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Photo Credit goes to Flickr User daBinsi

Photo Credit goes to Flickr User daBinsi

Warm weather is such a welcome visitor and summer is just way too short. The bugs, in our case gigantic horror movie material mosquitoes, I could do without. Let’s face it, nothing ruins a good time quicker than a nasty, swarming mosquito. I am getting increasingly concerned as summer draws near. Morgan and Avery are getting more adventurous each day and they love the great outdoors. I want them to enjoy the sunshine, but would prefer to stay away from chemical based insect repellents. There is just so much conflicting information regarding the use of DEET on children I decided my best option was to do my research and make an informed choice. Whatever the decision, there are things we can do to avoid and control mosquitoes.

Around the House:

An important part of mosquito control around your home – make sure mosquitoes have no place to lay their eggs. Mosquitoes need water for certain stages of their life cycle so it is important to monitor standing water sources.

  • Get rid of standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once a week to eliminate potential mosquito habitats.
  • Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.
  • If you choose repellents use those that are EPA-registered mosquito repellents and follow label directions and precautions closely.
  • Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin.
  • Stay indoors at sunrise, sunset and early in the evening when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug” lights, which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary lights.
  • Cover all gaps in walls, doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
  • Completely cover baby carriers and beds with netting.

Fun Ideas:

A Natural Approach:

If you are considering a more natural approach there are many essential oils known to repel insects including:

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Rosemary

One of my favorite DIY Insect Repellents contains Purification (where to buy) and Thieves (where to buy) essential oil. These two blends contain many of the oils mentioned above and are effective bug repellents. This blend is easy to make and can be sprayed on human and fur babies alike. Bonus, it makes a great stinky dog spray in between baths and also repels fleas.

DIY Insect Repellent:

  • 8 oz. Spray Bottle
  • Distilled Water
  • Witch Hazel – 2 oz.
  • Thieves Essential Oil – 15 drops
  • Purification Essential Oil – 25 drops

Fill spray bottle ¼ full with Witch Hazel. Add Thieves and Purification Essential Oils and swirls to mix. Fill remainder with distilled water, replace sprayer and shake well. Apply before going outside and frequently reapply while enjoying your time outdoors.

It is important to note that the Environmental Working Group recommends individuals in high-risk areas and those needing long-lasting protection reconsider using botanically based bug repellents, aside from Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Again, it’s all about what is right for you. Always do your research so you can make the best choice for your circumstance and family. Have a fantastic weekend!

References:

Environmental Working Group (2013). EWG’s guide to better bug repellent. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org

Environmental Protection Agency (2013). Mosquito Control. Retrieved from http://www2.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol

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