With dengue on the rise here in the Philippines, everyone is naturally concerned with getting rid of mosquitoes in their homes. There is no permanent way to eliminate mosquitoes but there are several ways to minimize the proliferation of these pesky bloodsuckers. We here at Oodles do not encourage the use of commercial mosquito repellents containing the harmful chemical DEET.
And don’t even get us started on ‘fogging’ (the use of insecticides and pesticides via machines that distribute them in a smoke-like fog). Fogging is okay if a. you can afford it, b. you only want a VERY temporary respite from mosquitoes (it’s just for a party, they can come back the next day) and c. you don’t mind the chemicals contaminating your lawn (oh look, it’s a mutant grasshopper!).
Unless a completely safe ultra-effective commercial repellent is invented, keep these tips in mind to keep the mosquitoes at bay:
1. Stagnant Water – Out!
Stagnant water in ponds, fountains and clogged gutters in your property may serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure these are drained of all standing water. If you can’t absolutely part with those pretty zen water fountains in the corner of your lawn, make sure to change its water daily. Goldfish and guppies eat mosquito eggs and larvae so it’s also a good idea to put them in your pond. Check if there are basins, pails, pots and pans filled with water around your house. These too can harbor mosquito eggs and larva.
2. Citronella Grass
Citronella grass is an effective mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes do not like the scent given off by citronella grass. My mom swears by this – she learned this from a neighbor who planted citronella in her garden and noted that during an outdoor evening party, there were hardly any mosquitoes in the neighbor’s property. Citronella grass is different from lemongrass by the way. Although they belong to the same family and look identical (with lemongrass purportedly having the same anti-mosquito property as citronella), lemongrass or tanglad is the one that is usually used for cooking while citronella grass is used for medicinal/aromatherapy purposes. Here’s .
3. Citronella Oil
As with citronella grass, mosquitoes are also naturally repelled by citronella oil. Make sure you buy citronella essential oil and not fragrance oil (which is synthetic). My son goes to a school surrounded by plenty of trees and shrubs so I dab a few drops of citronella oil on his legs and arms as well as on his school uniform before he leaves the house. We buy our citronella oil from a small stall called The Citronella Co. in the 6th level of Shangri-la Mall and Ilog Maria citronella with propolis (available at Ilog Maria’s online shop and at Echo Store). A cost effective way of making citronella spray: 10 drops of citronella oil in 100 ml pure grain alcohol (100 proof vodka will do) + 8 tbsp distilled water. Let stand for 2 weeks until the oil has blended with the alcohol and water.
4. Cedar Wood
Cedar wood is primarily used to drive cloth-eating moths away from the clothes in your closet but it has the ability to get rid of other insects, mosquitoes included. Mothballs are made of naphthalene and can be toxic, causing serious illness or even death when inhaled in substantial amounts. If you have pets and small children in your house, it is wise to use cedar wood instead of mothballs in your cabinets and in areas around your house where you don’t want those mosquitoes flying around. I bought a few 6-inch block of cedar wood (cut into 3 parts) for P200+ from Make Room last year but I suspect True Value branches may carry them as well (let me know if they do).
5. Pepper Pellets
From Aug, 20, 2010 article: “The government might eventually end up giving out pepper pellets, not for condiments but as a means of decimating dengue-bearing mosquitoes.” According to researches done by the PCHRD (Philippine Council for Health Research and Development), pepper pellets placed in water can kill mosquito larva. I wonder if this means that fresh pepper has the same effect and if it is only harmful to mosquitoes (meaning it’s safe for the fishes happily swimming in your backyard pond).
6. Electric Bug Zappers
Bug zappers work on the premise that mosquitoes are attracted by the flourescent or ultraviolet light inside the gadget. as biting insects are attracted more by the carbon dioxide exhaled by people and pets than by the light/heat emanating from the bulbs inside bug zappers. Which means that bug zappers work if you let them do their job away from people and pets. It makes sense to stay away from mosquito-attracting devices as insects could be attracted by these at first but could zero in on you once they sense food, a.k.a you, in the immediate vicinity. Open the bug zapper, get out of the room and close the door.
7. Incense Coils
Incense coils have been around for centuries and they seem to be effective in warding off pesky mosquitoes. I remember Katol of “lamowk seyguradong teypowk” fame at my lola’s house when I was a child and that we had to sit very close to the green burning coils (which were usually placed under the tables while we were eating) – they lose their effectiveness the farther you are away from them. I am not sure what those commercial anti-mosquito coils contain but .
8. Fan and Mosquito Net
If all else fails, turn on the fan and use a mosquito net. Just make sure the mosquito isn’t inside with you when you tuck in the net at the sides of your bed.
Fun Trivia: .
Care to share any natural anti-mosquito tips you know of?