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
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.
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.
- 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!!