Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Help! Lest they take me to their Queen

It's never been any big secret to me that mosquitoes find me to be delicious. From the time I was a kid if I wasn't in the house I needed to be hosed down with chemicals in order to keep from looking like I had a case of the measles on top of a bad case of the chicken pox. If they had their way they'd find a way to tie me to a tree and feed on me relentlessly. No joke.

Growing up I lived in the middle of some state land right across from a swamp. Mosquitoes kind of came with the territory. Also, at the time of my growing up, organic and homegrown wasn't all the rage and West Nile was unheard of so it was a very different period of my life. A summer night was spent swatting the occasional bug away if I sprayed myself down or a dozen (or two or three) if I hadn't.

Flash forward to current day. Mosquitoes still find me delicious, as evidenced during a three day camping trip last year where I bathed in Deep woods off and was still the recipient of nearly 50 bites. I've noticed that mosquitoes on an island are a bit on the tenacious and mean side though and will bite through your clothing and are typically none too bothered by smoke, candle or fire the way your average pest is. It's one of the inconveniences that comes with this sort of trip, sort of like peeing in the bushes. It's one more thing to remove you from the state of being comfy at home.

So imagine my annoyance when over the weekend the bastards tried to carry me off to their mosquito kingdom to make me their blood concubine. All I wanted to do was weed my garden and finish turning the last two beds (which I'll be starting from baby plants and not seeds since it's so late in the season) but no, they couldn't let me be, giving me 30+ bites. To add to my annoyance, I've begun to weed chemicals out of my life wherever possible, including my skin and hair care routines so I really wasn't fond of the thought of hosing myself down with chemicals just to weed the garden. I decided I'd wait until noon the following day when the sun would be shining directly on the garden, it would be massively hot and the mosquitoes would be lurking in their lairs waiting for it to cool down. Sure, I'd be covered in sunscreen and hotter then hell, but that beats out on the lumps, itching and possible diseases that mosquitoes bring right?

Not so much. In 20 minutes I had been bitten 12 times. I broke down and sprayed myself with the bug spray and got back to weeding with no more bites. After I was done, I decided to try to hunt down some home-made or at least organic alternatives and went to the local health shop yesterday to shop. I came home with something that in all honesty, should have worked as it's a high concentration of citronella blended with lemongrass and cedar in a carrier (which I'm under the impression bugs dislike), but nope. I went outside just now after spraying myself down and received quite a few bites in the 15 minutes I was out there before running like hell to the safety of my house. Awesome.

So, I'm sort of at my wits end here. I live in the suburbs with no lakes or swamps nearby. I keep my yard cut, weeds plucked and hedges trimmed. There's no standing water that I can find; no old tires, planters, etc where it can hide. I have a fairly high intake of garlic and really don't want to be wearing long pants and long sleeves since it's already humid and hot and it's only the first day of June.

So my question to you all is, can you think of anything else to try before I give up and just go back to spraying myself with the chemical stuff? How do all of you delicious blood meals avoid getting bitten? Because honestly, the diseases the mosquitoes carry make me think that if it's my only option it's one worth following through on.

20 comments:

  1. One of my favorite things about moving out of South Carolina to West Virginia was the smaller mosquito population! I never did find a solution besides staying inside. Good luck!

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  2. Thermacel. It uses a chemical, but it is very effective. The thermacel clips onto your belt and repels all biting insects. They're sold at sporting good stores for around $15. I don't know of any all natural repellant that works on all bugs all the time.

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  3. What brand did you try? Burts Bees worked really well for me.

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  4. try this if you want a more natural replant, ive made it and works great and use it on the kids and this guy swears byt it alot of his stuff is awesome and he has alot of free ebooks on different stuff. pretty cool site http://www.learningherbs.com/homemade_bug_spray.html

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  5. Ouch. I don't really know anything about bug spray because they usually leave me alone so it's not something I pay attention to.

    I hope you find something that works!

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  6. I know that you know I am crazy so let's just preface this by saying....so long as you don't mind smelling like salad....white vinegar 50/50 with water. We used to use it while visiting Tennessee in the summer when we went to the lake. I guess the mosquito poplation is not real keen on veggies. So give it try. I use vinegar for so many things.
    And as to the margaritas......if we are marching along to Hades....they will be blue margaritas and we shall have to hail a hades cab. tee hee

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  7. This cracked me up.....because I can SO relate! I can't go outside in the Spring and Summer without getting eaten alive! I haven't found anything natural that works all the time....even the chemical stuff doesn't always work.

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  8. The best I would be able to come up with is the link that Spiritrunner posted. I too am a feast for the little buggers and I find that not much will actually keep all of them away.

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  9. Maybe I should send you some of my blood... Mosquitoes don't like me. Seriously, for all my sweetness, you would think they would want a bite, but nope.

    And you know what? After reading Linda's comment, I have to wonder if it has something to do with my after (legs and other bits) shave lotion. I put vinegar and some other citrus in it. Hm, I'll write the recipe soon, I'm running out, so I kind of have to. But believe it or not (heck of course you believe it, you are a Witch) I have never actually measured the ingredients, but it works like a charm and it smells yummy (hopefully not to the mosquitoes).

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  10. Magaly I'd be real curious to see your recipe, I can't fathom how anything with vinegar can smell good. I can't stand vinegar! lol

    I've heard that some bugs don't like peppermint oil but can't for the life of me remember which ones right now. My problem is fleas - ever since I was little those buggers lived off me, bit my dad every so often and never touched my mom. A year-ish ago I was invaded by fleas and took me over 2 months to get rid of the fu@kers!! I didn't even have my kittens yet, I was pestles!!!!

    Good luck Sweetie and let us know if you find something that works or at least helps.

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  11. I can so relate.... Usually although we have a pond right next to our house, the abundant frog population keeps it down. Yet I have found this year to not be the case. I may only get a dozen or more bites each time I take Winston out to do his duty, but they expand enough that a dozen is plenty. They even bite the bottom of my feet. Likewise I do not like using the sprays if I can get away with it, yet usually resort to it.

    I will try Linda's vinegar trick. I know that it can be used for many things and it would not surprise me at all if it worked. I also like you try to keep garlic regularly in my system yet not sure if that helps... ALthough I would roll in garlic if I could but then I would have NO people around me. I am over to the site Spiritrunner left and check that remedy out as well. They seem to be extra big and extra hungrey this year... Magaly get your post up also.. I am game for almost anything...

    Now off to Linda's for some of those blue Margarits.

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  12. Well that sucks a big bag o' dicks. When I did my time in VA for 6 years I was miserable gardening because of the heat and bugs. My solution is to move back to Jersey : )

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  13. Not only do I hate their bites, but that little high-sonic buzzing sound they do, drives me nuts! You know what helped me, was taking garlic supplements. There's the type that doesn't make you reek of garlic, which keeps everything away, but both fleas and skeeters seem to hate garlic. I feel for you, Danni..I had to laugh about making you their blog concubine :)

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  14. Danni, I feel your pain. I can be in a room of 50 people and 1 mosquito and I'm am lunch. In fact, with 1 mosquito I'll still end up with 2 bites. Go figure.

    People have told me it's because of scented products which attract them, and I have noticed that the more earthy my scents are, the less I attract the bugs. Though, even given my fairly eco cosmetic routines (shampoos, etc) I'm still eaten alive regularly.

    My blood must be tasty!

    Now that I live in a big city, things have gotten better (who knew I'd ever count my blessings for smog) but I've been told that lavendar is a really effective repellent. I know you want to stay away from the chemicals, but good quality eco products using lavendar extract/oil to scent and not chemicals could be a good option. Lavendar soaps, and if you can find them, shampoos with natural lavendar oils, or buy lavendar oil and mix it with water to spray like a mist when outdoors, it's supposed to help. I believe that tea tree and eucalyptus might also be good but I'd have to double check my books. If you try it, please let me know if it works!

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  15. I was looking at my basil essential oil and the label says that it works as an insect repellent. Just how well it works I don't know, but since you're looking for tips (and since basil essential oil is all natural!) I figured I'd let you know.

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  16. They seem to realy like me as well! :) I have tried the "don't bite(bug) me patch" and seems to cut down the amount of bites by quite a bit for me. It uses a high dose of a vitamin B if I remember and the mosquitoes don't like it!Haven't tried any of the natural remedies yet but will give it a try!

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  17. I've always gone with keeping someone tastier nearby...oh, I'm a mean one...

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  18. If you make or use VanVan oil at all in your practice, try that in spray bottle with water. The citronella, lemongrass, palmerosa & vetivert are all very citrusy and seem to keep the bugs at bay.

    Love all these ideas - I'm going to try them this Summer!

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  19. Concubine??? So that is why they try to carry me away. ;-) Oh Danni, I can so relate to this living in TN. I have lived here my entire life and have never found an all natural repellant that works. Here is what we do and by "we" I mean hubby...

    He purchased "Ortho Max" from Walmart or Lowes and sprays it around the perimeter of the house (on the grass), fence lines, tall grass areas. It is made for ticks and ants and such but it really slows down mosquitoes and without it I wouldn't be able to go outside at all in these hot months. Now this is not a natural product so you want to wear shoes when you go outside after it is used and if you have pets, do not let them out until it has all dried or if possible, 24 hours after spraying to be safe. Good luck, sweetie!

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  20. LOL what great visuals, I can totally relate. I either have to deal with the allergic hell from the chemicals or the blood suckers! I've being wanting to try one of those little fans you clip on, but I think the mosquitoes will laugh and paint a target on me.

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