It’s a fact of life that some people attract more mosquitoes than others. Those who are usually prone to bites are mosquito magnets due to a combination of factors like smell, sweat, body temperature and more.
Different species of mosquitoes are attracted to different things. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes, for example, like the smell of sweat and bacteria. While, other mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of flowers so women who wear floral perfumes may get more bites than usual.
Other reasons that make you an appetising target include:
- Carbon Dioxide output
- Wearing dark colours
- Heat emission
On a more serious note, mosquitoes aren’t just annoying pests that leave you with itchy welts. They are also carriers of fatal diseases like malaria, the Zika virus, and dengue. With the incidence of dengue cases on the rise in Singapore, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your family.
If you want to do so the natural way, essential oils are the way to go. Not only are they free from chemicals, making it safe for use by children and babies, essential oils also leave you smelling fresh and are super effective against those pesky mosquitoes. Here are some to get you started:
Traditionally used for relaxation, stress-relief and to promote a sense of calm, lavender is also an effective mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes hate the smell of this plant and tend to stay away from anything doused in lavender oil. When used topically, lavender oil can help to prevent itchy bites but it can also soothe raised welts if you do happen to be eaten by a rogue buzzer.
Peppermint essential oil is usually used as a flavouring agent, but the herbal extract is also a natural deterrent against mosquitoes. Menthol, the chemical that produces the familiar minty scent we all recognise, is universally hated by flying insects and will keep them away.
Citronella oil is obtained from the leaves and stems of a type of grass called cymbopogon nardus. It is officially recognised as a plant-based, non-toxic bio-pesticide in the United States. You can use it around the home without worrying about it having any adverse effects on your pets or the environment. In fact, because citronella oil repels many insects – including mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks – it is a popular ingredient in many insect repellent products sold off the shelf, from mosquito patches to scented candles.
Distilled from the dried leaves of eucalyptus, this essential oil has a strong woody and sweet smell. Similar to citronella, the strong scent is believed to confuse a mosquito’s sense of direction and taste. This prevents the mosquito from locating and attacking you. Additionally, eucalyptus oil can double as an antiseptic to soothe an itch if you have already been bitten.
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted by steam distilling the leaves from the cymbopagon citratus plant. It contains similar chemical properties as citronella but has a brighter and more fragrant aroma. Lemongrass should be used sparingly as it can cause skin sensitivity in some individuals.
(By Davelle Lee, Simply Her / Additional Reporting By Natalya Molok)