Mosquitoes and I don’t get along. The little nuisances bother me enough but it’s them bothering the monkey that really has me irritated.
Each year, despite my best efforts, she always ends up with more mosquito bites than I plan on her having. I do my best, but we spend a lot of time outside, whether it’s in the backyard, the playground or camping.
Last year she would get giant swollen welts from mosquito bites. Our family doctor assured us that the monkey wasn’t allergic to the bug bites and she would grow out of it.
In the meantime, however, I have a great family picture of the three of us taken at the Vancouver Aquarium last summer that I might have blown up and hung on the wall except for the fact the monkey had a mosquito bite on the inside of her eyebrow that had made her whole eye almost swell shut. Here is this fantastic picture of us grinning ear to ear on holidays and the monkey has a shiner.
Not to mention she likes to complain about them and has developed a fear of mosquitoes. It can make going outside difficult.
This morning she told me she wished mosquitoes only came out in the winter when she would be bundled-up in her snowsuit and then the mosquitoes wouldn’t bite her. This past weekend we were camping and I have to say I have been a little lax in my mosquito prevention efforts as the bugs haven’t been that bad yet. So she got three mosquito bites and mercy, have I been hearing about it.
So back to my war-like preparations for the prevention of mosquito bites. First I like to keep them out of my yard.
1.) Keep the grass short
2.) Dump everything that collects water — sand toys, empty flower pots, the kiddie pool.
I have a ton of natural mosquito repellent products and others at hand. Of course, if you have a baby or toddler, you want to avoid anything containing DEET all together. There are some children’s bug sprays out there that say they contain safe levels of DEET (10 per cent or less, unless you’re child is getting eaten alive, then you might choose to use something stronger.)
If you want to go chemical-free though, there are some great natural ways to repel mosquitoes.
I’m a big fan of the Prince Lionheart Love Bug; it emits the sound of a dragonfly’s wing beat — the mosquitos’ natural predator. I clip this onto the back of my monkey’s pants and away she goes — chemical free. These are available at Li’l Bit Baby in Brandon or on-line, check www.princelionheart.com for locations.
I also like to make my own repellent. Bugs aren’t fans of scented oils so any one you like will do. For a small water bottle, 10-20 drops mixed with water should do the trick.
If you do decide to use a product with DEET, make sure your child is a minimum two months old and only apply to exposed areas of skin and clothes in a well ventilated area. Wash off any bug spray with soap and water when you are back in the house.
And of course, before you use any product with DEET, check with your doctor — he or she will have an idea what’s best for you.
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 12, 2012