In case you hadn’t picked up from previous posts, my research into our Singapore life was minimal. I sort of had an idea where Singapore is, and I knew maybe more than I should have done about the shopping thanks to my friend Georgia, but really I knew very little else. Shamefully my only attempt at cultural assimilation before we moved here was to order a Chinese banquet one evening and eat it whilst watching youtube promotional videos from the tourist board. If there is a 10 step guide to moving overseas, this suggestion probably doesn’t feature very highly. Or, in fact, at all. So you know, there were a few things about Singapore that came as a shock to me. None more so than the pests to top all pests though…little bastard mosquito’s. To be fair if I’d thought about it I would have guessed that there are mozzies here. But I didn’t think about it. My bad.
And there’s a lot of mozzies.
If I was to walk outside I would be eaten alive. Trust me, this is a proven claim. A mozzie bite or two (or a hundred) is bad enough except that I now know that the mozzies here carry nasty illnesses like dengue fever and zika virus, so actually one bite can be a lot worse than just really, really itchy. And it’s not like the mozzies fly around with a little flag indicating they are one of the particularly nasty one’s. It’s luck of the draw. Or bad luck. Suddenly avoiding being bitten became fairly important. But here’s the thing, when you’re on hols somewhere and need to spray yourself with copious amounts of chemically laden anti-bug spray you don’t mind. But all day everyday? Bit different. Especially with little one’s who have sensitive skin at the best of times. Luckily there are lots of natural ways to discourage mozzies and avoid being bitten which have served generations of locals perfectly well, and there’s something to be said for local knowledge which has been passed down through families…
Natural Mosquito Deterrents
It’s obvious when you think about it, but citronella (the plant from which western garden candles are infused with the oil) are perfectly good at keeping the mozzies away. A few citronella plants in pots on a balcony work wonders, they’re also cheap and (shock horror!) grow well in these mozzie laden climates. Other plants that have the same effect include lavender – providing a lovely smell and blast of colour – and basil. Just regular kitchen garden basil, not some fancy and obscure variety. Same goes for rosemary and mint. So really, keeping mozzies away also provides you with quite a lovely selection of herbs which in itself is no bad thing, you can even throw a handful of rosemary on the barbecue coals to keep mozzies away when you’re eating al fresco. Of course these only work if you spend all day everyday on your balcony or outside, which is such a lovely thought but never going to happen. So how to make yourself a walking talking bug deterrent? Well for one, there’s a good reason why the food here is so laden with garlic- the oil seeps out of your pores giving off a distinctly garlic-y aroma which mozzies just can’t stand. Quite a lot of people, particularly on crowded public transport at tropical temperatures, can’t stand the smell either. So you know, take from that what you will. The alternative, and one which I now swear by, is to spritz oneself with a homemade anti-bug spray using all natural ingredients which are easy to get hold of and cheap enough that you can get trigger happy with the spritzing bottle (IKEA do great large size spritzing bottles, and mini one’s are available in any travel section of a supermarket/pharmacy).
Witch hazel (sorry you will smell slightly like a school playground)
Essential oils of choice (choosing from citronella, lavender, lemon, rosemary etc)
Super simple- fill the spritz bottle half and half with water and witch hazel, then add potency with essential oils. A good glug will do, but depending on the ferocity of the local mozzies you may need to add more.
For more information on mosquito’s please see these links:
Mosquito borne diseases (DO NOT PANIC)