As soon as it gets warm outside and the grass becomes inviting, little bloodsuckers like ticks and mosquitoes become a big issue again!

Children who spend a lot of time outdoors, like my son, are obviously at greater risk. While a Borrelia infection cannot be prevented even by the conventional tick vaccination, mosquito bites can be just as troublesome and carry the additional risk of diseases such as West Nile virus and Zika virus.

I have to admit that as a mother, I am quite worried—especially since I myself got Lyme disease after a mosquito bite last year while on vacation in Croatia—but of course, I don't want my child to become a couch potato.

For this reason, I have been doing some research over the last few weeks and taking a closer look at the subject of "ticks and mosquitoes."

And I would like to share the results with you, especially because conventional bug sprays often contain toxins and chemicals we are trying to avoid for our little ones.

But first…

What Are Ticks and Mosquitoes?

Ticks are spider-like insects that can be of different sizes. Some are as big as the head of a pin, others are the size of a pencil eraser. They come in shades ranging from black to reddish-brown.

After a tick has attached itself, it absorbs blood for several days and grows larger. Once it has sucked its fill, it drops off to reproduce—yuck! ????

Mosquitoes, on the other hand, are small, flying insects known for their slender bodies and long legs. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on blood, which they need to produce eggs. These bites often cause itching and swelling.

Types of Ticks and Mosquitoes

There are many different types of ticks. The common tick attacks people most frequently and is the carrier of Lyme disease, which even a tick vaccination does not protect you against. You can recognize it by its black legs and reddish-brown body. The larger, brown dog ticks, for example, are NOT carriers of Lyme disease.

Mosquitoes also come in various species, with some being more aggressive and disease-prone than others. The Aedes mosquito, known for its white markings on the legs and a lyre-shaped pattern on the thorax, is a primary carrier of dengue fever, Zika virus, and chikungunya.

Diseases Transmitted by Ticks and Mosquitoes

In general there are two infectious diseases transmitted by ticks that are particularly worth mentioning: TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) and Lyme disease. TBE can be transmitted immediately after the bite, but the risk increases the longer the tick sucks. Lyme disease is only transmitted 12 hours after the bite. 

Mosquitoes, depending on where in the world you live, can transmit diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and nowadays, they can also transmit Lyme disease. The risk of these infections varies by region and climate.

How Do You Get Ticks and Mosquitoes?

Ticks particularly like to sit in tall grass, bushes, and undergrowth. They can smell you and cling to you as you walk past. Ticks never drop from above; they don't climb higher than 1.50 cm max. Once they've landed on you, they usually crawl up your legs to find a protected place where they can attach themselves.

Mosquitoes are more opportunistic. They can be found anywhere from urban environments to deep forests and are most active during dawn and dusk. They are attracted to body heat, carbon dioxide, and certain body odors.

Protecting Yourself and Your Child from Ticks and Mosquitoes

The first thing to do here is to avoid places where they like to hang out. But since I assume that you and your offspring love nature just as much as I and my son do, this option is out of the question! ????

General Tips & Tricks

  • Long-sleeved clothing: This means ticks and mosquitoes don't get to your skin so quickly.
  • Light-colored clothing: So that you can immediately see ticks and mosquitoes that are trying to crawl or land on you.
  • Closed, high shoes: Hiking shoes or rubber boots are particularly suitable.
  • Pull socks over your trouser legs: This looks funny and not particularly stylish, but it also prevents ticks from getting to your skin straight away.
  • Avoid Dusk and Dawn: Mosquitoes are most active during these times, so try to avoid going outdoors during dusk or dawn to minimize your exposure to mosquito bites.
  • Headgear for children: A cap prevents direct contact with ticks. Mosquito net hats are also effective.
  • Check your child's body for ticks and mosquito bites: After every romp around in the grass, bushes, or forest, examine your child’s body closely. Ticks love warm, thin skin areas such as arms, backs of knees, armpits, head, and intimate areas. Mosquitoes tend to bite exposed skin areas, especially ankles, wrists, and the back of the neck.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can contain up to 60% lauric acid, to which ticks and mosquitoes are extremely sensitive.

Studies have shown that ticks avoid skin oiled with coconut oil or drop off again shortly after attaching. Coconut oil is therefore one of the best remedies for both ticks and mosquitoes!

Because it is so mild, even babies can be oiled with it. ????

Use Natural Bug Spray

Most commercially available insect sprays contain pesticides (DEET), which you should not spray on your skin, let alone a child's skin!

However, there are some essential oils that are at least as effective as low concentrations of pesticides.

In aqueous dilutions, they can be sprayed onto clothing, and diluted with oil, they can be easily applied to the skin. Natural bug sprays must be reapplied every 30 minutes to be effective!

DIY Bug Spray

The following is required for the bug spray:

- 20 drops of geranium essential oil

- 10 drops of sweet grass essential oil (also called buffalo grass)

- 5 drops of lavender essential oil

- 5 drops of citronella essential oil

- 100 ml of distilled water

- Spray bottle (brown glass)

How to Make It:

Mix all of the ingredients listed above together in the bottle, shake well, and spray onto clothing before going outside. Shake well before each use so that the oils mix with the water!

**Note: Sweet grass oil is not available everywhere. You could also use catnip as a substitute.

So, that's it for today. Please leave me a comment on how you keep the bloodsuckers away from you and your loved ones so that I can try it out too! ????

xx Bettina

About the Author Bettina

Bettina Gross is a holistic pediatric health coach who empowers moms to take charge of their kids health and step into their own role as a healer, so that they can raise healthy, happy kids and live the family life of their dreams.

Follow me

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

Subscribe now to get the latest updates!