Zika, in of itself, is not the first reason to want a mosquito free home. Mosquitos are awful. They have no redeeming feature to make them a desirable addition to your house or garden.
Mosquitos have become a national focus since the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that mosquito transmitted Zika has been confirmed in the Wynwood / Egdewater area north of Downtown Miami. Summer in Florida is usually plagued by mosquitos anyways, now we just face the fear of Zika being transmitted along with those familiar annoying mosquito bites.
Miami, we have a Zika problem. So now what? Naturally, like many of you, I have been searching for the best mosquito repellents [check out the link on my Facebook Page for the best repellents]. Surely, I am not the only one to have bought a six month supply of OFF from Costco, BJ’s or Publix. One question I have been asking is what can be done to prevent mosquitos from coming int your garden?
Mosquito repellents are useful, but covering yourself in chemicals day in and day out isn’t desirable. Repellents work by masking the natural body odors in human skin that attract mosquitos and other insects. There are natural methods of doing this that offer the same odor masking effects that chemical repellents have. Certain plants, that smell good to humans bust repel bugs, will do the trick. Additionally, when planted in your garden, will keep those biting bugs away. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, and ideally on your skin. To get the maximum effect, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their scent and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin.
Peppermint. Peppermint is widely cultivated and often found in natural insect repellents. The oil from Peppermint is toxic to mosquito larvae and has been shown to be strong repellent of adult mosquitos.
Sage & Rosemary. Summertime in South Florida means a lot of nights outside by a barbecue or fire. A natural supplement to the familiar Citronella candles and tiki torches is burning sage and rosemary. These plant smokes will be pleasant to you and I while keeping mosquitos away.
Basil. Like Peppermint, Basil has been shown to be toxic to mosquito larvae. Do I really need to mention Zika to give you an excuse to plant this delicious herb?
Catnip. Lastly, there is catnip. Catnip is a fragrant plant that is actually a cousin of mint. While effective at repelling mosquitos, it is also good at attracting cats. I would caution how much you want to plant this, before you know it you will have a lot of new feline friends hanging around the garden.