Welcome back to the handbook! Today I am writing from an incredibly beautiful place about a not- so- beautiful situation: being bitten by pesky mosquitoes!!!
In a previous post that you can check out here, I write about eczema and how one mosquito’s feast (and my incessant scratching) led to an unsightly rash on my arms and legs :(. It was not a pleasant experience and though I got my smooth skin back thanks to some all natural treatments, I have been weary (downright frightened) of being bitten since then.
Just before my recent travels, I was living in a place where mosquitoes hardly ventured (and even if they were around, it was far too cold to open any fixings that led to the outdoors!) and my mozzy fears were replaced by my fear of freezing on the walk to the gym. But alas now I am travelling through a place where mosquitoes are as plentiful as rice.
My Sensitivity to Unnatural Things
I know what you’re thinking, go and grab some repellent with extra DEET and journey through unafraid! The only problem is that ever since I was a young lass I have been extra sensitive to… things.
What do I mean exactly? As a kid I naturally shied away from unnatural ingredients even though I could never explain my reasoning to friends and family. Certain things just didn’t feel right and something deep down in my spirit knew it.
When I did my household chores and used a product with bleach or some other strong chemical compound, I would begin to feel unclean and refuse to eat for hours after for fear that some of what I used was on my hands, or worse somewhere in the ether waiting to jump inside my body. I felt this way even after profusely washing my hands several times.
On camping trips I would emerge filled with way more anti- coagulant (venom that mosquitoes inject) in my body than the average person because of my refusal to use bug spray. I just couldn’t stomach putting it on my skin. I mean it killed/repelled bugs for pete’s sake!, and I’m meant to topically apply it to my skin and face?! No thank you!
I’ve sallied forth into adulthood with the same feelings, only now I’m backed with more knowledge as to why that conscious being inside of me was saying “hell no!”
DEET and it’s Evil Fleet
DEET, the main ingredient in most of the strongest repellents is one that most consumers look for when purchasing an insect repellent. It is meant to keep those pests away while we have our summer fun. Only thing is such an ingredient that works wonders in repelling mumma mosquitoes also has effects on us humans. Remember that everything that goes on our bodies, eventually ends up inside our bodies as well! And when it comes to DEET the pesticide is deadly.
I only say that because the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported a total of 8 deaths related to DEET exposure, so yeah, I think deadly is the right word here. What’s more is that all sorts of symptoms are associated with the use of this compound including but not limited to- psychological effects, severe agitation, rashes, dizziness, nausea, numb lips, disorientation, memory loss, and headaches. Insects stay away from this stuff for a reason, and though it saves us from itchy days and nights, is it really worth it? No, of course not! Especially when you can have the same results with ingredients that are safe.
A Day in the Life of Blood Hungry Mosquitoes
Before I divulge one superb DIY mix, let me give you a little background into the lives of mumma mosquitoes. I call them mumma mosquitoes because those are likely the only ones you come in contact with, the females. You see the male mosquito is no more a threat to you than your pillow.
Males feast on fruit and spend their lives close to where they were born (some area where there is still water), waiting for the females to return so they can mate. But what exactly do the lady mosquitoes need to mate properly? Your blood, that’s what!
Oh yes for the mozzy cycle to continue, the female mosquitoes must hunt warm- blooded mammals like you. And they hunt, alright! Coming out after sundown and injecting you with anti- coagulant so you don’t even feel it when they come in for a bloody steal. Or hiding in your bedroom waiting for you to fall asleep (they can tell because of something to do with C02 changes when we sleep) before they emerge and feast upon you as if you were a buffet. They might stay in your home for days (if not found and killed) before returning to their waterhole, mating, and dropping their eggs into that pond of still-water.
When I first learned this er..interesting information, I felt differently towards mosquitoes and began to see the skeeters in a new light. After all, they were just future mothers looking for the nutrients needed for their young to survive! I could hardly hate creatures with a purpose so noble. But then I got bit by a b**ch and thought to myself ****** ******* ***** *******! Yeah, basically that.
Being eaten alive is not my cup of tea and certainly not the way I envisioned my Thailand days. It took me about a full week of waking up each morning with 2+ fresh bites for me to take action, but once I did, those mumma mosquitoes have said au revoir to Manika- Nia a la blood.
How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Heres what I used:
- I read once that someone had been bitten to bits by our mozzy enemies when working in the garden. To squelch the itching he/she (it didn’t specify) applied copious amounts of witch hazel. Upon returning to the garden, the mozzies surrounding his/her leg didn’t dare bite again. The actual effects of witch hazel as an insect repellent is unknown but a quick google search will reveal that many DIY mixes use this as a primary ingredient. Personally, I would not make my mix without it as I believe it kept the pests at bay and helped to soothe the bites that were already on my body. You can get a great alcohol- free one with rose water and aloe vera here.
Lemon Essential Oil
- This is rated as one of the top essential oils in repelling mumma mosquitoes and so I added about x8 drops to my mix. This is my favorite of all essential oils and any time I can add it to a mix, I’m a happy camper. This made it smell really nice as opposed to having a very strong astringent smell. This is my favorite one.
Tea Tree Oil
- Tea tree oil is an amazing oil when it comes to preventing bug bites, as our insect friends simply do not like what this oil gives off. This also works really well for an after- bite as it helps to soothe the skin and relieve the itchiness. The smell of tea tree oil is too strong for my nose’s liking, but mixed with the other ingredients (almighty lemon) it did the job without being overbearing. I put about x20 drops to really keep the mummas away. This is my favorite brand, I like Now Essential Oils.
- This is another oil that mosquitoes just don’t like. Yay for us! In places where the peppermint and spearmint leaves grow, mozzies naturally stay away, so it makes sense that adding the oil from such plants works in the same way. I added x15 drops. Again, of all the essential oils I have tried, this brand is my favorite, it’s the bestest!
In my mix, witch hazel is the most plentiful as I used it to fill my bottle and the rest was only drops of my essential oil friends. I used a very small pin- dropper glass bottle to house my repellent and add it to my skin before going out and before bed time. Although I’m happy with this application, most others that make their own mix elect to pour it into a spray bottle as its easier to apply. You can get one here.
The day that I elected to make this homemade mosquito repellent, it was as if the skeeters were afraid to come near me (yeah you’d better run!). I slathered up before bed time and awoke with not one new bite, and as me and the mister walked a mile to our gym we marveled at the way mozzy’s literally flew the other way (astounding!). Was it the lemon, the hazel, the tea tree, the peppermint or all of the above? I am not too sure, but because the mix is proving the test of time, you won’t find me altering it.
There you have it, friends, with that simple recipe you can make your own homemade mosquito repellent and enjoy your summer days free from unnecessary bites!
What did you think of this post? Have an even better recipe than the one above? Have some questions about what you read? Be sure to comment below and let’s discuss it further! Don’t forget to hit share buttons and share this info with loved ones who would appreciate it! Until next time 🙂