Mosquitoes aren’t just a bothersome itch, they are also carriers for the Zika virus and more. Here are a few safe treatments and natural prevention methods to keep your home bite-free.
Put An End To The Buzz…Safely!
Mosquitoes aren’t just a bothersome itch, they are also carriers for the Zika virus and more. With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey comes standing water. Even an inch of standing water is enough for a female mosquito to lay three hundred eggs at once. With eggs hatching and maturing in a little over a week, you need to act fast. Here are a few safe treatments and natural prevention methods to keep your home bite-free.
Check carefully around your home for likely places to find standing water such as backed up gutters, small pools, pet bowls, indentions in tarps/umbrellas, garbage cans, bird baths, watering cans, trays underneath potted plants, etc. A well kept lawn also discourages small puddles from developing.
Other natural prevention methods are to encourage a welcoming habitat for their natural predators, such as a bat house or purple martin bird house. Certain herbs and plants can also be utilized for their repellant qualities, minimally having them planted in your yard can help. Marigold, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass and Basil are some of the best, but to get the most from them, make an herbal bundle and burn it in a fire at your next outdoor gathering.
If you do use citronella, be sure it’s not just scented but actual citronella oil! Many essential oils can be diluted and used in the home or on your skin to repel mosquitoes as well.
If you have outdoor standing water that’s part of your permanent landscape, there are still water treatments that won’t damage the natural wildlife such as Mosquito Dunks®. These donut-shaped “dunks” are a mild bacteria – Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) – toxic only to mosquito larvae. This BTI bacteria is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as containing no other toxins, thus it will not affect animals, fish, birds or reptiles alike. Also, this product is fast acting and lasts over thirty days. One dunk will treat about one hundred square feet of water surface. For smaller areas Mosquito Bits® (pellets) are available to sprinkle across the water.
Treating a Bite
The following are used for treating mosquito bites:
- Antihistamines: reduce swelling, relieve pain and help itchy, blood-clotting mosquito saliva to exit a bite.
- Vinegar: malic acid in apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory, able to soothe bites when applied topically or added to a bath.
- Toothpaste: a small drop of toothpaste can act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from a wound as it dries. Menthol, commonly found in mint toothpastes, will also provide a cooling sensation resulting in some relief from discomfort.
- Heat: a hot compress on a bite can numb the nerves in the same way ice does and also opens the pores to let the itchy toxins escape.
Essential Oil Tips
Essential oils are the highly concentrated natural oils found in plants. They can be purchased in many stores such as Walgreens, Whole Foods, HEB, and of course online. The best oils to repel mosquitoes are peppermint, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, geranium, clove, sage, cinnamon, and rosemary.
Per research done by Iowa State University, the essential oil in catnip (Nepeta cataria), was ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET (the most common ingredient in insect repellants).
You can mix your favorite essential oil repellants with alcohol or a carrier oil (a cold pressed vegetable oil such as olive oil, avocado oil, apricot oil, etc.) for safe and chemical-free skin repellant sprays. There are lots of recipes online you can try that will tell you the ratios to use.
End the Buzz
By using the outdoor preventions, outdoor treatments, bite treatments and essential oil suggestions listed above, you and your family can safely put an end to the mosquito buzz!