Summertime and the living is easy. What a delightful time to be outdoors- until you hear that all too familiar, high-pitched whine circling above your head. This whine is very quickly followed by itchy whelps appearing on exposed areas of your skin. She has arrived and she does not travel alone. She’ll have no less than a hundred “sisters” with her.
Commercial repellents do have some advantages, but many consumers worry about the long -term effects of chemical toxicity from continued use. This is where summer’s annuals and perennials can help, especially if you locate them near your favorite outdoor areas.
Citronella, with its powerful, lemony scent, is easy to grow. It repels mosquitoes by masking other odors. Allow lots of room for this annual, it can reach a height of 6 feet by the end of summer.
Marigolds (photo at top) also deter mosquitoes with their strong scent. Plant marigolds in full sun, and enjoy their color until the first frost. You can also plant marigolds in large planters and place them on the deck or patio.
Geraniums, produce geraniol oil, which is a natural alternative for chemical insecticides, Their bright, cheerful blooms are an added bonus.
Catnip, loved by cats, hated by mosquitoes, it deters the insects through production of the oil nepetalactone. Grow catnip in containers and place it near chairs and tables.
Lavender, a beautiful herb that produces an essential oil which repels mosquitoes. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar. Spray outdoors areas before entertaining. You can also spray yourself as well.
Peppermint, has strong, natural oils in its leaves that irritate insects. Crush the leaves of fresh peppermint and rub them on exposed areas of skin.
Rosemary, pleasing scent to us, and offensive to mosquitoes. Break off a few small branches and rub the needles on your skin before going outside. You can also buy rosemary essential oil, and add this to water or white vinegar in a spray bottle.
Mosquitoes have been on Earth for millions of years, and they’re not going anywhere. Neither are we, so it’s an uphill battle- us-versus-them. Smart gardeners and those who love the outdoors, know it’s a battle, one they are winning.
Blessed be, sweet ones.
~ Meadow Walker