Mosquitoes

Getting rid of mosquitoes – home remedies to combat little pests

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They are annoying troublemakers in the mild summer nights. And the same question always crops up – how can we get rid of mosquitoes without using chemicals? Fortunately there are effective home remedies for combating blood-suckers.

Getting rid of mosquitoes – not so easy

Just the buzzing of their little wings alone creates instant panic among some people, quickly leaping up out of bed or the garden chair. Then they either flap about wildly or stalk off, fly swat in hand. The hunt is not always successful. There are better ways of getting rid of mosquitoes. But what are they?

Timely prevention

You don't need to fight mosquitoes if they're not there, so you should prevent them multiplying at the right time. Remember that these pests breed in standing water. If you want to prevent this, then it would be best to let their breeding grounds dry out or make them inaccessible. Breeding grounds could be flower pots filled with rain water or water reservoirs such as bird baths. Scan your balcony or your roof terrace for reservoirs like that. If you find anything, you have two options; either pour the water away or cover the containers so that mosquitoes wanting to reproduce can't get in.

Mosquitoes

Wear the right clothing

Although this reduces the risk of being bothered by and stung by mosquitoes, it isn't fail-safe. Especially if you bare plenty of tempting skin on warm evenings. The best protection against being bitten are long-sleeved shirts and trousers made of strong fabric. You should wear light clothing because the blood-suckers prefer to land on dark surfaces. Snug textiles should be avoided because they sit directly on the skin. This makes it easy for the mosquitoes to attack us with their short sting. The ankles are a particularly critical area. The pests prefer to strike at lower parts of the body. Wearing socks helps to combat this. To be on the safe side, pull them over your trouser legs. You might not look your best, but if you're on the balcony on your own or with friends, it's not too bad. You can buy specially designed, mosquito-proof clothing from specialist shops or online.

Spray the mosquitoes away

Whilst clothing is more a passive defence strategy, home remedies apply a different tactic for getting rid of mosquitoes. You can use fragrances, for example. Mosquitoes react to people perspiring. Other factors are carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, and perfumes with sweet notes as well as sweat, which really attracts the mosquitoes. If you want to minimise the risk factors, then don't wear any floral perfumes, for example, and have a shower before heading out on to the balcony for the evening. However, you can't do anything about your breathing. The only thing to do is to try and mask the smell of carbon dioxide.

Vapours of essential oils are particularly good. Small amounts of essential oils can be trickled on candles or heated in bowls so that they waft through the air. The best things for this lavender, eucalyptus and camphor. You can also now get candles which exude mosquito-repellent fragrances. This includes notes of:

  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
  • Cedar
  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Neem

A real home remedy classic for getting rid of mosquitoes is to halve a lemon and sprinkle with some cloves. This releases ethereal vapours which send the pests flying away. Certain plants are said to have a similar effect. Mosquitoes are said not to like to get close to the following plants

  • Catnip
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Wormwood

A fresh breeze also helps to get rid of mosquitoes. This means you can use a working fan on the balcony to keep the blood-suckers at a safe distance.

Mosquitoes

DEET: irritating chemicals

In pharmacies and drug stores, there are a variety of sprays and tinctures for rubbing in. However some contain strong toxins such as DEET. Although they are a reliable means of repelling mosquitoes, they are harmful to us. The ingredients sometime irritate the skin, eyes or also the lungs. Even if it doesn't cause complaints, the chemical agent can cause people to feel unwell. Just one more reason for turning to home remedies.

You've been stung; what now?

The annoying thing about mosquitoes is not necessarily the buzzing sound they make, nor their sting, which we are practically unable to feel thanks to an anaesthetic agent in the saliva of mosquitoes. The worst thing is that the stung areas sooner or later swell, become red and especially start to itch. Scratching only gives temporary relief. In the long term, it only leads to itching getting worse because the skin becomes irritated, and in the worst case scenario, leads to inflammation caused by bacteria being introduced. So, hands off the mosquito bite!

So what can you do? Cool it down. The best way is to use saliva. Not only is it available at all times, but it also has a double function. It cools the skin when it evaporates and it helps fight the pain. In fact, it contains antihistamines which at least for a short period of time work against the histamine in the hives. Saliva is the body's own defence reacting to the saliva of the mosquitoes.

In addition to anaesthesia, mosquito saliva contains various proteins. Heat rather than cooling helps to fight these proteins because they decompose at a temperature of 45°C. Tip: placing heated water or a heated spoon on the sting for a few seconds has the desired effect. This approach works extremely well and stops the itching for at least a day or even permanently. However, exercise caution so that it does not cause burns or scalding. Specific easy-to-use devices are much safer. They heat mosquito bites for a few seconds to the optimum temperature. And the ordeal's over.