Why you get bitten by mosquitoes
Only female mozzies feast on us to get a ‘blood meal’ that enables them to produce eggs.
Mozzies pick on people with a high metabolic rate and who emit more carbon dioxide – those who are pregnant, working out, or drinking alcohol. They also seem to be attracted to dark clothing.
Breeding is their driving force when not biting you. They nestle around areas of standing water no more than 30cm deep, such as in a bucket or garden pond, backyard debris, clogged drains and gutters, or water left out for pets and wildlife.
So put a pump onto your pond, empty buckets, clean up the backyard, clear your guttering, put pet water bowls inside and wildlife bowls away from
Before you reach for a chemical spray, surround yourself with plants that naturally repel mosquitoes.
Plants that repel mosquitoes
What’s not to love about basil? Whether you’re making a pesto or a pizza, basil can add a delicious zing to Italian food. Best of all, mosquitos will be repelled by the scent so you can enjoy your meals bite-free.
Research has shown that peppermint oil repels mosquitoes. You can easily grow peppermint in a pot. Keep it happy with lots of sun and regular watering. And when it’s not keeping mozzies at bay, you can use the leaves to brew up a pot of refreshing peppermint tea.
Mosquitos hate the smell of lavender, so it’s a good excuse to grow it in abundance. Either in a pot or flower bed, lavender loves full sun and needs to be watered once or twice a week.
Cats love the essential oil nepetalactone that catnip produces when its leaves are crushed and rubbed on your skin, but mosquitoes are repelled by it. It’s a vigorous grower and can get out of control, so grow it in a container. Also, your cat will love you even more!
5. Lemon Balm
Another fragrant plant, lemon balm, will help keep mozzies at bay. Best contained in a pot, it loves plenty of sun and regular watering.
A member of the onion/ garlic family, ornamental alliums produce pompom clusters of flowers that seem to float above long, slender stems. Grown from bulbs, it’s from here that sulphur compounds are produced that mozzies find unpleasant.
7. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
The delicate, long leaves don’t repel mozzies, but if you crush them and rub the oil on your skin, it masks the odour of your carbon dioxide. Grow in a garden or container and keep the soil moist but not wet.
Marigolds contain a compound called pyrethrum that is foul-smelling to various insects, including mosquitoes. Plant them in a border or a pot to pretty up your garden, then add them to your veggie patch to ward off aphids, thrips and whiteflies.
The aroma of rosemary is potent, and while it enhances a lamb roast, it also revolts mozzies. You can also snip off a few sprigs and hang them around windows or doors to keep mozzies from coming indoors.
10. Lemon Thyme
The strong, fresh citrus scent of lemon thyme is hated by mozzies as it interferes with their ability to detect human aromas. Rub the leaves on your skin to set free the essential oil. Floss flower This lovely little annual has a powerful punch as it contains the chemical coumarin, which repels mozzies. Leave it to do its job in your garden bed, and don’t rub it on your skin, as it can irritate.
11. Bee balm
Also known as monarda or horsemint, the fragrant oil released when you crush the leaves confuses mozzies and masks your body aroma. A bonus is the colourful feathery red, pink, lavender, purple, or white flowers.
Toss sage leaves on your barbecue or firepit to release its earthy aroma and keep mozzies at bay. Dried sage will also do the trick.
The fresh, strong scent and taste we love in our drinks, chewing gum and toothpaste is loathed by mozzies, especially when you crush the leaves and rub them on your skin. You can also dry them in a bowl inside.