Ah, the weather has finally warmed up, and you're getting ready to start spending your summer evenings in the backyard.
But sadly, this also means that you'll be sharing the patio with mosquitoes, and then spending the rest of the night dealing with uncontrollable itching and swelling from getting bitten.
Not only are mosquitoes annoying, they also transmit diseases like West Nile Virus, which has a number of unpleasant flu-like symptoms as well as severe complications like tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.
Of course, you can use insect repellents with ingredients like DEET to keep the mosquitoes at bay, but these products have a lot of chemicals that are harmful and have been linked to some serious health problems.
Luckily, there are a number of natural options to help you repel mosquitoes.
1. DIY repellent oil
Instead of rubbing chemical-laden insect repellents on your body, try a natural essential oil instead.
Lavender essential oil is a great natural mosquito repellent, and will leave your skin smelling wonderful.
Simply mix 30 drops of the fragrant essential oil with two tablespoons of olive oil, and apply it to exposed skin.
2. Plant herbs
Humans love the smell of plants and herbs like basil, rosemary, lemongrass and lavender, but mosquitoes can't stand them.
Even if you don't have a green thumb, you can grow these plants in a pot and place them near doors, windows and other entryways.
You can also control mosquito breeding by planting holy basil. The leaves are known to kill larvae.
If you're having a barbecue, you can place a couple of rosemary sprigs on the hot coals to keep the bugs away.
3. Homemade citronella candles
Citronella essential oil is one of the best natural mosquito repellents you can get your hands on.
The best way to put the oil to use is by making candles. The strong smell that emits out of the candle will put off mosquitoes and other unwelcome bugs so you can enjoy the outdoors in peace.
The candles are really easy to make if you follow these instructions, and will keep for a long time.
4. Eat garlic
Vampires aren't the only blood-sucking creatures that are afraid of pungent-smelling garlic.
Smearing garlic oil on your skin is believed to be an easy way to deter the insects away from your body, but if you still want the company of other humans, you're better off eating it instead.
You can incorporate more garlic in your cooking, or take garlic oil capsules, which are readily available in the supplement section of most grocery and health food stores.
Garlic is rich in sulfur, so when it's digested, the sulfuric compounds enter your lungs through your blood, causing the smell to be emitted from your body.
The herb is toxic when mosquitoes ingest it, but some studies about its repellent properties are still inconclusive. However, many people still swear by its effectiveness.
5. Dry Ice
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide. So you can fool them by placing a container of dry ice, which also emits a lot CO2, at a distance.
Make sure the container has a lid so that you can trap them when they start to add up.
6. Lemon and Cloves
Citrus is a no-no for mosquitoes, so if you have it around, chances are they will leave you alone.
For even better results, add cloves into the mix.
All you have to do is halve a lemon then press about five to six cloves on each surface. Place them on a tray in an area where you need it most.
7. Vanilla spritz
Vanilla smells divine to people, but most bugs will run the other way as soon as they take a whiff of it.
Add a tablespoon of the essence to a cup of water, then spray the mixture on any exposed skin to keep mosquitoes as well as other bugs like ticks and black flies from biting you.
8. Coffee grounds
If you notice an unusual amount of mosquitoes in an area, it's probably because there's stagnant water somewhere in the vicinity.
An effective method to control the population is by killing the eggs using coffee grounds.
Just sprinkle the grounds wherever you spot stagnant water. This will force the eggs to rise up to the surface, and eventually they will die from the lack of oxygen.
9. Baby oil
There are a lot of wins when you use baby oil to keep mosquitoes off your body.
The smell and the slickness of the skin will make it harder for them to bite you. Plus the oil will make your skin feel really soft.
Just make sure you're using a brand that's natural, and avoid being under direct sunlight when using the oil because it can cause sunburn.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar drink
Apple cider vinegar has a lot of incredible uses, and now you can add mosquito repellent to the list.
It does not taste great, but it sure does beat the agonizing itchiness that follows a bug bite.
All you have to do is dilute one or two tablespoons of the vinegar in 16 ounces of water, and drink up. You can add some honey to the mixture to sweeten it and reduce the bitterness.
You may not notice it, but after drinking this beverage, your body will emit a smell that mosquitoes will not want to be around.
11. Red cedar mulch
Not only does red cedar mulch make your garden more attractive, it also keeps mosquitoes far away.
The special wood, also known as Juniperus virginiana, has insect repellent properties.
Simply boil a few chips in water, then spray the liquid around your yard and garden.
12. Mosquito eating plants
If you're still being pestered by mosquitoes after trying out the aforementioned methods, then it's time to get a little extreme.
Plant some carnivorous plants around your backyard, and let them do the killing for you.
Butterwort, Venus Flytrap and Pitcher plant are a few bug-loving plants that will happily dine on mosquitoes so they won't feast on your blood.
If you do end up getting a bug bite this season, you can use this homemade after bite recipe or any of these 6 home remedies that'll make you itch-free this summer.