After several days of storms and flooding rains, we finally get a little break today. The sun greeted me brightly this morning. As I went out to feed the chickens every step I took sounded like I was walking on a sponge. The rain has been a blessing though many areas in Oklahoma are dealing with devastating flooding. We did not receive quite that much here but we are saturated.
With all this rain comes the mosquitoes. I segment the seasons even further into periods like that time between Winter being over and mosquito season. You know, those few weeks where you can sit outside at dusk and enjoy not being bitten or swatting away buzzing, biting, bugs. I love that time! Well, it’s over and hail in the ‘squeeter season.
Last year I attempted to make a mosquito repellent. I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into it and it wasn’t too effective. This year I am determined to do better! Fortunately, chickens help and we have bats and dragonflies, but they don’t get them all and there are always a few lurking around just waiting for the opportunity to mess with my serenity!
DIY non toxic repellent is always good to have on hand.
I have found several spray recipes.
This one looks good and I think I will try it this year. For more information, click the link.
- 2 tablespoons of one or a combination of the following: witch hazel or vodka (find witch hazel here)
- 2 tablespoons of one or a combination of the following: grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or neem oil (which contains natural insecticidal compounds) – (where to buy these oils)
- ½ teaspoon vodka as preservative (if not already using)
- 100-110 drops essential oils (where to buy 100% pure essential oils)
Sample Bug-Repelling Essential Oil Blend:
- 55 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (reported by the CDC to be a good natural substitution for DEET in repelling insects, but not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
- 15 drops cedarwood essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil (if using, choose Lavandula angustifolia – “Lavender (40-42) essential oil” does not have the same insecticidal qualities)
- 15 drops rosemary essential oil
Add carrier liquids to small spray bottle (3 or 4 oz. works well so there is room for shaking). Add essential oils. Shake well before each use. Natural bug repellent will need to be reapplied every few hours for maximum effectiveness.
Of course, Citronella candles are a staple. I found this little gem and given my love of mason jars and the many ways they can be used, I’m excited to try this.
There are also some plants that help repel mosquitoes.
Plant these in your landscaping or in strategically placed pots. I am going to invest in some pots and soil and place these near my doors and in our sitting area. I have lots of Lemon Balm out here and will simply transplant new ones into pots. Once you have Lemon Balm, you always have Lemon Balm! And I have plenty of Marigolds too that reseed everywhere and come back with a vengeance.
Other measures to decrease the mosquito population is to eliminate areas the mosquitoes are attracted to and will breed in, which is of course, water. One friend suggested to allow the mosquitoes to lay their eggs where you have standing water like watering bowls, buckets, bird baths etc. then dump them out.
Clean out wet leaf litter. This is where we have a problem. Our woods are full of leave litter that will be impossible to clean out. The best I can do is to clean out the areas close to our home, garden, and other areas that where we hang out.
Install bat houses. Bats love mosquitoes.
We have several bats that visit us every night at dusk. I think many people are getting over their bat phobia as they learn more about them. Here is a good article by Mother Earth News about bats.
There are also commercial mosquito traps available to purchase or make your own. I have not tried this method yet but I think I’ll give it go this year. A few of my friends have suggested it. You will need water, brown sugar, yeast and a plastic soda bottle.
That should be a good start to making your Spring and Summer a little more enjoyable.
Do you have some tried and true methods? I would love to know what they are. Please comment.