We quickly discovered that as September campers we were unprepared for the swarms of mosquitoes. After the first of 3 portages I was sure that I would be a mess of bites for a week or more - but hours after leaving the bush I had no remaining bites!
How is that possible you ask? Well, once we were in the relative safety of our camp site I dug through my homeopathic first aid kit and did what I could to prevent more blood letting. I dosed us with ledum & staphesagria – I would have preferred frequent low doses, but I worked with what I had and it helped. I am not saying that we didn’t get bitten – we did. We were bitten, but infrequently and the bites were only mildly itchy and resolved themselves quickly. I was amazed.
I have looked into chemical free mosquito solutions and discovered some interesting things.
1. Avoid contact
Prime mosquito habitats are cooler, shady, moist areas. Prime mosquito times are dawn & dusk.
Wear light coloured clothing - long & flowing if possible. My light coloured fringed scarf/wrap was awesome.
3. Remove all breeding opportunities
Get rid of standing water e.g. clogged eaves troughs, buckets, pots, etc.
For a super easy and effective DIY for controlling of mosquitoes in your yard follow the links trap #1 or trap #2. Try making and tending the traps a family activity.
Things I have learned about topical lotions:
1. DEET is toxic
DEET is especially toxic for kids but also for you, your pets and the environment. If you are using a DEET based product on a child apply as low a concentration as possible and apply it only once a day to children under 2.
2. Natural alternatives are effective
There are many natural alternatives that have been proven to be more effective than DEET! e.g. catnip oil, neem oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, thyme oil (a skin irritant), clove oil (a skin irritant) and celery extract. There are even more natural plant oils that are as effective as DEET. e.g. fennel oil, citronella, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree oil, cajeput oil, cedar, mint oils, cinnamon oil, black pepper oil, geranium oil and soybean oil. For more information check out: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-natural-mosquito-repellents.html and http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/mosquito.htm
3. Going DEET free is easy.
DIY – 30ish drops of essential oil (pick 3-5 of the ones listed above) into 30ml of a carrier oil i.e. soy or caster. You can search on-line for fancier DIY recipes.
If you are more buy & less DIY, Bite Blocker seems like a great option (I have not used it yet) or check out your local health food store for products that use the oils listed above.
Things I have learned about homeopathic prevention:
1. It works
...and it is safe for children, infants and pets.
2. I recommend both ledum and staphysagria in a 6x potency taken as a water dose -1 pellet of each into ~30ml of water. Take 5 drops/1 small sip 30 minutes before going outside and repeat the dose every 2-3 hours only if required to a maximum of 8 doses a day. Contact me if you are interested in buying an already prepared bottle.
3. There is a commercially available homeopathic mosquito bite preventer called Mozi-Q that contains both ledum and staphysagria. I have not used it yet – when I do I will update this post – but I have heard great things. I even heard that it stops mosquitoes from buzzing in your ears! You may have a hard time getting Mozi-Q as it is flying off the shelves, but if you do get a chance to try it out I would love to hear some reviews.
Mozi-Q works and is getting rave reviews all around.
For more information on bug sprays and Health Canada's crackdown on natural repellents check out this article by Adria Vasil.