Natural ways to keep mosquitoes at bay

Zika or dengue, you’d want to try these DEET-free, wallet-friendly and natural methods to keep those nasty mozzies away.

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Mosquitoes can spread dangerous diseases like dengue fever and the Zika virus. While we are lucky to have access to loads of bug sprays and insect repellents, some of us might not want to reach for the commercial stuff as they may contain chemicals that could trigger allergies, adverse skin reactions, even severe respiratory conditions.

          So, if you’re pregnant or have young children at home and prefer to opt for a natural way to ward off those pesky pests, try these methods…

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Use garlic
Increasing your garlic intake may repel those annoying bugs because the naturally occurring sulphur in garlic sends them heading for the hills. It’s been shown that if you eat a large enough amount of garlic, it actually seeps out through the pores of your skin. One nasty effect ― gnarly breath!

          You can also make a simple garlic spray by boiling a few cloves of garlic in two cups of water till it softens. Sieve the garlic water, then place the liquid in a spray bottle. Use it in outdoor spaces or on plants in your home.

Make your own natural spray
Mix 25 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil with 60ml each of witch hazel and soybean oil. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz over your skin.

Get a mosquito-repelling plant 
A variety of plants are known to repel mosquitoes ― examples are mint, citronella and basil. A cute potted plant serves as a nifty decoration for the home, too.

Use coffee grounds
Put your old coffee grounds to good use! Mosquitos hate the smell of coffee, so you can air dry these grounds or bake them in an oven to dry them out, then sprinkle them in your potted plants or on your balcony. Alternatively, place them in small bowls around your home.

Use essential oils
Mosquito-repelling essential oils include lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass and orange oil. Add 25 drops of your chosen essential oil to a half a cup of water and shake it up inside a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture it around your room. Alternatively, you can put the diluted essential oils in a diffuser.

Use herbs
Mosquitoes are known to be averse to certain herbal scents, like rosemary. Grab five to seven sprigs of rosemary and bake them in the oven till the aroma fills your home.  

Use cloves in lime
Mozzies hate the smell of cloves and citrus fruit. So, halve a lime and insert 10 to 12 whole cloves into it. Place the lime halves around your home.

Make your own mosquito trap
Slice a 2-litre soda bottle into two. Remove the cap, invert the top half and place it into the bottom half. The neck section of the bottle now resembles a funnel. Use duct tape to secure the funnel. The bottle neck should be at least 5cm from the base of the bottle.

          Dissolve 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a cup of hot water and once cooled, pour it down the funnel. Then, add a tablespoon of yeast. This mosquito bait produces carbon dioxide, which the mozzies are attracted to. The bugs try to escape by flying up the side of the bottle but their escape is blocked by the inverted funnel. Change the bait mixture every two weeks.

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Illustration Paulyn Ng

Also check out…

BUYER'S GUIDE Top mosquito repellents for Zika/Dengue

All you need to know about Zika 

Keep baby safe in the home!