Two weeks ago I discovered that I am allergic to mosquito bites. Not just, oh they swell a bit or look a bit more red and itch, but like each bite swells the diameter of two to three twonies (or a baseball for non-Canadians ;) ), hurts like I don't know what, leaves bruising for weeks afterwards and looks disgusting.
(The bite the day after being bitten. It's like an extra head is trying to grow out of my arm...)
I've always been sensitive to mosquito and black fly bites. Growing up with a cottage, it's not like I'm not used to living with flies. I have pictures of me as a pre-teen playing badminton on a wrigged up net decked out in full fly netting gear. I did my fair share growing up of spraying DEET liberally all over my body. It makes me shudder to think I spent summers inhaling that stuff.
I am not really a city girl at heart.
But those bites.
I refuse to buy fly repellent filled with toxic chemicals. But I really don't want to spend my entire summer stuck inside, nor do I want to get bitten on my face and have a huge swollen monstrosity on MY FACE. So what are my options?
A few months ago we were gifted a citronella plant. Yay! I managed *not* to kill it (bonus!) and will be propagating the plant to have many all around our deck. Woo! So that was step one. So far though, sitting next to the plant doesn't seem to really do anything. I'm still swarmed with flies.
We also bought a bat house months ago and put it up. Sadly, I haven't seen anything around it... so I'm unsure if there is a family there this year. Maybe it takes a few years for the bats to find the houses? Anything else I can do to attract bats?
I'd also like to build swallow bird houses. I happen to have a friend who is doing her PhD on the environmental impacts of swallow nesting... so I should ask her. I have to make the birdhouse squirrel and crow/raven proof though- so it may need reinforcement around the entry hole.
Ok, so those are nature's remedies to mosquitos. Following are some extra product ideas for mosquitos:
Wearing covering clothing doesn't really work. My first few bites were THROUGH JEANS. Mosquitos are crazy suckers who will bite through anything.
A few months back I made citronella, peppermint and lavender soap. It smells AWFUL. Oh it stinks so bad. Just mixing it was making me gag. Something about the citronella essential oil. Barf. Sadly, the terrible smell has only decreased slightly with curing. AND I realized there was NO WAY I was going to wash myself in the morning with that soap and smell like that all day. Ew.
I did try soaping up my arms, next, ears and hands right before going outside to see if that would be enough to deter mosquitos.... and no. Got TWO bites that night.
My latest strategy was melting down a bar of soap (cuz the essential oils were expensive and I really didn't want to buy more), adding almond oil and then slathering that all over myself before going outside. Tentative results: positive. There were still some mosquitos buzzing around, but instead of biting me they seemed to prefer Andrew (which is typically NEVER the case). I smell disgusting and have to wash my body before bed, but I am cautiously optimistic.
Last strategy: Avoid going outside during peak mosquito/black fly hours: dawn and dusk.
Do you have any other strategies that I haven't mentioned here? I would love to hear them!