Spring is always a great time of year. The world greens up as more plants come into bloom and blossom. More birds are chirping, bees are hopefully still buzzing, and the sun seems brighter. The issue that many run into in the summer months, is the constant issue of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes seem to have been put on this Earth with no real purpose, besides feeding various animal species and annoying people incessantly. Mosquitoes historically have been public health issues, carrying malaria, West Nile virus, and more recently the Zika virus. Most people would grab for the bug spray but the harsh chemicals used in them have some people choosing more natural ways to stop mosquitoes.
Citronella candles are a common method used to repel mosquitoes over the summer. I grew up seeing these candles almost everywhere there was an event outside. Recently, more people have been growing the citronella plant to help stop mosquitoes. Sadly, the plant itself does not stop mosquitoes. The oil that is contained in the plant is what stops mosquitoes. This oil is what is used in the candle wax and is what dissuades the mosquitoes. Oil extracts can be combined in homemade recipes for natural insect repellent. When you crush up the pieces of a citronella plant, the oils that are contained in the plant are released for our use.
Growing citronella plants is fairly easy as they require little maintenance. Many people grow citronella in a pot as opposed to the ground so they can move it when needed. Additionally, you can apply crushed citronella directly, but as with anything, test a small amount first to make sure there is no bad reaction. Another plant that you can grow as a natural repellent is mint. (I wrote another article about mint which I encourage you to read!). Mint is very easy to grow much like citronella. They both require little maintenance but depending on the type will need more specific growing conditions.
There are other ways to stop mosquitoes for those without a green thumb. Springtime is full of rain storms and creates a lot of standing water in empty planting pots, old tires, and numerous other things. Eliminating these will stop mosquitoes from multiplying in your general area. Another way is to install a bat box nearby, preferably in a wooded area. Bats will have a safe place to rest and will be more likely to stay in the area to help get rid of mosquitoes. (There is an article I wrote on bats as well if you would like further information. Another very simple solution is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants when you think you may be in an area with a higher chance of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are a spring and summer pest much like gnats, ticks, and many other insects. With just a few easy steps, you can work towards a bug bite free summer. ‘Til next type - M.
Written by Michael Dour