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MORAN: Wild mosquito repellent

Yarrow
Image Credit: Michèle Wood
May 31, 2017 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


Our exceptional weather patterns in 2017 are good for some things and bad for others. This is an exceptionally good (or bad, depending on your perspective) year for mosquitoes. As us Canadians know all too well, more still water equals more mosquitoes.

After many years of being immersed in mushroom hunting culture across this wild province, and more recently becoming a professional gatherer of wild culinary herbs, I have picked up a few useful tidbits of information to help stave off pests off all shapes and sizes.

My first tip: Avoid commercial repellents. DEET (the active ingredient in repellent) attracts bears and is widely regarded as unsafe for your long-term health. Did I mention DEET attracts bears?

Avoiding soap, deodorant, and cosmetic spray and products will increase your bodies overall natural ability to repel all winged pests, not just mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes and bloodthirsty flies find us by following the trail of chemicals that we exhale. These chemicals come from our blood. We can alter our blood through healthy diets without excess sugar, flour and processed food. An increase in oxygen via iron and nutrients will decrease our carbon dioxide and bug attractants.

My favourite means of defense is to ingest potent and bitter herbs in the form of tea. My three favourites are yarrow, wormwood and catnip. All three have a long history of human use. Yarrow is used to stop internal and external bleeding, wormwood is a parasite killer and catnip is a sleep aid. Bugs can't stand these aromatic herbs — and are all growing right now — just in time for use against the current onslaught of mosquitoes.

As well as tea, these wild saviours can be steeped into oil and spread on exposed skin as an alternative to harsh aerosol chemical concoctions. Just be sure to research and use a natural oil that will not attract insects, or bears!

Check out my Facebook page Everything Wild to stay up to date on our local foraging scene.

Catnip
Catnip
Image Credit: Michèle Wood

— Scott Moran is a local forager discovering his own path to food freedom.


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