The warm, sunshiny, fun-loving, carefree days of summer are almost here!
That means the kids will be out of school, and your family will spend more time outside playing, gardening, and entertaining.
While those days are eagerly anticipated all year long, they also bring mosquitoes out in droves – especially around homesteads that have animals (read: manure!). I know because we battle them from the time the weather turns warm until temperatures mercifully dip below 60 degrees F.
But when the mercury rises, it surely means biting, itching, ugly, raised welts, and a financial jackpot for the manufacturers of calamine lotion and other itch relieving creams and sprays.
But luckily, I have some amazing solutions help you you to get rid of mosquitoes – and these solutions are frugal AND chemical-free methods of keeping mosquitoes and their itchy, annoying bites at bay. (Because who wants to put toxic chemicals on their kids and animals, right?)
Grow your own mosquito-repelling plants
A few mosquito repelling varieties you can grow include citronella, basil, catnip, lavender, peppermint, and lemon balm (you can eat them all too!)
To use these natural solutions, start by crushing the leaves to release the plants’ aroma. This will release the essential oils. Then rub the leaves on your skin. The natural oils they emit will keep mosquitoes away and help keep you bite free.
This is a great one to use in the garden, where you likely already have these herbs growing. Make them convenient to use by arranging them in pots indoors and in outdoor areas where people tend to gather (you can encircle your entire patio in citronella plants like these for less than $100, for example!)
Wear white tees and other light summer colors
Light colors stand out to these annoying pests because they search for targets and sources of food during the daytime hours. That means that dark colors are more pronounced to them and they tend to shy away from lighter colors.
Try a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Rub it lightly on your skin or use it strategically around your home. Add a few drops to strands of ribbon and hang them near doors and windows.
The scent has a threefold purpose. It makes your home smell amazing, its aromatherapy properties promote relaxation, and the scent sends mosquitos on the run.
Make your own mosquito repelling spray
In a clean spray bottle, mix three cloves, eight ounces each of witch hazel and boiling water, and two tablespoons each of mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, and thyme.
Cover and steep, then cool and strain the mixture into the spray bottle. Use as a mist on skin and in the air. It makes a toxic-free, all-natural mosquito repelling spray.
If you want to use essential oils you have on hand, check out another great recipe I have that uses lemongrass and peppermint!
Rid indoor and outdoor areas of your home of standing water
Inside, make sure to drain sinks and tubs. Outside make a point of emptying kiddie, wading, or collapsible backyard pools.
Also, empty pet bowls and make sure your gutters are not clogged so that water can drain freely from the top of your house. Mosquitoes love standing water and are attracted to the light it reflects. Eliminating as much standing water as possible, sends mosquitoes off to look for water in other places.
Don’t let the beauty of summer get ruined by incessant mosquito bites or by their annoying buzzing sounds. Summer is a time for barbecues, pool parties, and picnics. Your home, garden, and environment can be itch free with one or more of the techniques listed above.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.