A high pitched squeal from an approaching mosquito pretty much ranks in the same ‘Horror’ category as the Jaws movie theme tune. We all love a long hot summer, but bites from a pesky mosquito can ruin our fun in the sun. Here are a few tips for how to avoid scratching Mosquito itchy bites this summer.

Why do they bite us?

Female mosquitoes are the ones who bite us, as they are after the nutrients in our blood which helps them to in develop and lay their eggs. She inserts a small prick into our skin via her proboscis, which sucks the blood and she is able to store it. Our bodies then try to adjust to this and defend itself by creating itchy reaction marks.

Chemical Repellents

There are products on the market which are designed to repel insects and mosquitoes from laying their nasty bodies on us. These sprays which contain the chemical Deet are by far the most effective and can keep the mossies at bay for several hours. There are pros and cons about whether Deet causes harm to our health in the long run. It depends on your body’s natural skin chemistry and some people believe that they are extremely sensitive to Deet, but there are no definitive answers from the research undertaken.

Natural remedy repellents

Most natural products contain a mixture of pure oils such as evening primrose oil, tee tree oil or jojoba oil, with a dash of citronella added to warn away the annoying pests, which you apply to the skin as a spray or roll on. If you prefer to use the natural method, you may need to apply it liberally especially if you are in and out of the water, or during a particularly hot day when you body sweats more.

You are what you eat

There are theories out there which believe that if you eat certain foods it will deter insects away from you. Vegemite, chilli, garlic and banana’s are all common food eating myths, as is consuming a high dosage of Vitamin B – but they are just that – myths – because there is no definitive answers to scientifically prove that eating these foods deter mosquiotes. However, if you find that it works for you, then by all means stick to your guns.

Mosquito Nets

Mosquito nets offer protection against mosquitoes and other biting insects by providing a net shield over our beds allowing us to sleep peaceful throughout the night. In New Zealand mosquitoes don’t carry malaria or dingy fever, so the use of Mosquito Nets may be seen as somewhat dramatic – compared to the use of Mosquito Nets overseas, where the fight against these diseases is far more common.

Citronella

If you’re outdoors for a long period of time, or your home or bach is prone to a visit from Mosquitoes, you might want to consider burning a Citronella candle. Citronella oil has long been used for its natural insect repellent properties and burning these candles can keep the high pitched beasts at bay so you can enjoy a long hot summer.  And if it doubt, wear long sleeves and trousers to cover up.

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Comments

  1. When the female mosquito pushes her proboscis through the skin to feed she first injects ‘saliva’ containing anti-coagulant to prevent the blood clotting and blocking the proboscis. It is the proteins in the ‘saliva’ that induce an allergic reaction, including the redness and itching.

    DEET (Diethyl Toluamide) is the most effective repellent as Kathrine says above. It is particularly effective when combined with DMP (Dimethyl 1, 2-Benzendicarboxylate) as in Kiwicare’s Safari Roll-on and Stick type repellents. But Kiwicare also make and distribute BioGro certified organic repellent wipes which contain only natural essential oils. I concur with Kathrine that this product requires regular re-application to maintain efficacy against mosquitoes and sand flies.

    New Zealand sand flies and mosquitoes do not carry the dangerous diseases that mosquitoes do in tropical countries and the Organic wipes (re-applied regularly) are sufficient to give good protection. However, we suggest using the stronger repellency of Kiwicare’s Safari Roll-on and Stick containing DEET and DMP when travelling to countries where insect borne diseases are a risk. We would also suggest them in areas of high sand fly activity in NZ.

    For more advice contact Kiwicare.

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  2. rich says:

    Where can you buy mozzie nets these days? Spotlite no longer sell them. Suggestions?

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