After enduring a never-ending winter plagued by storms and snowfall, we’ve all earned a long and relaxing summer. However, with the arrival of summer comes mosquito season—and few things will ruin an evening BBQ or a stroll outdoors quicker than a swarm of everyone’s least favorite insect. That’s why we’ve rounded up 15 foolproof ways to outsmart the single worst part of summer: your not-so-friendly neighborhood bloodsucker. So read on, and stop scratching once and for all! And once you’re ready to head outdoors with confidence, be sure to check out these 15 Summer Family Trips Your Teenage Children Won’t Hate.
Dab A Bit Of Lemon Eucalyptus
A Bolivian study found that Corymbia citriodora, or lemon eucalyptus, is over 96% effective at repelling mosquitoes for up to four hours. This natural remedy is extracted from the leaves of lemon eucalyptus trees and in its essential oil form is made up of 85% citronellal, which gives it its repellent properties. A bottle of this sweet-smelling oil is available at most health food stores for as little as $5 and should last you the entire season.
Burn Some Citronella
Perhaps one of the best-known mosquito repellents is citronella oil, an all-natural product made from the leaves and stems of various lemongrass species. According to the NPIC, the strong scent of citronella works to mask the human scents that attract mosquitoes, thereby keeping them at bay. This product is commonly found in citronella candles, but you can also dab it on your wrists as an essential oil or even protect your barbecue with incense sticks.
Bathe In Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is praised by doctors as both a mosquito repellent and a bug bite remedy. “I do love [apple cider vinegar] for bug bites,” dermatologist Dr. Marie Jhin told CNN. “It’s a very underutilized home remedy. If you have a lot of bites, put two cups in a full tub of water and soak. It will help with itching.”
Rub Onions On Your Skin
It may sound (and smell) gross, but rubbing onions on your skin before heading outside is a cheap and easy way to disguise yourself from mosquitoes. The strong scent of the onion will mask the smells that appeal to mosquitoes—unfortunately, however, you might also scare away a few humans, as well, with your new perfume.
Look For DEET
DEET, the common shorthand for chemical N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, is the active ingredient in several insect repellents, and arguably the best. In a 2015 study testing the ability of several mosquito repellents to keep mosquitoes away, three of the four most effective products contained DEET. “DEET is the standard,” Dr. Mustapha Debboun, director of the mosquito control division of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, told NPR. “All the repellents being tested are tested to see if they beat DEET.”
Wear Light-Colored Clothing
Mosquitoes use sensory cues to detect whether a human is nearby. One of the ways a mosquito does this is through thermal sensory information, where it can sense a human’s presence by their body heat. Dark colors like black and navy blue absorb heat, so humans wearing them will easily attract mosquitoes. In contrast, wearing lighter colors makes it easier to hide from mosquitoes in plain sight. And for more genius ways to maximize your summer, check out these 100 Motivational Weight-Loss Tips for Summer.
Though no one can quite figure out why, beer is just as much a mosquito vice as it is a human one. According to one study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, drinking just one 12 oz. beer is enough to “stimulate mosquito attraction.” You may also want to check out The One Beverage to Avoid in the Summer—it contains almost 1,000 calories in just one serving!
Add Rosemary To Your Garden
If you have a green thumb, then planting rosemary around your house can be a fun and pretty way to repel mosquitoes. This needle-like shrub has aromatic essential oils that mosquitoes hate, so anywhere you plant them will be a blissfully bug-free haven. If you live in a cooler region, plant your rosemary in pots and bring them inside once winter hits so your mosquito repellent can thrive for years to come.
Scatter Coffee Grounds Outside
Though coffee grounds help us humans look alive in the morning, they have quite the opposite effect on mosquitoes. According to the EPA, coffee grounds can be used as a bug repellent—and not just for mosquitoes, either. In fact, sprinkling this stuff around your backyard will repel everything from ants to bees and wasps!
Turn On The Fans
Flying against the force of a fan is no easy feat, which is why mosquitoes hate them so much. Keeping a few fans blowing at your outdoor bash is a win/win: Not only are the mosquitoes nowhere to be found, but your guests are also kept nice and cool.
Keep The Beauty Products To A Minimum
Mosquitoes love sweet-smelling beauty products like hairspray, perfume, and lotion, so avoid wearing anything with a strong scent if you plan on being outside all day. Floral scents in particular are especially attractive to mosquitoes, so steer clear of anything that makes you smell like a fresh bouquet.
Rub Yogurt On Inflamed Bites
If a mosquito somehow slips into your personal bubble and bites you, slathering on some yogurt should instantly relieve the desire to scratch it. Yogurt contains anti-inflammatory compounds that simultaneously shrink the bites and stop the itching. Not to mention that most people already have this at-home remedy sitting in their fridge!
Cover Your Bites With Honey
Honey is the be-all and end-all cure for everything—mosquito bites included. Similar to yogurt, the sticky substance is full of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components that reduce the swelling around a mosquito bite and thus relieve the itching.
Get Rid Of Standing Water
What do mosquitoes and Michael Phelps have in common? They both love water. The flying pests are drawn to pools of standing water (like buckets of rain and gutters), so be sure to dump these out. If you do have a pond, you can protect it from mosquitoes by buying “mosquito fish” that eat the larvae and control the population.
Lather Yourself In Lavender
Mosquitoes hate everything that smells delicious, so naturally they’re not huge fans of lavender. Whether you want to plant some lavender in your garden or light a lavender-scented candle on the porch, just a little bit of the odorous scent goes a long way.
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