Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is beckoning us to spend more time outdoors, it is that time of year when an effective mosquito repellent is essential. And of course, this is even more relevant to those of us who cannot wait to get on the road to our favorite lakeside campground or beachfront RV resort.
The stagnant water left behind by all these spring showers has provided plenty of ideal spots for mosquito larvae to thrive, so we can be sure there will be an abundance of mosquitoes out and about this year. But with a few simple tricks and some do-it-yourself, all-natural repellent in hand, you can enjoy the great outdoors while keeping those pesky mosquitoes at bay.
First and foremost, it is important to know what attracts mosquitoes so that you can limit these attractants and not spend your afternoons swatting at bugs. For example, dark clothing can catch a mosquito’s eye and their interest, so wearing light colors can be your first line of defense. You should also look for campsites that are away from puddles, ponds and other stagnant water sources, if at all possible. If you are planning on having a campfire at night or breaking out your grill, be aware that both of these give off carbon dioxide, which also attracts these little critters. Of course, campfires and grilling are essential to the RV experience, so this does not mean you should not enjoy them, it simply means you need to be prepared. And lastly, the sweat, lactic acid and carbon dioxide that you give off during and after physical activities like hiking or biking will all help these annoying pests find you, so carrying some natural repellent in your pack might be a good idea.
As for repellents, there are plenty of effective but chemical-laden options available at almost any grocery or drug store. Sprays and creams with ingredients like DEET might keep the bugs away, but those harmful chemicals are also absorbed through your skin. There are natural repellents available for purchase as well, but even some of these are questionable when it comes to safety, and natural options tend to be a bit pricier.
Fortunately, it is actually very easy and inexpensive to make your own natural mosquito repellent spray.
What you need:
• Witch hazel or vodka
• Spray bottle
• One or more repellent essential oils, such as lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, clove, cedar or geranium oil (among others)
What you do:
Add 10 drops of essential oil for each two tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka in the spray bottle. Shake well and spray on your skin or clothing. Repeat application as needed throughout the day.