There is nothing more rewarding than enjoying time in your own backyard on a weekend. You fire up the BBQ, invite a few friends over, and relax and have a good time. Unfortunately, a few uninvited guests may show up to spoil a perfect afternoon. Yep, I am talking about mosquitoes.
Most mosquitoes will make an appearance around dusk, although there are some varieties, such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, that will hunt you down all day long. These pesky flying bugs are not only a nuisance, but can also pose a health threat if they happen to be a carrier of a virus, such as West Nile virus. All is not lost though; there are several natural defenses you can use against these invaders.
Control Mosquito Habitat
All mosquitoes need a source of water. Mosquitoes go through 4 stages of development, the egg, the larval, and pupal stage. All three stages require water to thrive in. The 4th and final stage, the adult female mosquito, requires a standing source of water to lay her eggs in, thus repeating the cycle of mosquito breeding.
Eliminate all sources of standing water in your yard, whether it be a an old bucket, tin can, notorious puddle area from sprinklers, any where a mosquito can lay eggs. Most mosquitoes will remain near their breeding habitat once they become adults, and the last thing you want to do is encourage them to hang out in your backyard.
Eucalyptus lemon oil
Eucalyptus lemon oil has been used since ancient times as an effective mosquitoe repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recent studies indicate that a 32% mixture of eucalyptus lemon oil provides more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for approximately 3 hours.
Here is how to use:
- Combine 1 part of eucalyptus lemon oil with 10 parts of sunflower oil or hazelnut oil.
- Apply the mixture directly to the skin to fend off mosquitoes.
- Note: Avoid using the mixture on children.
Thyme oil and leaves
Thyme oil is a powerful insect repellent that provides effective protection against mosquitoes. Thyme leaves can also be used as repellent. Burning a handful of thyme leaves can offer protection with 85% effectiveness for a period of 60-90 minutes.
Here is how to make the thyme spray:
- Mix 5 drops of thyme oil with 60 ml of water.
- Place the mixture in a spray bottle, whisk well.
- Spray the mixture in the concerned area.
Mosquito repellent plants to grow at home
Although many plants have the ability to repel mosquitoes I am going to list the best and easiest ones to grow for yourself at home.
Citronella is the most popular mosquito repellent plant and is in many commercial products. It works very much like a candle repellent would. After applying citronella it will mask the scent of other attractants to mosquitoes and effectively “hide” you from them.
Horsement is a great option if you live in Texas or surrounding areas. It works much like citronella because it has a strong scent that will cover attractants of mosquitoes. The reason that it is great for Texas is because it is fast growing and extremely resistant to drought. It can easily grow in dry and sandy areas.
Catnip is universally known as a plant for cats. However, the plant also doubles as a very handy mosquito repellent. It is easily grown and does not take much work to get it growing. Studies have been conducted that show that catnip is up to 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than store bought products.
Whether you are enjoying your backyard or getting out to a park or lake, don’t let the mosquitoes spoil your fun. Be prepared! Make sure your home is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes by eliminating any standing water. Keep a supply of natural mosquito repellent like Repel Insect Repellent and citronella candles on hand to use in your backyard or to take with you for outdoor activities, and consider investing in a mosquito trap to protect your home and family from those pesky little uninvited guests.