5 Unexpected Ways To Repel Bugs This Summer

5 Unexpected Ways To Repel Bugs This Summer Hero Image

When you grow up in a South African family like mine, gin and tonic, not insect repellent, is how you protect yourself from stealth mosquito attacks—apparently the quinine in the tonic repels them and prevents malaria.

For those whose dramatic skin reactions to bites need more than a few drinks, Mrs White's Unstung Hero Eau De Cologne may just be your Summer Swashbuckler. Its lemon tea fragrance means you don't have to wear perfume (bug heaven) and a "magic" ingredient renders you invisible to ticks, wasps, and bees. Bingo! If you don't like to spray yourself with anything, shower with Beekman 1802 Bug Repellent Bars, little soap squares jam-packed with eucalyptus and other heavenly smelling essential oils proven to keep pesky mites at bay. After a shower your body heat releases the scent, acting as an olfactory barrier to any impending mauling; carry the bars with you and rub on pulse points to top up exposed skin discreetly.

I love bathing in Kneipp May Chang & Lemon Enjoy Life Bath Oil at the end of a hot day—the high citronella oil content makes it a great alternative to chemical mosquito sprays. Add a few drops to a cool bath and any sunburn will quickly evaporate. My mother swears by vitamin B1, rumored to be a smell so horrific to mosquitoes, they won't want to come anywhere near you. I feel a bit queasy when I take vitamin B orally so it's not the best option for me. Instead I buy Staphysagria from Boiron, an excellent homeopathic remedy for the prevention of mosquito bites. For those who are prone to attracting every single one in the area (me), it may be taken as a prophylactic or can be used after being stung to reduce the effects from the bite.

All these years I thought I got bitten because I have sweet blood. In fact, and to my disappointment, a scientist friend pointed out that it's the carbon dioxide we emit that mosquitoes are mostly attracted to. Seems like the humble fan (not air-conditioning) which effectively blows away the gas, is having the last laugh, and will be the most important part of my indoor arsenal this summer.

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