Farm to Table Living

Don't Let Zika Bee Your Summer's Buzz Kill

Pesky Mosquitoes Landing on Their Last Nerve: 5 Organic Tips for Staying Bite Free this Season

While summer is one of my favorite seasons for exploring the outdoors, I find biting insects to be a major downfall. In most regions with high temperatures during the summer, dusk is the ultimate time of day to spend some quality moments outside taking in the cool evening temperature feeling the boiling bustle of your surroundings winding down. As we get in perfect relax mode our irritating flyers are out and hungry. So frustrating when all you want to to do is enjoy that 10 degree difference in temperature. B. S. Nees GreenBee Homesteader
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Helpful Don’ts for Repelling Mosquitoes

  • Dark colored clothing: makes you a visible target for these insects.
  • Staying in sweaty clothing from the day's earlier activities: The chemical’s released from microbacteria on the skin are the number one attractors of mosquitoes
  • Being too Active: Mosquitoes are drawn to high body heat and increased levels of carbon dioxide.
      Updated studies have shown that the mosquitoes are not drawn to a person’s scent, but by the microbacteria that lives on the skin. Mosquitoes can locate a target at 50 yards and have a terrible foot fetish. Staying fresh and wearing light colored clothing to cover your skin are some preventative measures that will reduce the attraction of our pesky rivals. Also survey your surroundings make sure that there is no standing water containers. Reducing the possibility of breeding will help control the population in the immediate area.

Repel 

    Repellents have been effective, but the majority of available sprays containing chemicals that have been proven to cause serious medical problem from exposure and long term usage. Number one toxic chemical is Deet.

Deet has been linked to causing:

  • Seizures
  • Hypertension
  • Pain and watery irritated eyes
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Memory loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Hives, rashes, or blisters
  • Bradycardia

Permethrin an EPA scheduled carcinogenic. Linked to causing:

  • chromosomal
  • abnormalities
  • lung tumors
  • immune system problems
  • liver tumors
      Pyrethroids have been recently studied to cause possible behavior problems in children as well. Our furry babies/friends are in danger. A common chemical in dog only flea repellant. A few drops is lethal to cats. Our bees and water environments suffer greatly from exposure to this chemical as well.

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Save a Bee and Save Your Life using natural alternatives.

    A repellent Spray using one of the most reliable sources for keeping mosquitoes at bay is a natural bug spray or lotion made from Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil. Australian Researchers used a 5% essential oil concentration with 40 mg of the active ingredient in their solution. Let's add a few more oils and create a multi species combating bug spray that is safe for you and your environment. When calculating your drops per milliliter it is important to look the essential oil’s specific drops count. In this recipe the active ingredients range from 30-36% concentration per solute mass for this solution while using a 5% concentration of the essential oil.

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    Adding measured drops amounting to no more than 5% concentration of essential oil to 3.5 fluid oz of water or witch hazel to create a solution that is 95% effective for three hours according to a research study conducted in Australia. [1]

4.16 fl oz solution:2 oz witch hazel or vodka 

The alcohol acts as an emulsifier and may also extend the shelf life of the oil blend.

2 oz of soybean oil/ fractionated coconut oil 

    (remains a liquid at room temperature)

Either, increases protection time. Can use almond or olive oil, but the featured ones have been tested in natural bug repellant recipes. Coconut oil is one of the most effective carrier oils. The absorption rate is very high and fast. Soybean oil has a slower evaporation rate increasing the window of bug free fun. Try using 1 oz of each for the added extra boost in both absorbing the oils onto the skin's surface with less need for reapplication.[3]

1 (1/16 fl oz) teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

for best results use the highest concentration of vanillin, Vanilla planifolia, from either Mexico or Madagascar, but any pure extract will work. Slows evaporation rate of the oils and is commonly used in perfumes.

Therapeutic grade Essential Oils ONLY

    Therapeutic oils are rather expensive, but you will be able to make enough spray to last the season and then some. Only make as much as you need to preserve the sprays shelf life and level of effectiveness.

11 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil derived from the lemon-scented gum tree (Corymbia citriodora aka Eucalyptus citriodora). Make sure to read the fine print to ensure the purchase of the correct oils.

11 drops Citronella Java, use a Java~Winteranius variety with high levels of cintronellal and citronellol

10 drops of lavender (vera), antimicrobials effectively kill off the bacteria on the skin that are attracting the mosquitoes.

10 drops of catnip In past studies, the researchers had found that catnip oils could repel cockroaches. The Iowa State University cited 80% repellent of mosquitoes. DEET could only repel 55% using the same test. [3]

10 drops of basil (Ocimum americanum)

    Substitute neem for any of the last three or make a combination including the neem oil. I left it out because it can turn to a solid in cool temperatures and it is harder to mix the oils into the solution. Adding a liquid soap to the solution like ivory or unscented dish soap will help when adding neem oil to the mix. Shake well before application when using neem.
    Play around with the bottom three oils. There are other insect repelling essential oils oils out there these are just the best combinations for the most effective protection against mosquitoes in your area. There are Lemon Eucalyptus Oil repellants available on the commercial market, but making your own will guarantee the proper concentration of the oils and will end being more cost effective considering you can make up to 20 batches of the 4.16 fl oz solution. Start with the small batch before making a larger amount. Some people are sensitive to the oils so understanding your comfort level for the scent is important as well.
    With the extra boosters in this recipe it is possible to take the 3hr 95% protection rate to a 4-6 hours of effective protection. Please note when using essential oils test spray on small patch of skin to determine your level of sensitivity.

Do not use this spray or oils on your animals

    research your oils for pet safety and concentrations. Some oils work for dogs that will harm your cats. Stay informed and read up first.
    Test on a non visible side of garment to monitor for possible staining. Make sure to avoid leather or other sensitive material when using the oil based spray. Finding what works for you and your environment. Get wild and start experimenting with your own signature repellant.

    Change your clothes (especially socks) mosquitoes have a foot fetish for sweaty feet, freshen your breathe, wash up using Citronella Java 100% pure oil in your soap, spray clothes and exposed skin with essential oil spray.

    Finding Sanctuary
    Next is looking beyond your person. Since mosquitoes are aware of potential targets at 50 yards try creating a barrier around your entertaining areas. Creating a barrier around your home or garden is most effective when using garlic. Mosquitoes can not stand the scent of garlic.
    Our home has a terrible mosquito problem if outside at dusk we are guaranteed at least 4 to five bites per 15 mins of activity. I always heard that garlic is a good deterrent. Even though ingesting garlic or B1 vitamins have little to no effect when repelling mosquitoes, the scent of fresh crushed garlic is amazing.
    I made some fine mesh pouches crushing two to three cloves per pouch. We placed a several little pouches around the chairs and tables and could visibly see them fly up smell the garlic and turn around. It was pretty amazing.
    Currently on the market there is a spray for yards that contains industrial strength garlic oil as its primary ingredient. The natural pest control spray is very effective when it comes to creating a mosquito free area.
    Eliminating standing water Priority number one for population control, if standing water exists on your property look into converting the area into a dragonfly habitat. Dragonflies love tasty mosquitoes and are a very pretty addition to your backyard ecosystem. Join GreenBee in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, registerto be added to the map!
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Introducing predator species

    One of the best and chemical free options for fighting back. Bat houses are very effective as well. In the united states the majority of bat species are endangered. Placing a bat house on a pole or on a building 15 to 20 ft off the ground in a sun facing spot is the most effective location for successful bat houses. The Organization for Bat Conservation has detailed instructions on the color to paint for the specific climate in your location. For GreenBee locals in Dallas use a light medium or light shade of paint on the exterior of the box and always use a dark color in the interior to mimic a cave. Average daily temperatures in July areas with a temperature of 85 degrees or less use a black or dark shade of paint, 85-95 degrees use a dark to medium color, in areas that reach 100 or over should use white or a light shade. Then register yourbat habitat[4]

GreenBee

    Contact your local buzzing bees @

AskaBee

B.S.Nees

  • Venter, G.J., Labuschagne, K., Boikanyo, S.N.B. & Morey, L., 2014, Citronella. (2014, August). [PDF].‘Assessment of the repellent effect of citronella and lemon eucalyptus oil against South African Culicoides species’, Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 85(1), Art. #992, 5 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v85i1.992 [1]
  • Drops-per-ml [PDF]. (n.d.). Boulder: The Ananda Apothecary. [2]
  • Paulch, G. E. (2009). Characterization of botanical terpene activity in arthropods [PDF]. Ames: The Graduate College at Digital Repository @ Iowa State University. Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 11960 [3]
  • Microsoft Word - Bat House Color Recommendations and.docx [PDF]. (n.d.). Bat Conservation International. Batcon.org [4]

 

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