered, but didn't land.

i posted that i had bought aubrey organics bug repellent and hadn't tried it. here's my testimonial! : i backpacked up st. helens and the mosquitos and little biting flies were bad in the forested areas. applied my new fave, the aubrey outdoor spray and it worked completely!!! i love making my own stuff but sometimes i buy it ready made. it's lovely. i felt like i was spraying flower water on me. can bug spray really be *refreshing*?

I keep hearing how bad the mosquitoes are this year, and usually I am a MAGNET for them. They love me. But this year, they aren't touching me. My husband and I decided its because we have been eating a lot of nutritional yeast lately. All those B vitamins.

All Terrain's Herbal Armor's active ingredients: Oils of citronella, soybean, peppermint, cedar, lemongrass & geranium. I've heard that stores around town are selling out of insect repellent, and I just found this bottle of Herbal Armor left over from last summer. I hope it still works! But how do I break it to my kid that his kiddie pool has to be emptied?

Just heard this from someone else yesterday and didn't believe them, but after getting 7 bites on my arm last night, I was willing to try anything and this works!
Rub the inside of a banana peel on the bite. Its weird, but it totally helps the itching :)

Please be careful with the all natural mosquito repellent. My kid and I used "Buzz Away" and got a horrible rash. His is gone now, but mine is still on my legs and arms. Yes, I am on medication and it is still there.
Next year, I plan to have a bat house up. Bats eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in an hour.

Thanks for letting me know the dengeorous aspect of mosquito, what I will say is if you are using Mosquito magnet or mosquito traps, you are safe as well but it will be good if you try to clean the place where mosquito lives....

There are many mosquito control solutions if you look at Amazon, you would find hundreds of them I will say, choose one according to your requirements, I have written a review page on top mosquito products too http://usemyreviews.com/mosquito-magnet-reviews/

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