Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Those Nasty Mosquitoes: Organic Ways to Keep them at Bay

What would warm weather and picnics be without mosquitoes?  For many outdoorsmen and picnickers, they’re a summertime standard.  Fortunately, there are organic techniques you can use to keep mosquitoes out of your summer fun.  There are a few toxic ways to rid the area or your skin of these critters but nontoxic, organic methods keep you and your children safe, too.
Some things are obvious.  Close your windows on the side of the house that have no breeze.  

These insects don’t like breezes so you can leave the other areas of the house open to the fresh air.  Organic pest prevention starts with simple, easy ways to keep them out of your space in the first place. 

Outside your home, you’ll start your organic mosquito prevention by removing areas of standing water that don’t need to be there.  Things like bird baths, pet bowls and wading pools should be cleaned out and refreshed at least twice weekly.

Think about the water that collects in the eaves troughs and other outdoor areas.  If you’re having a barbecue, your organic mosquito control can be as simple as putting some sage or rosemary on the coals.  Mosquitoes don’t like those herbs and steer clear of them. 

As for actual skin protection, consider a 30% concentration of oil of eucalyptus, which prevents bites for up to two hours. Another organic skin protector is 2% soybean oil, which works for almost that long.  In comparison, Citronella works poorly, keeping mosquitoes away for only 20 minutes. Another organic and natural substance involves mixing garlic juice and water in a 1 to 5 ratio, shaking it up and spraying it on your skin.  Believe it or not, it can work for up to six hours.  You can hang strips of cloth that have been soaked in this substance and hang the cloths in areas where people will be.

The Neem tree in India provides another organic form of mosquito control.  It contains a compound you can buy called Neem oil that repels mosquitoes effectively and is extremely safe around humans.  Marigolds will act as an organic preventative against mosquitoes and other flying insects don’t like them either.  Finally, Avon’s mosquito repellent is very safe and many people swear by it. 

The alternative to organic pest control is the mosquito repellent called DEET.  It is a chemical also known as N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It’s a powerful chemical created by the US military in the 1940s.  As DEET is so powerful, doctors recommend that children not be exposed to more than 10% DEET products.  Many products containing the chemical are 100% DEET.   The skin should be washed after you don’t need the DEET any more.  Some research has linked this chemical to toxic encephalopathy—a brain disease.    

On a brighter note, an organic way of keeping mosquitoes out of the area is to plant a big tub of Thai lemongrass and  put it nearby.  It contains a natural organic oil, citronella, that is both safe and effective in repelling mosquitoes in a large area.

You don’t have to ruin your outdoor fun with mosquitoes nor do you have to worry about using DEET, which carries some toxicity.  Enjoy the outdoors using organic mosquito control techniques, which work very well and are safe for you, too.  There are also nontoxic, pheromone-based mosquito traps that you can buy for overall protection.

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