There’s no other way to say this; bugs really bug us. We try to enjoy a nice BBQ outside with friends and family, only to discover when we get home, we’ve been bitten at least two or three times.
We can look at this in a few ways. One, we are delicious, and maybe it’s a compliment that the bugs make us a meal. Two, we can say no thank you to bug bites and yes, please to bug repellents.
But as parents, we’ve done our research, and there’s just too much evidence out there that says bug sprays and chemical insecticides are dangerous. So how do we get relief from bugs without damaging our health and environment?
That’s where essential oils come in.
They’ve been used for hundreds of years to help alleviate symptoms of allergies, hormone imbalances, and even repel bugs.
So if they’re useful at protecting us against bugs, why did we ever switch? We can’t answer that, but we can say that we need to get back to a more natural way of treating certain issues, mosquitoes being one of them.
What You Need To Know About Mosquitoes
Aside from the annoying buzzing sound they make, there are quite a few reasons that we should be concerned with mosquitoes biting us or living around our homes.
These are some of the top things to know about mosquitoes and the biggest reasons to be vigilant about keeping mosquitoes away.
How Far Can Mosquitoes Travel?
The distance a mosquito can travel varies based on the specific species. Most will only journey from one to three miles. However, others, like the saltmarsh breeders, can travel up to 100 miles (although 20 to 40 miles is far more typical).
Even if you don’t think you live in an area that mosquitoes inhabit often, you’re still at risk for bites. Living next to a large body of water means you have a higher chance of mosquitoes laying eggs and breeding near you, but living far away from water doesn’t mean you’re automatically safe.
Another common myth about mosquitoes is that they can’t fly very high. In actuality, they prefer to find meals, or specifically human meals, below 25 feet. However, specific varieties of mosquitoes will breed and lay eggs as high as 40 feet in the air.
How Often Do Mosquitoes Reproduce?
Most insects have a week-long lifespan. Mosquitoes can live for up to two to three weeks; this means they have double and sometimes triple the life expectancy of other insects. In addition, each female mosquito can lay up to 100 eggs every time they breed.
Wondering how many times in their lifetime they can breed? Well, it’s up to ten times, with the average being five.
Let’s do the math — mosquitoes live up to three times as long as other insects and lay about 500 eggs in their lifetime. These numbers alone are cause for concern, but again you may be thinking to yourself that you’re safe from breeding grounds because you don’t live near large bodies of water.
Think again… Mosquitoes don’t need large bodies of water to breed. In fact, a small puddle in your driveway or a bit of moisture blocking your storm drains is more than enough water for females to lay eggs on.
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Human Breath?
Your exhaling, and your odors in general, attract mosquitoes.
If you’re an avid outdoor runner and you come back from each run with a few itchy bites, you know what we’re talking about. The more carbon you exhale, the easier it is for mosquitoes to find you.
This is another reason you end up with a lot of bites if you’ve been enjoying a BBQ with family, especially for those who like a beer or two with our burgers. Beer (and other alcohol types) results in additional carbon in your breath and a better chance those mosquitoes will leave their mark.
What Is a Mosquito Allergy?
While everyone has a reaction to mosquito bites (cue the itching, the red bumps, and annoying intensity, especially around bedtime), some people are more severely allergic to mosquitoes. This is especially true for children, as their bodies have not been bitten as much as adults have, so their immune response is extra sensitive.
Wondering how this happens? When mosquitoes bite us, they use their saliva to numb the area around their mouthpiece, so we don’t feel them bite and don’t notice it’s happening until they leave.
The proteins in their saliva cause a reaction; for children, their bodies react severely due to the new foreign substance. As mosquitoes bite them more over time, generally, the severe reaction subsides. Growing up is hard.
However, many individuals don’t grow out of this heightened response to mosquito saliva, and they are categorized as severely allergic. For those that this is the case, allergic reactions will increase the intensity of the normal symptoms. Excessive swelling, longer itching, more intense pain, and deeper redness at the bite site are all ways to know if you are in this group.
A severe allergic reaction to a mosquito might require immediate, emergency medical treatment.
How Dangerous Are Mosquitoes?
They’re tiny creatures, but mosquitoes are actually the deadliest animal on the planet.
Mosquitoes can bite many people at vast distances between victims, which means they have a heightened ability to carry diseases between cities, states, and countries. Due to their longer lifespan, a mosquito can hitch a ride on a backpack and travel from one area to a completely different one, and bring foreign diseases and viruses.
The most common viruses include Dengue Fever, Zika Virus, and Malaria. These are serious issues and can lead to death. Since mosquitoes spread these diseases fast and over large distances, a lot of people can be infected and potentially die from these illnesses.
If you or your kids have been bitten by a mosquito recently, it’s important to monitor the affected area and watch for symptoms of serious illness. Hopefully, the bites are normal, and symptoms should take about a week to ten days to fade. This can also be an issue for kids, as they will scratch as much as the bite itches.
We suggest keeping our MagicPatch handy. It’s scientifically engineered patch technology that covers bites and uses the grid pattern to pull saliva up to the top of the skin to eliminate the need to itch or bother with the bite.
The symptoms will fade, and the patches last up to three days, providing enough relief until relief isn’t necessary.
Five Essential Oils That Repel Mosquitoes
Now that you know why it’s essential to keep them away, let’s talk about how we do that.
Chemicals on the market promise results, but at what cost? Many commercial products like DEET just aren’t safe. They cause environmental and health issues that are serious long-term consequences.
Instead, reach for the essential oils we know that repel mosquitoes. These oils have been used for hundreds of years and are effective, naturally, and safely.
Here are the top essential oils for keeping mosquitoes away:
- Citronella oil
- Lemon oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Tea tree oil
- Sage oil
These oils smell amazing to us but terrible to mosquitoes. The potent aroma masks our breath as we exhale, camouflaging us from our sworn pest enemies.
If the mosquitoes can’t pick up our scent or find our breath, they won’t be able to bother us, keeping us outside and bite-free at the same time.
How To Use Essential Oils as Bug Repellents
The first step is knowing which oils will effectively repel mosquitoes, but now you need to know how to use them.
There are a few ways to do this; these include:
- Rubbing them on various areas of the body. Most notable: neck, ankles, shoulders, and behind the knees
- Soaking cotton balls in oils and keeping them in pockets, and putting them by windowsills and other areas
- Using them in a spray bottle or diffuser
Easy and Natural Bug Repellents
These methods will work, but the effects from them will fade fast (in as little as an hour). We suggest using our BuzzPatches on your and your children’s clothing for longer relief that doesn't need to be reapplied constantly.
These stickers are safe for kids and have up to eight hours of essential oils in each sticker to keep mosquitoes away from sun up to sun down. We use a blend of citronella essential oils that are the best at repelling mosquitoes.
The best part? Kids love them! These stickers are fun to put on clothes, and kids like to show them off. Lotions and sprays are annoying to kids on the go. Plus, even if you manage to get oils onto their skin, kids are likely to rub off the oil as soon as you turn your back.
This is the best way to get them the best mosquito repellent without them even knowing.
Back Off, Bugs
Keeping our families protected from mosquitoes is important, but it shouldn’t be hard. Parenting is hard enough as it is!
We are confident that these products, filled with all the best essential oils, are the best way to keep you and your kids bite-free all day long.
General Information about Mosquitoes | US EPA
Mosquito-Borne Diseases Emergence/Resurgence and How to Effectively Control It Biologically | NBCI
Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods | PMC
Insecticide poisoning | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia