Ah, Summer! At last it’s arrived – as I sit watching the rain battering against the windows.
The long, warm, evenings (after the rain has gone) spent sitting on the terrace can, however, be quite uncomfortable – and I’m not just talking about the high temperatures we get here. Mosquitoes. Mozzies/flying teeth/bichos – call them what you will, they can be a real nuisance. There are many insect repellents available, but I have yet to find one that doesn’t smell awful and, once applied, doesn’t leave a foul taste in your mouth (let’s face it, once you’ve applied it, you’re still going to end up with it on your fingers and, therefore, on everything that you eat). It is also the contents of such products that trouble me. Whilst I appreciate that insects are annoying and can leave nasty bites, I don’t think that poisoning them is the best option. They have many natural predators: bats, birds and geckos – to name but a few. Is it right that we are polluting their food? A couple of years ago I found a recipe for a ‘natural’ repellent on the internet that is both easy to make, and not as damaging to the environment as many products that you can buy.
What you’ll need:
100 ml alcohol (the kind you buy in the chemist – not gin!!)
200 ml baby oil
a plastic pot
a spray bottle (I keep & recycle such items)
What you need to do:
Place the cloves in the plastic pot, add the alcohol and cover. Shake/agitate the pot 2-3 times a day for a week, then remove and discard the cloves and put the alcohol solution in the spray bottle. Pour the baby oil into the bottle and shake.
I have been using this for quite some time with good results. It may not deter all the bug-life, but it has substantially reduced the amount of bites that I get. It also doesn’t smell or taste as foul as the shop-bought products.
Things to bear in mind:
It contains oil – Please take care when applying, especially on tiled floors.
It may not work for you.
Do not use if you think you may be allergic to any of the ingredients used.
I do still suffer the occasional bite. When I do, I apply some neat alcohol with a paper towel to the bite. Yes, it stings, but it stops the bite from itching and leaves less of a mark.
Do you have any home remedies? Let me know about them in the comments section.
This post was inspired by a Facebook status from a fellow expat, also living in Extremadura, who was suffering from mozzie bites. You can follow Tanya’s adventures on her new blog: Life in the Extreme – pop over & say “Hi” – tell her I sent you!