Updated: May 31
If you live in a cold climate like Russia, Greenland, Canada, Iceland or the UK, you will be custom to a cold climate so the word 'mosquito' probably doesn't pop up in conversation as much as it does living in a hot climate.
'Mosquito' means 'little fly' which is a big group of roughly 3500 species of small insects which are a type of fly. It is April and already here in Catalonia the little chica's are flying around feeding on a moveable feast that is our human blood. As the Kipling quote goes, 'The female of the species is more deadly than the male', and as the indie rock song goes, by Liverpool band Space (written by Tommy Scott in memory of his late father), It is only the female mosquitoes that feed upon us in this way,
I am only aware of my father and I who do not react to mosquito bites. We assume it is because of our blood type which means our unique genes protect us. Even on safari and whilst spending time in an elephant sanctuary in Lao I did not get bitten, or more I did not react if I was bitten. We all secrete different scents so maybe it is the scent my blood type. Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to Type O blood and least attracted to Type A. I have oddly never needed to protect myself with a mosquito repellent, but as I live in a hot climate and everyone I know uses a repellent of sorts I wanted to share a few plant-powered alternatives.
A Scottish colleague of mine, based here in Barcelona reckons she has tried and tested every single mosquito repellent on the market. She was once bitten by an Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) which is the worse type of mosquito to be bitten by, as they spread West Nile virus through their larvae from standing water. If these Chico's bite you, you can catch Malaria which is life-threatening by destroying red blood cells, so whether you are travelling to the highlands of Scotland in the midst of the night searching for Nessie or you are on safari, getting bitten by any type of fly can be up there on the Richter scale of itches.
I can not cope with nasty intoxicating insect killer sprays. Instead, I opt for a natural plant solution. Here are three natural plant scents that drive mosquitos away, all of which look and smell pretty hanging around the house.
1. Lemon. Lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the more well-known natural repellents. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved eucalyptus oil as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.
2. Lavender. Lavender is a really common scent most people like and if you have ever been to the lavender fields in bloom in the Luberon, around the Mont-Ventoux, in the region of Sault you will appreciate the wonder of the scenery lavender fields of which mosquitoes detest the pungent scent of the purple flower, and so they stay well away from it. Fresh lavender works.
3. Citrus peel. Mosquitoes, like my Moll-cat, detest the smell of orange, lime and lemon peel. These citrus peels contain organic chemicals that have the ability to repel mosquitoes and other insects. When I was growing up, my Mum used to place the orange peel on the sofa to keep Tiger (the family cat) from sleeping on the sofa. There are different ways we can use citrus peels to help fight mosquitoes. Dried peel is a sensible alternative and a ridiculous way, is by rubbing the peel directly on your skin! A more sensible option is to source a product with a citrus scent and read the label.
I hang bunches of dry lavender from the vaults of my ceiling, not only do they make the place smell lovely, but the aroma is super relaxing and of course it keeps the mosquitos at bay.
If you really suffer from mosquito bites then a natural remedy may not work, therefore you will want to know what product my Scottish colleague recommends post-testing every product on the market? Hally insect repellent comes high-recommended apparently.