The mosquito, (‘little fly’ in Spanish) has been around for more than 30 million years. 

Only the female bites, attracted by our chemical signature  – heat, light, perspiration, body odour, lactic acid and exhaled carbon dioxide.

In fact, the plumper we are, the more we exhale gas, and the more she loves us – so a good incentive to lose those extra kilos!

When this mini menace sticks us with her large needle-like mouth part, she is feeling about for a blood vessel into which she ‘injects’ a not-so-delicous cocktail of saliva to stop our blood from clotting long enough for her to drink herself giddy.

We often feel nothing. Then the itching starts, caused by histamines released by the body, a natural immune response to the foreign mosquito saliva.

We scratch – and our immune system reacts, thinking it needs to up its defences. The more we scratch, the more it swells, and the more it itches!

Around 20% of us are highly attractive to mosquitoes. Diet, perfumes and cosmetics contribute to our attractiveness, as does the bacteria in our bodies, genetics, alcohol consumed, medical treatments, and our metabolism. Pregnant women are more susceptible to bites, as are women in general, possibly because they sweat less. Mosquitoes also prefer certain blood groups, type O being the tastiest tipple.

KEEPING THAT PESKY MOSQUITO AT BAY

THE NATURAL…..

Citronella
Use only pure essential oil of citronella — not fragrance oil.
Put drops across window sills and door ways. You will be amazed how well it prevents the mosquitoes from entering the house.

Garlic
Eat loads of fresh garlic. Mosquitoes can’t stand the stuff.

Lavender essential oil
Smells great and is a commonly used and effective mosquito repellent. Best diluted in a carrier oil like apricot kernel, sweet almond, coconut oil, or organic soy oil which also keeps mosquitoes at bay.

Essential oils melange
Mix 30 drops of essential oils, catnip, citronella, lavender, neem, and black pepper (about 6 drops of each) into about 30 ml of an unscented and natural oil or moisturiser, and rub a small amount onto skin. Mix into organic soy oil for extra protection.

Lavender and lemon
Mix 15 drops lavender oil with 3 – 4 tbsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Top up with water.

(FIND OUT MORE FROM CINDY GUILBERT OF NATURALE MAGICK.)

THE PRACTICAL…

      • Citronella candles can help keep mosquitoes out of an area, but don’t rely on them, particularly in the P-O as wind can dissipate the smoke and smell quickly.
      • Be sure door and window screens fIt tightly and are in good repair.
      • Wear shoes, socks, long trousers and a long- sleeved shirt (but ditch the hankie on the head!) when outdoors for long periods of time, light colours and tightly woven materials. Remember that the Tiger mozzie can still pierce clothing.
      • Apply insect repellent, the more DEET the better. Apply to clothes when possible, and sparingly to exposed skin.
      • Insect light traps (‘bug zappers’) do very little to help – do not rely on them!
      • Get rid of breeding places in your garden by removing water- filled containers like old tyres, pots and buckets, check bird baths, pet water dishes and paddling pools by emptying them at least once a week.

    AND THE JUST PLAIN SILLY!

  • Buy a cow.
    Cows give off the chemical signature that mosquitoes crave. Put it at the bottom of your garden.

  • Drink or even bathe in gin and tonic. The quinine in tonic keeps them at bay and the gin will stop you from feeling the bite until the next morning!!

And a few mozzie limericks from readers…..

Summer is coming and so,
Is our enemy the mosquito,
You can feel really numb
When you’re stung on the bum
During ‘in flagrante delicto’!
Caroline

A suave PO mosquito called Ben
Had a penchant for hairy-backed men
It pierced with a thwack
Dead-centre of back
Gave a whoop and did it again!
Hilda

A mozzie who thought he was bright.
Packed his bags and flew into the night
While perched on a log
He was ett by a dog
Now his bark is much worse than his bite!
Kate

A short while ago (if I’m right)
The mosquitoes were wiped out of sight.
But the Deet has worn off
And if that weren’t enough
They’re back. And they’re small. And they BITE!
Kristin

A young crooner mozzie called Bing
Was a little too loose with his sting
He bit one gal too far
And got squashed by her ma
Now his voice is quite high when he sing
Kate

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