Working next to a wetland has its attractions and many people who visit the Nature Seychelles headquarters at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman have told us how lucky we are to work in this environment.
A popular spot for outdoors classrooms and leisure activities, the wetland is also home to a variety of fauna and flora.
Lately, however, because of the rainy season, and the profiling of the Sanctuary to include new features, there has been some increase in the number of mosquitoes. Naturally, there has also been a corresponding dash for mosquito repellents.
Apart from the commercially bought repellents, some of which are not really good for us or the environment, we have been investigating some natural solutions to our problem, starting with what is available at the Heritage Garden.
Plants we already knew offered huge relief to the problem. Citronella or Lemon grass, and Rosemary, Cinnamon and neem leaves crashed and rubbed over affected areas offer both relief to bites and act as a natural repellent. Eucalyptus leaves are useful too; wardens on Cousin Island often use them for this purpose.
Aloe Vera is a good remedy for bites – it calms the itching. If you have no access to fresh gel – usually obtained by simply breaking off a leaf and using the sap, you can use shop bought gel. Rubbing lemon or lime juice on bites is apparently also effective.
Be sure to test plants on a small area of your skin to check for reactions or allergies.
It is also said mosquitoes can’t stand garlic and that eating a lot keeps them away. No one’s willing to try it over here.
At Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute, it was reported, research aimed at controlling mosquitoes found that the odour of socks or smelly feet attracted mosquitoes. A trap was devised by researchers that used a mix of chemicals that imitated the smell to attract mosquitoes which are then eliminated.
Perhaps it’s the same principle used to create the home-made trap circulating on the internet that uses a plastic bottle, brown sugar and yeast (we want to try this one). The fermenting yeast works by attracting mosquitoes to it which are then trapped in the bottle.