Squish, smash, spray, swat skeeters

Mosquitoes suck.

It’s my third year at Chico State, and let me tell you, the worst part about going back to school is the amount of mosquito bites I accumulate during the first few months.

Freshman, expect to be bit at the beginning of the semester. You can’t escape it. It will happen randomly. But know that you are not alone.

This semester I moved into my new apartment a week before the school year began. The night that I moved in, my roommate and I went out to meet up with some of our friends.

The minute I got home I started to scratch my legs, arms and back furiously, as if I had become a victim of chicken pox all over again. That’s when I started to notice bright red blotches on my skin. The mosquitoes didn’t waste any time. They marked their territory.

Most of us are eager to explore our favorite parts of Chico, whether they be downtown, in Bidwell Park or the nooks and crannies of campus. It’s only natural that you’ll want to acquaint yourself with all our college town has to offer.

Yet, I know many incoming students are unaware that Chico is a feeding ground for mosquitoes.

I’m here to help. Over the years I’ve gathered a list of remedies to help protect your skin and resist the itchy sensation that comes with each bite.

Here are a few techniques that will help keep you from being bitten:

Citronella oil

According to Amelia Island Mosquito Control, citronella oil is found in outdoor candles, torches and lanterns and various skin products that mosquitoes dislike. This is a natural yet fragrant way to protect your skin. Apply before hiking at Upper Bidwell or at dusk before hitting the town.

Dryer sheet in pocket

Many of my friends moms have said placing a dryer sheet in one of the pockets of your shorts or pants is a simple and inexpensive solution.

Eating garlic

I would use this next option as a last resort because it may repel more than just mosquitoes.

Apparently the pungent smell of garlic is the key to ridding yourself of these pesky critters. Eat it before going out or rub it on exposed skin and the garlic will change your scent as it seeps through your pores.

If you’ve already been bit, try these simple treatments. You may already own these, but if not, Target or any other drugstore should carry them:

Acne medications

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are the most common ingredients in acne medications and creams. When applied to the irritated area it will help dry up the spots where you’ve been bitten. Most of us have face washes and tubes of acne treatment gel lying around in our bathrooms, which makes this a very convenient option when you need fast relief.

Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick

There are several essential oils that can provide temporary relief for bites. This all-natural roller ball stick reduces blemishes and acne. It also contains tea leap oil, which is a powerful pesticide that can be fatal to mosquitoes when they come in direct contact with it.

Lip balm

Any brand of lip balm should do the trick. I’ve found that the brand EOS gets the job done. It comes in delicious smelling flavors and colorful small packaging you can keep in your backpack or purse. Apply directly to the irritated area and I assure you will not touch your bites any more.

Bug spray

After spending a week and a half in Marco Island, Fla. with my family this summer, it has come to my attention that the most effective and long-lasting brand of bug spray is Off! Deep Woods Dry insect repellent. The nice aspect of this brand is that will you be protected without an oily or greasy feeling on your skin.

In this hot weather I recommend trying any of these remedies to keep your skin mosquito-free, especially because it’s the perfect time to show off that summer tan, that new maxi dress or that “I worked out all summer” bod at the pool.

Don’t let the mosquitoes suck all the fun out of your outdoor activities Wildcats.


Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or @Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.