Did you know that the mosquito is the world’s most dangerous creature? These tiny assassins are responsible for over a million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases of dengue, malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, and zika among other diseases every year. There are more than 3,500 different species of mosquitos and they especially love hot and wet environments.
Did you know that only the female mosquitos bite for blood and they only do so when they need the extra nutrients to produce their eggs? Male mosquitos are important pollinators as they feed on the nectar of all different types of plants. Mosquitos are actually one of the top pollinators of cacao, the raw ingredient that is used to make chocolate. So, while it is safe to say that everyone hates mosquitos, we actually need them.
To avoid contracting one of nearly a dozen mosquito-borne diseases, some of which can be potentially life-threatening, it is critical to protect yourself. If you are particularly prone to mosquito bites or are exploring a heavy mosquito-populated area, it might be wise to use a mosquito repellent with DEET. However, if you want to avoid this toxic chemical and you are taking other precautions (see note below) you will be pleased to learn that many natural insect repellents work well thanks to a combination of essential oils.
There are even some organic and locally-made insect repellents that you can purchase while you are in Costa Rica. These include Raw Botanicals Lemongrass Insect Deterrent and Alegria Soaps aloe-based insect gel.
When purchasing a natural insect repellent or making your own, look for a combination of the following natural essential oils:
Do not directly apply essential oils to your skin. Make sure you have a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil mixed in to avoid irritation.
Other precaution measures that you can take to reduce your risk of getting mauled by mosquitos is to wear lightweight and light-colored long sleeves and long pants, especially around dawn and dusk; eliminate any standing water around your home or accommodations; and burn citronella incents, coils, or candles. Mosquitos might be the world’s most despised pests, but with the right insect repellent, we can co-exist.
Check out the RipJack Inn’s little boutique or Pots and Bowls for local products, including natural insect repellent.