*Reprinted with permission from the Boozy Gardener. Originally published June 2019.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that those who have obtained "Sattvic knowledge" (the highest level of consciousness before becoming fully aware of the higher Self and God) see: "the one indestructible Being [God] in all beings, the unity underlying the multiplicity of creation."
While it may be easy to see God in dogs, cats and other cute fuzzy animals, it is much harder for us to find unity with some of God's more despised creatures, such as the mosquito.
As a part of my spiritual practice, I strive to do no harm to other creatures. I will have to continue to eat plants (arguably a being just like everything else), but I have mostly cut meat from my diet. I also have a catch-and-release program for insects that find their way into my home.
Mosquitoes, though, am I right? I HATE them. I am allergic to their bites, and one quick nibble for them transforms into a massive welt on my arm, leg or face. I once got bit under the eye and my right eye was swollen shut for two days.
So, here's my quandary. I cannot kill them, but I also cannot allow them to feed off me. It's especially difficult, because I live on the water and love the outdoors--two things I have in common with mosquitoes (I guess the supreme Being is in all of us). Thus, I have discovered many ways to deter mosquitoes without ruining my karma.
Mosquito Repelling Plants
There are a number of mosquito repelling plants that keep the insects out of your living space, smell great and can often be used in cooking. I've had the most luck with marigolds, rosemary, lavender, basil and the old standby, citronella. I prefer the first four because a) marigolds are pretty and attract pollinators, b) you can cook with rosemary and basil, and c) lavender is my second-favorite smell (lilacs are the first). Lavender also attracts butterflies, and my lavender plants come back year after year. Citronella, unfortunately, is an annual.
Other plants that repel mosquitoes include:
Lemon balm - easy to grow but may aggressively kill your other plants. Put them in a pot.
Catnip - bonus: it will save you money at the pet store!
Peppermint - a great deterrent for many pests, and you can use it for itch relief if you do get bitten.
Garlic - no good if we ingest it (unfortunately), but the plant will keep mosquitoes away. Plus, it still tastes good.
Pennyroyal - I've never planted this, but apparently, it also attracts butterflies (it's also a badass Nirvana song).
Geraniums - I had no idea these were a deterrent until I did research for this article. I will try this pretty option this summer and report back.
I prefer using all natural, plant-based products whenever possible, but I also have a tiki torch that I fill with the clean-burning Tiki oil (probably not the most eco-friendly choice). However, as I was researching this article, I found a recipe for making your own tiki oil. Again, will likely try this summer and report back.
If you don't care about your karma (as my BF doesn't), you can also pick-up an electrified tennis racket. I'm proud to say that my natural deterrents have mostly worked, though, so he has not had the opportunity to use this as often as he would like.
I hope these options keep you safe this summer. If you have a favorite mosquito deterrent, share below! I'm always looking for options.