Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

It feels like spring will never get here since it just snowed in CT yesterday. Seeing as it is almost MID APRIL, I thought we were done with the snow but I suppose not.  I'm pretty sure though if I keep talking about spring and planning for spring, it'll make it come right?

It's worth a shot at least.

Along with the warmer months come gardens and nights outside. Nothing makes me happier than a day laying on the hammock reading in the sun followed by a night with friends surrounding the fire pit laughing.

With those warm summer days though, comes a downside - mosquitoes. Not only an annoyance, these bugs can cause some serious harm.  As climate change becomes a bigger and bigger problem, it improves the conditions for mosquitoes. According to Climate Central, dozens of cities across the Midwest, Northeast, and along the Atlantic Coast have all seen their mosquito seasons grow by at least 20 days over the past 35 years. More than 20 major U.S. cities have ideal climate conditions for mosquitoes at least 200 days each year.

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Between Zika and West Nile virus, mosquitoes are no joke and it is imperative to protect your family the best you can.  US Public Health officially recommends using bug repellent with at least 20% DEET concentration in it, especially for the most at risk populations such as pregnant women.  While DEET has been shown to have minimal health effects and can be used safely, you can increase your protection naturally.  Fend off the mosquitoes from not just your body but your yard with natural alternatives.

Mosquito Repelling Plants

As you create your garden this season, plan to incorporate natural bug repellents to truly create an eco-friendly oasis.  Check out these low-maintenance plants to add color while protecting your family from mosquitoes and their deadly diseases.

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Lavender

One of my all time favorite plants (and essential oils!), lavender is a fantastic natural bug repellent. That amazing smells humans love? Mosquitoes hate it! What a beautiful addition to the garden that is useful as well. Not only that, lavender is one of the best plants to attract bees as we discussed here for helping the declining bee population. Attract the good bugs, fend off the bad!

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Citronella

There is a reason citronella candles are common in fending off mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes don't like the scent of the oil found in this plant, which also makes an attractive grass addition to yards.

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Other Ways to Protect Against Mosquitoes

No Standing Water

Standing water = mosquito heaven.  Dump the kiddie pool at night when not in use and keep bird baths fresh.

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Use Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Want to avoid using DEET repellents? This is the only other recommended natural oil for mosquito-prone areas.

Cover up!

One of the simplest ways to repel mosquitoes? Make it impossible for them to get through to skin to begin with.  Wear tightly woven fabrics that they cannot penetrate.

Bat Houses

Bats get a bad rap in pop culture as being scary but in reality are fantastic for yards. A single bat can eat as many as 1,200 mosquitoes in an HOUR (source). Not only are they great for controlling mosquitoes but they are known as the 'night pollinator' and work their magic in your gardens when it gets dark. Their droppings are even fantastic fertilizers.

Make sure to hang the houses high up in trees, about 12-20 feet is recommended.  They prefer narrow, small spaces.

Don't forget about your pets!

Just because your dogs and cats have fur doesn't mean they are immune to mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are just as dangerous for our furry family members. Mosquitoes carry the heartworm disease, which, just like it sounds are actually tiny worms living in your pet's heart. This can cause lung disease, heart failure, and death if left untreated. The best way to fight this is through prevention!

Though deemed as safe for humans, DEET is dangerous for animals and can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritations so DON'T use human insect repellent on them.

Lemon eucalyptus oil is approved for use on pets and can help repel mosquitoes but don't leave it for chance. Talk to your vet about the best ways to protect your pet.  There are many monthly heartworm preventive medicines on the market.


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