The Sticky Files - Marisca Bakker

Buzz off

Marisca is annoyed with a particularly bad mosquito season this summer

We went camping last weekend at our favourite local provincial campground and snagged one of the last spots. I thought we were so lucky. The weather forecast was beautiful. I thought nothing could ruin our plans.

I thought wrong.

The mosquitoes were so terrible. I don’t mean to sound like a drama queen but they were borderline unbearable.

Halfway through the weekend the park almost emptied out. The full campground was now more than half empty. My one-and-half-year-old got bitten near the eye and it swelled shut. She looked horrible. I felt awful.

I’ve never seen so many mosquitoes. It got me wondering if it was just me or if this is an extra terrible mosquito season.

I’m part of a Facebook group called Camping in BC and many members from all over the province are complaining about the terrible little creatures everywhere. I feel better that it isn’t just me. Misery loves company, I guess.

The conditions for the skeeters are very favourable. The cool, wet spring gave mosquitoes plenty of places for them to lay their eggs.

But they are here now. And we have to deal with it.

If you’ve ever wondered if some people seem to attract them more than others, you could be right. A study showed that mosquitos like people that have Type O blood. Mosquitos landed on people nearly twice has much with that blood group over people with Type A blood. They never tested Type B blood though so the results may be a bit skewed. However, the study did show that some blood is tastier than others, so if you have Type O blood, I’m sorry.

There are things you can do to try and avoid being bitten by one, no matter your blood type. You can always hide during their most active times, which are during the evening hours and when it is humid.

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There is also bug spray, and other devices you can buy like repellent coils. If you want to go the more natural route, certain essential oils can also help to deter them from you.

Diffusing scents such as lavender or peppermint or lemon eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, catnip, rosemary, and pine oil can be effective. There is also an amazing bug spray made locally by Nature’s Essence and sold at Out of Hand.

Once you are bitten, there are also some natural ways to relieve the itch.

As the mosquito feeds, it injects saliva into your skin and you react to the saliva resulting in a bump and itching. Some people react worse than others. But making a simple paste out of baking soda and water and applying it to the bite can soothe the skin. Aloe vera, salt or even an ice cube on the affected area can also calm the irritation.

In the long term, there are other things we can all do to prevent more mosquitoes from targeting us for dinner, such as emptying out bird baths and other things that collect standing water around our yards.

Mosquitoes lay multiple generations of eggs during one summer season so it may take some time.

We bought a screened-in dining tent for our camping trips and stocked up on citronella candles. I don’t want these pesky little creatures to take away any joy my family finds in the great outdoors anymore.


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