June is National Pest Month, and with good reason; here in New England, the period of time starting around Mothers’ Day and ending around Fathers’ Day is known as “black fly season.” This is also the time of year that mosquitoes begin to rear their ugly heads.
Last summer, I wrote about some of my favorite strategies for fighting mosquitoes. These were put to the ultimate test during my recent trip to Haiti. I was the only person in my group not to get bitten by a mosquito. Others had dozens or hundreds of bites. I used the Off! Clip On and kept Bounce fabric softener sheets with me during the day. I also spread the fabric softener sheets around my cot at night. I don’t know whether these strategies were effective, or if mosquitoes just don’t like me. Whatever the reason, I was glad to spend my time in Haiti itch-free.
As much as I like the Off! Clip On, I know that there is a lot of concern about the safety of DEET-based products. Commercial insect repellants made without DEET do exist. Many of them are made with eucalyptus oil, or similar. I recently read an Iowa State University study that claimed that nepetalactone, a compound found in catnip oil, could be as much as ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.
Last week, a friend sent me an email forward touting Listerine mouthwash as an almost magical mosquito repellant. I asked around, and another friend said she swears by it. The urban legend website Snopes.com disputes a claim in the email that spraying Listerine around your door or deck will kill mosquitoes instantly, but doesn’t refute the possibility that a few sprays of mouthwash may be enough to keep these horrible critters at bay for a while. The only catch is that you may need to reapply frequently. I plan to try it out at my cabin this summer. I’ll let you know how it works.
Have any of you tried Listerine or any other homegrown ideas for keeping mosquitoes away? If so, be sure to share them below!