Like the popular children’s song says, “rain, rain go away, little Tommy wants to play”, the same anthem can be used to describe our sentiments towards mosquitoes. Beautiful days of summer fun and outdoor play for our little ones can be squelched by the stinging bite of nature’s little blood sucker, the mosquito. As mothers, our heart strings are pulled by seeing those red itchy welts on our little ones, and knowing all of the possible diseases that can be transmitted to our angels by mosquitoes. We’ve all read about the out breaks of West Nile Virus, encephalitis, and dengue, but sometimes, we are just as concerned about putting possibly harmful chemicals onto their perfectly new skin. So, as mothers, what are we to do to protect our families from mosquitoes and chemicals alike?
In answer to this question, I’ve put together a few suggestions for “green” mosquito repellants that can be made at home and tested for efficacy. I don’t think that there is one single answer to the age old battle against the mosquito. Everyone has different body chemistries, and what works best for one person, may not be suitable for another. I have one blessed friend who is never bitten by mosquitoes at all, but she can’t use self tanning lotions without emitting an awful smell. Go figure! Anyway, back to repelling mosquitoes. This article on ehow.com, http://www.ehow.com/how_4617063_homemade-mosquito-repellent.html, lists; eucalyptus, rosemary, catnip, garlic, and citronella as a few things that mosquitoes do NOT like at all. The actual leaves of the eucalyptus can be boiled, strained and poured into a spritzer bottle to be sprayed on every couple of hours. If you don’t have access to an actual eucalyptus plant because one of your children decided to see if the eucalyptus plant could withstand being split into two pieces and survive (yes, this happened at my house and no, it didn’t survive), you can add eucalyptus essential oil to a carrier oil to be rubbed directly onto the skin to repel mosquitoes. The other herbs can be utilized in the same manner to repel mosquitoes, by either boiling fresh leaves to be sprayed, or adding essential oils, 3 drops, to a half cup carrier oil to be rubbed on. The ratio is generally a half of cup of fresh herbs to a quart of water for the boiling and straining method.
Other ways to minimize children’s exposure to mosquito bites is to make sure that you do not have standing water around your home. See previous article for tips. Avoid playing outside around high mosquito traffic times such as dusk. Dress your babies in light colored clothing and longer sleeves to minimize appeal and available areas for mosquito females to feast. There are “green” products that are being created in response to concerns just like ours. You can easily research ingredients and effectiveness of today’s green mosquito repellants on numerous eco friendly pest control internet sites.
Controlling the larvae will help reduce populations so think about mosquito dunks or granules and a good pyrethrin spray on for foliage of the surrounding outdoor living areas to help reduce mosquito populations and also offer repelling effects.
I am including these links to government sponsored informational sites for more information for those that are interested.