Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mosquitoes and Catnip

We have both in abundance. Only one of them on purpose.

Catmint/Catnip flower, purdy, ain't it?

We also have quite a few vanilla beans on hand at all times (hey, vanilla, how can one go wrong?) because we like to throw them in when brewing...

So, here's a little recipe I use to fend off the mosquitoes when I do a half hour of yard work. That's about as long as this concoction is effective and I do small increments of work to break up the larger tasks, it all works out.

Catnip (also known as Catmint for reasons that elude only those who have never seen the plant next to spearmint), a few handfuls of mostly leaves.

Vanilla bean if you have it, vanilla extract if you have it, has to be the real thing and probably shouldn't be sweetened. (Don't use the vanilla flavoured coffee sweetener you have in the cabinet, it doesn't work. At all.) This is optional and smells good, the main thing is the catnip. Also, for the vanilla, a little bit goes a long way, think drops for a quart of infusion.

Alcohol. You can use cheap vodka or other cheap, clear, unflavoured distilled alcohol that is at least 50proof/100%, but I personally consider this alcohol abuse, so I use rubbing alcohol of the 91% variety. Significantly cheaper and since noone will be imbibing this it's all good.

Cut the catnip and vanilla beans (if you have them, if you are using extract you would add that to the final infusion) into small pieces, you want to get a lot of surface contact without creating mush. Put the whole shebang into a container, add the alcohol and shake it up.

Every day or so. We keep it on the kitchen counter by the coffee, so we don't miss it ;).

For at least two weeks, but longer is better.

catnip infusion, better late than never, right?

Mix this infusion 50/50 with water in a spraybottle and apply just before exposure to mosquito infested areas (Amazon jungle, Mekong delta, Michigan/Florida, my back yard). You'll be good for about 30 minutes, after that you will want to re-apply or go back inside and eat ice cream while the bloodsuckers bang on your back door, pretending to sell girl-scout cookies.

For the price of rubbing alcohol and a spraybottle and if you so chose a bit of vanilla you have all natural mosquito repellent that actually works. How cool is that?

That's all I got for now,
Happy Pinching :)

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