There's nothing like a tropical setting for a destination wedding. Crashing waves, warm breezes, the sand beneath your toes…and buzzing mosquitoes! No one likes a wedding crasher, and a biting mosquito can be the worst kind. So what's a beach-loving bride-to-be to do? We've got you covered with the best ways to avoid mosquitoes at your wedding.
First things first: Provide your guests with repellent. "I always recommend using insect repellents that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency," says Nancy Troyano, Ph.D., entomologist for the family of pest control brands Ehrlich, Western Exterminator, and Presto-X. "An EPA registration means that the product is safe and effective if used according to the label directions."
Avoid Products Containing Fragrances
In general, heavily scented body fragrances, shampoos, hair spray, lotions and soaps—particularly those with floral scents—are known to attract mosquitoes, says Troyano. In order to avoid mosquito bites, it's best to switch to unscented products.
And here's another reason to stay nice and fresh: Human body odor is a highly attractive scent to mosquitoes. "In order to stay off the radar of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, it is important to wash after exercising to keep body odor to a minimum. Avoid masking body odor with perfume, as this will only serve to increase attraction by mosquitoes," says Troyano. You may want to consider something like a citronella soap when you know you'll be outdoors. (Citronella soap, $7, Four Sisters Farm Soap Co available on Etsy)
Choose fragrances that mosquitoes do NOT like. For example, Isola's lavender and vanilla bean perfume body oil (above) is nourishing, hydrating, vegan, and wards off mosquitoes—the pure vanilla extract and the lavender are both natural insect repellents! (Lavender and vanilla bean perfume body oil set, $44, Isola)
The general recommendation is to apply sunscreen first, then the insect repellent. "Use both products as directed by their label. Be aware that certain insect repellents may decrease the efficacy of sunblock, so be prepared to reapply sunblock with more frequency than if you were to use sunblock alone," says Troyano.
Another great bet is to use mosquito-repelling products that have the option of SPF built in, such as Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard. ("Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus" SPF 30 lotion, $6.99, Avon)
Modify Your Behavior
Mosquitoes are attracted to human scents such as carbon dioxide, body odor, and lactic acid (emitted through your skin after eating certain foods or exercising). Therefore the wedding guests cutting a rug on the dance floor would likely be among the most desirable targets for hungry mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are highly visual creatures, and research shows that insect behavior can be influenced by color. "Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colors, so it's always better to lean toward light-colored attire or accessories when you'll be outside," says Amy Lawhorne, vice president of Mosquito Squad. Bugs in general are attracted to ultraviolet, florescent, and blue light. It's best to avoid these at your wedding, along with dark colors like blacks and blues, says Lawhorne.
Use Essential Oils
"Mosquitoes hate essential oils!" says Gabrielle Francis, who has been practicing natural medicine for more than 30 years. The essential oils are the immune system of the plant. They have antimicrobial activity and protect the plant from bacteria, viruses, and other microbes and bugs. "They also protect us the same way! So a good bug spray should have a nontoxic base such as an organic oil or aloe vera or a water base." Essential oils can include germanium, citronella, lemon grass, eucalyptus, lavender, cedar, rosemary, peppermint, and more. "Using products like Moroccan Elixir's Slenderize argan oil are excellent because it has the nontoxic base of argan oil and is formulated with essential oils of lemon and basil," says Francis. ("Slenderize" anti-cellulite pure argan oil, $25, Moroccan Elixir)
Take Your Vitamins
"Take B complex vitamins for one month prior to the summer holidays. And continue throughout the summer. The B vitamins give off and odor that mosquitoes do not like," adds Francis. (Super B-complex tablets, $8.59, Nature Made available at Target)