A Texas summer spent indoors is hardly a summer at all. There are barbecues, pool parties and porch spells to get to, after all. The sun can be a bother, of course. At least you know when that’s coming out. The scourge of summer mosquitoes, though, is sometimes only apparent after you’ve swatted at your skin three bites in.
A good mosquito repellent is key to getting through skeeter season. Last summer, we tested 16 varieties of the stuff to see which ones worked and which ones left us itchy. State officials recommend using an insect repellent that contains DEET. There’s a real health risk, too: Some mosquitoes carry the Zika virus or the West Nile virus.
Some folks might object to taking the chemical route, though. Truly, there might be nothing more unpleasant than getting bug spray up your nose. (Except for getting turned into a lumpy slab of mosquito food.)
We asked readers on Facebook for their homemade or DIY methods of keeping mosquitoes at bay, or at least of relieving the discomfort from a mosquito bite.
“I won't use chemicals on my body,” wrote reader Alice Coker Cuthers. “I mix water with lavender oil and spray it on my skin, hair, clothes. Seems to keep them away.”
That trick doesn’t cut the muster for everyone it seems.
“Lavender didn’t work and it’s my favorite scent,” wrote reader Amy Sunstrum. “Peppermint is my new friend. I’m using it in the house for insects and rodents. So far so good. I got an insect cream and an extract for spray.”
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But what if it’s too late to repel?
“To stop the itching, heat a glass of water in the microwave for a minute or two,” reader Jon Hershey wrote. “Put a spoon in the water until it gets hot (but not too hot). Press the spoon on the bite. Itching gone.”
Of course, the internet is a treasure trove of ideas. Other potential repellents that won’t leave you coughing up chemicals include essential oils like lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, thyme, Greek catnip, soybean, tea tree, neem and citronella (natch), according to Healthline. Do note: Lots of sources recommend some sort of dilution before applying directly to the skin. Healthline recommends applying apple cider vinegar, a slice of raw onion or freshly cut garlic as possible bite relief.
Have any other bright ideas? Comment on our Facebook post.