Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your al fresco dinner.

On a warm summer evening, when it’s nice enough to enjoy your g&t in the garden, or you dinner or just to read a good book, mosquitoes sort of think the same thing and are out and about to annoy us. Of course that is not the real reason, mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night looking for food and multiply, avoiding daylight at all costs because sun exposure can dehydrate and kill them. Insect repellents are there as a prevention of insect-borne diseases and painful and nasty insect bites. In this Blog we’ll mention a couple of natural solutions to keep the insects away. Homemade repellents ensure no harsh chemicals ending up on and in your skin, most repellents you buy, contain substances that can be toxic or irritating to sensitive skin. If you search for ‘insect repellent’ you can read about what chemical repellents like DEET and other harsh chemicals might do to your health, that of your children and to the environment.

Basil

Repels house flies and mosquitoes.

If you specifically want to use a spray, you can make your own. Put 5 ounces of cleaned, fresh basil leaves into a container and pour 4 ounces of boiling water over them. and let it infuse for several hours. Remove the leaves and squeeze out all of the leaves’ moisture into the mixture and thoroughly mix 4 ounces of vodka with the basil-water ‘brew’. Store in the fridge and apply as a spray when going outdoors. Be sure to keep the spray away from your eyes and nose……oh, and your mouth. If you can’t be bothered making your own repellent, just put some basil plants in containers near your house doors and in outdoor areas where you like to relax or entertain. Basil is delicious in salads, sauces, soups and many many other recipes.

Catnip

Repels mosquitoes, house flies, stable flies, cockroaches and termites
Attracts cats

Catnip is a perennial, herbaceous plant, related to the mint family, that grows up to 100 cm. and blooms in summer. Researchers report that Nepetalactone, the essential oil isolated from the catnip plant which gives the plant its characteristic odour and acts as a cat attractant, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. You can also make your own spray. Place the leaves in a food processor and put the pulp in a pot. Heat half a litre of water to the boiling point and pour it over the catnip pulp. Soak the pulp in the water for about 10 minutes and proceed to strain the leaves out. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and refrigerate. Repellent is ready for use.

Lavender

Repels moths, ticks, fleas, flies and mosquitoes

Who doesn’t love the smell of lavender? Guess everybody does but moths, flies, fleas and mosquitos absolutely hate the smell. Hang bundles of dried lavender in your home and the flies will stay away and if you put dried lavender in your clothes drawers, there’s no chance for the moths to come and visit. And if you’re not keen on mosquitoes, apply lavender oil directly to the ankles, wrist, or feet. The oil also repels fleas and ticks, but doesn’t kill them. Added benefits are that lavender oil nourishes the skin and has a calming effect, which helps you falling asleep.

Lemongrass

Repels mosquitoes, flies, gnats, ticks and ants

Lemongrass contains citronella, a natural oil often found in mosquito repellents but is also used to attract honey bees. This perennial grass, native to Malaysia, grows in countries like India, South Africa, Guatemala, China, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia, Sri Lanka, Laos etc. and can reach up to 2m. Lemongrass, as a natural insect repellent, is effective and much safer than chemical-laden commercial repellents. The only thing you’ve to do is to put some small lemon grass plants into your home. As an insecticide, plant it as a companion plant near the plants that are most affected by insect pests or use it as a border around your entire garden.

Lemon thyme

Repels mosquitoes

This hardy herb will repel mosquitoes only when you bruise its leaves to release the essential oils. Put a few lemon thyme shrubs around the patio and, when you’re sitting outside, offend hovering mosquitoes by crushing a few leaves on the plant to release the scent. The essential oils are also used in antiseptics, asthma and respiratory aromatherapy, deodorants, and disinfectants.

Mint

Repels mosquitoes, ants and flies

Mint is best grown in pots rather than the ground because it spreads aggressively and plant them strategically in the garden and the insects will stay away. Make your own spray by cutting fresh mint leaves and put them in a container. Add apple cider vinegar, vodka and lemon peels and leave it overnight. Containers of mint strategically placed in the garden or on the patio will help keep nearby plants insect free. If you want to protect your dog r cat, just crush a few mint leaves and rub the substance on your pet’s fur before they go out. You can also make sachets with broken mint leaves and place them around in your house.

Rosemary

Repels mosquitoes and lice

An easy repellent spray to make is, adding 250 gr. of dried rosemary leaves to 2 litres of water and let it boil for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour a litre of cool water into another container and strain the rosemary water into the container. Pour small amounts of the blend into spray bottles to apply directly to skin and outdoor pets and store in the fridge. The plants can be grown in containers on a patio or grown in herb gardens and planted in landscaped beds. Rosemary’s oils are as delicious to home cooks who use herbs as they are unpleasant to many insects. The plant itself and its cuttings are effective repellents.

If you have any questions and or comments, please feel free to contact us.

fresh@freshismore.com