Use these natural mosquito repellents and mosquito bite remedies to keep the mosquitoes away and get relief from itchy bug bites!
Staying away from mosquitoes and treating bug bites can be some of the most annoying parts of summer. When summer hits, it can be hard to walk outside without being swarmed by mosquitoes. No one wants to wear long clothes in the heat just to prevent mosquito bites, but the bugs can be relentless.
It’s not all mosquitoes that feed on blood, though: male mosquitoes only drink nectar, whereas female mosquitoes nourish their developing eggs with protein-rich blood. To that end, the female mosquitoes prefer to bite ankles and wrists, where blood vessels are nearer to the skin’s surface.
Did you know: A higher body temperature and more sweat make you more likely to be bitten.
Mosquitoes spit an anticoagulant under our skin when they bite us, leaving us with whatever disease they’re carrying (encephalitis, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever). If you have any complications with bug bites (besides itching), check for symptoms of these other diseases.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
When a mosquito bites you, it injects a small amount of saliva into the wound to stop your blood from clotting. Our bodies react to this foreign substance and, in defense, produce a protein called histamine. Histamine triggers the characteristic inflammation seen around mosquito bites, as well as the itching.
Natural Bug Repellent Remedies
Topical Mosquito Repellents
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil is recommended by the C.D.C. to repel mosquitoes, as is picaridin.
- Many readers claim that rubbing apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects. If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies. One great and refreshing summer drink for this purpose is switchel, made from apple cider vinegar.
- Some people swear garlic works and swallow slivered garlic to ward off these summer pests. Others take garlic tablets or rub garlic juice directly on their skin.
- If you are going to use a DEET repellent, do not use one with more than 25% DEET. Unlike the SPF rating in sunscreens, higher concentrations of DEET don’t mean more protection.
Though it might not give you the most pleasing scent, garlic juice could help to keep mosquitoes away.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard
- To keep mosquitoes to a minimum, eliminate their breeding sites on your property. They need standing water to lay their eggs in, so empty those puddles, old cans, buckets, and plant pots. If you have a pond, don’t worry—dragonflies love ponds, and they are a big mosquito predator.
- It is thought that certain plants repel a broad spectrum of insects. Marigolds, chrysanthemums, asters, and pyrethrum daisies, as well as herbs such as basil, anise, and coriander, are all thought to repel insects. See more plants that repel mosquitoes.
- Citronella candles are not proven to work, however the smoke repels mosquitoes. Or, burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.
- Add a bat house to your home! Did you know that one small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in one hour? Check this page for more information on bats and other creatures that eat annoying pests!
- Be aware that using pesticides to get rid of mosquitoes can also harm more beneficial bugs like fireflies and dragonflies. Try some home remedies before making that decision!
Mosquito Bite Relief: Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Itching
- It helps to ice the area of the bite to constrict the capillaries near the skin’s surface and reduce swelling.
- If you are going to use a topical cream, stay away from caladryl and calamine lotions for mosquito bites; it’s better to apply a low-potency hydrocortisone and simple patience.
- Remember not to scratch the bite; this will only make it worse. For itchy bites, rub on meat tenderizer or lemon juice. A paste of mashed garlic can also help make bug bites stop itching.
- White vinegar is another remedy for relieving the itch of insect bites. Apply it in full strength. Don’t use vinegar if the area is raw. See more household uses for vinegar.
- A paste of baking soda and water can provide much-needed relief to bug bites. Learn more about the countless household uses for baking soda.
- Oatmeal can also help to provide itch relief—not only for bug bites.
- Some people have luck with high doses of vitamin B1 (100 milligrams, two or three times a day), but it doesn’t work for everybody.
- If you have an intense reaction to mosquito bites, consult your doctor.
DEET-Free Insect Repellents
If you’re looking for a non-toxic insect repellent, we also recommend this product: BUG OUT. The water-based BUG OUT Spray in a recyclable plastic pump bottle is chemical-free, yet creates a powerful bug barrier on your clothing and exposed skin. Definitely an outdoor essential to prevent being eaten alive!
The same plant-based repellents that work in the garden work on your skin. BUG OUT is formulated with lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, cedarwood, geranium, and wintergreen (to name a few). These scents are pleasing to humans—and noxious to insects. You can’t bite back, but you can relax on the patio, camp in the woods, and enjoy nature without being bothered by swarms of biting bugs!
We hope these natural mosquito repellents and bug bite remedies help you beat the bugs this season! Have some tips of your own? Please post in the comments below!