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Biting Insects Of Summer

May 9, 2017
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Having snow on May 1st makes it hard to think about those biting insects of summer. The most annoying insect I can think of is the mosquito. I have found some simple homemade recipes to keep these annoying pests at bay and how to treat those itchy bites once you have them.

When any of us thinks of summer, images of warm, sunny days come to mind. None of us wants to wear long sleeves in the heat just to prevent getting bit by mosquitos. Fortunately, it's not all mosquitoes that bite. Only the females feed on blood to nourish developing eggs. They say every animal has a purpose in our ecosystem, but I have yet to understand what purpose the mosquito has. Let's face it, they spread diseases such as encephalitis, malaria, West Nile and others. Some people even have other complications from bites such as allergic reactions.

Mosquito bites itch because when a mosquito bites, it injects a small amount of saliva into the wound to stop blood from clotting. This causes our bodies to react and produce a protein called histamine, which triggers the characteristic inflammation we see around a mosquito bite as well as the itching.

With so many people being conscious of what they put into or onto their bodies, I thought it would be nice to share some of the natural bug repellents that I have tried and that really work.

Lemon Eucalyptus oil works to repel mosquitoes.

Rubbing the skin with baby oil or imitation vanilla extract repels mosquitoes and black flies. These also smell better than the lemon eucalyptus oil.

Rubbing apple cider vinegar also repels mosquitoes. Although I have never tried this, I have read that if you eat enough apple cider vinegar on foods that you consume, you'll develop a body odor that will repel mosquitoes and black flies. If anyone tries this, let me know if it works.

There are also natural remedies you can use to get rid of those pesky mosquitoes from your yards, although personally, I buy citronella candles for burning.

Burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.

Eliminate their breeding sites on your property. Get rid of anything that can hold water old cans, buckets etc. Ponds are good however. Dragonflies love ponds and are a natural predator for mosquitoes.

Some people think 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.

Adding a bat house to your home will eliminate mosquitos. One small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in one hour. Not sure this is one idea I would try but someone might.

Well, I have covered preventing bites and keeping mosquitoes out of your yard, but what should a person do once they have been bitten. There are home remedies for bug bites and itching that also work.

Try a cool compress.

DO NOT scratch the bite area; this will only make it worse.

For itchy bites, rub on meat tenderizer or lemon juice.

A paste of mashed garlic can help stop itching.

A paste of baking soda and water provides much needed relief.

Full strength white vinegar relieves itching. Don't use this on any area that is raw; it will burn.

Oatmeal can also help provide itch relief and it works not only for bug bites.

If none of these home remedies work for you and your family, try BUG OUT. This is a plant-water based repellent that is formulated with lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, cedarwood, geranium and wintergreen. While pleasing to humans, these ingredients are noxious to insects.

A person can't bite back, but you should be able to relax on the patio, camp in the woods and simply enjoy nature without being bothered by swarming, biting insects. Hopefully, one of these natural remedies will help your beat the bugs this season.



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