Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Here comes the rain again! This is a wonderful time of year because the downpours clean the landscape and makes everything green again. Those of us who live here year-round especially enjoy the cooler evenings and incredible light shows over Banderas Bay.
Okay, so maybe we could do without the loud claps of thunder during the wee hours of the morning, not to mention the mosquitoes that all that excess water brings to Puerto Vallarta. After all, the little buggers are not just annoying, they can also carry viruses like Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.
Before thinking about repellent, one of the easiest things to do is remove objects that can collect water, which provides the perfect breeding areas for mosquitoes. This includes tarps, tires, planter saucers, areas that do not drain completely and clogged gutters. Also, if you're a fan of birdbaths, water fountains or ponds, change the water in them at least twice a week, and, of course, change the water in outdoor pet bowls regularly.
Many people do not want to bombard their bodies with toxic chemicals that pollute themselves and the environment. Here's a list of some of the more popular natural repellents. We are not guaranteeing results, but we hope one of these will work for you.
Try spraying lemon and/or eucalyptus oil on your plants. Together these two natural oils combine to wallop the mosquitoes. Providing natural protection from mosquitoes and other carnivorous bugs, these oils last longer than any other natural repellents, about six hours.
Brighten up your outdoor area with citronella candles. These are made from the oil of citronella grass and wards off mosquitoes and other flying pests with its natural lemon scent. Although citronella oil can also be used directly on the skin, these candles work best in combination with another natural repellant method.
A couple of plants can ward off the pesky insects. You can cultivate citronella plants, lemon grass and marigolds. Break off a few stems and branches and get their oils in the air.
Slice limes in half and push cloves into them and place on dishes around your home or garden.
The next time you are grilling, throw some sage, rosemary, lemongrass, marigolds, basil or lavender on the hot coals to repel mosquitos. You can also grow these plants in your garden or pots and place them in the outdoor areas you frequent.
When you eat garlic, especially large quantities of it, an invisible layer of garlic oil seeps from your pores and creates a mosquito barrier. If this is a bit strong for your palette, you can also use garlic juice to make a natural repellant. Mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 to 6 hours. If you don't like the idea of smelling like a pizzeria, you can dip strips of cotton cloth into the mixture which you can then hang in strategic areas.
It may be time to get batty. It is said that one small brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes per hour. Small bats are abundant in the Puerto Vallarta area. You can attract these opportunistic insect eaters by building or buying a bat house. Remember bats pose little threat to people. Check out the bat house plans HERE.
Finally, some homemade, natural mosquito repellents:
Apply small dabs of Vick's VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vick's to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching. Tea tree oils works, too.
Sweet Smelling Recipe:
15 drops lavender oil
3-4 tablespoons vanilla extract
10 drops of citronella oil (you can substitute 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Combine everything into a 16 oz. spray bottle and use liberally.
Essential Oil Recipe:
10-25 drops essential oils, lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and/or citronella (mix and match)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar and stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin and/or clothing.
Less Oily Variety Recipe:
25 drops essential oil (see above)
1/4 cup water or organic apple cider vinegar
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Dab some on your skin and/or clothing, or blend in a spray bottle and spray away.
The most important thing is to find something that works for you so you can enjoy the outdoors and in some cases the indoors, because many people in Puerto Vallarta have open houses. Keep yourself safe during this mosquito season.Laura Gelezunas is an agent at Boardwalk Realty who has lived and worked in Puerto Vallarta full time since 2002. Be sure to catch all of Laura's tips for living the good life in the Banderas Bay area on 'Vallarta Life,' which you can watch right here on Puerto Vallarta's Liveliest Website! or on her YouTube channel, TvPuertoVallarta. Thinking about making the move to paradise? Contact her at Laura(at)BoardwalkRealtyPV.com.