Vitamin B1, Plants and Vodka May Be Your Best Mosquito Repellants

vt-17.jpgTaking vitamin B1 and planting a few plants really beats toxic chemical insect sprays. Find out how you can repel mosquitoes safely and naturally.

Just when things start to warm up and you’re checking catalogs for that new, flashier outdoor barbecue that does everything but make the potato salad, a lonely mosquito celebrates the new season with a dive bomb into your right forearm, reminding you that we don’t actually own spring — they do. At least, that’s the story if you live in an area ridden with mosquitoes. If you’re sensitive to chemical sprays, how can you reclaim your summer evenings? Here are a few remedies you may not have thought of — mosquito repelling plants, vitamin B1, and, yes, vodka. Check them out.

  • Plants: You may know that some plants repel insects. To make your home and garden less inviting for mosquitoes, try planting rosemary, marigolds, citronella grass, and catnip. Rosemary does well in warm weather, but not in cold. Plant it in a pot, and bring indoors for the winter. If you like the smell of marigolds, put them right in the garden: If not, pot them so you can keep them on the perimeter. Citronella grass smells like lemon — that’s where citronella oil comes from. Many people grow it for ornamental purposes, or to give the garden a fresh lemony scent. Catnip may attract the neighborhood felines, but, let’s face it, that’s better than mosquitoes. Note: Stay away from lemony catmint: It smells like skunks when it’s wet.
  • Vitamin B1: Mosquitoes hate the smell of vitamin B1 and, if you take it, they’ll also hate the smell of you. Don’t worry — it won’t repel any humans. There’s no info on exactly how much is needed, but about 50 — 100 mg a day should do it. Fortunately, vitamin B1 is water soluble so you don’t have to worry about too much building up in the system — what your body doesn’t use will flush right out. If you live in an area with mosquitoes you’ll need to take it regularly. If you’re just going to the woods or some other mosquito-infested area, start taking it several days beforehand.
  • Vodka: This, too, is related to plants. Crush the leaves of a ‘mosquito plant’ — you can get them at any garden store — into vodka to release the plant’s oils. Put the infusion into a spray bottle and use it as you would any other insect repellent.

If you’d really like to get the most out of this spring and summer, take a little extra time for strategic planting, and stock up on vitamin B1 — start taking it tomorrow and you’ll be ready in plenty of time. As for the vodka: since it’s a little on the expensive side, and since you’re now going to be able to make use of that barbecue, you might want to save it for a Bloody Mary. Bon appetit!

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