The trouble with paradise? Biting insects! Different people attract Mosquitos to differing degrees. Unfortunately I’m a bug magnet. Old wives tale maybe, but I’ve heard redheads are a particular favourite of Mosquitos.
As something that was originally tested as a pesticide in farming, I try to avoid chemical repellents containing Deet wherever possible and with careful and consistent application, avoidance techniques like nets and long sleeves/ trousers, natural repellents can work just as well. As a potential pesticide candidate Deet can obviously be harmful to wildlife if it transfers from your skin to waterways for example. It is also a known irritant and has been involved in some cases of neurological damage to children, though not proven responsibe.
I have used the incognito repellent from Holland and Barrett (buy on the two-for-one offer days), I like the smell and it works well against Mosquitos, but it doesn’t keep away biting ants, sand flies and the little black flies – the Brazilian borrachudo or Belizian Botlass flies.
Lovely, wonderful Pina at Sattvaland introduced me to a homemade version of Oregano oil with olive oil, which I’ve spiced up and added eucalyptus oil to and used instead a coconut oil base. It works well as long as the oil is still on the skin, needs monitoring and reapplication but it certainly gets you through a bonfire on the beach or working in the garden. Be mindful of the sun, coconut oil offers a SPF of about 4 – 6, for those on the whiter side of the skin spectrum this won’t be adequate sun protection to even cover a sunny spring day in England!
Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Citronella, Lemongrass, Geranium, Rosemary and Oregano are just some of the essential oils that work as a bug deterrent. As essential oils they should be diluted so as not to ‘burn’ the skin or build a sensitivity to the oil. Added to any oil carrier, it’s possible to keep bugs away, nourish the skin and smell wonderful. See the info graphic below for easy advice on the safe level of essnetial oil drops per bottle size.
Many commercially available repellents use alcohol to carry the repellent agent, which can be drying to the skin, but some may prefer a sprayable repellent without the oil – in that case distilled water, witch hazel & veg glycerine can be used – check out wellnessmama for the recipe.
Mosquito 2 copyright belongs to João Trindade
Essential oil image copyright belongs to Honolulu Media