It is the height of mosquito season (if there is a season) thanks to the intermittent rainy days and sweltering heat. Besides mosquitoes being really annoying and making it impossible to sleep, dengue is a huge risk this time of year, so we have to combat them.
Here are 3 tips I've discovered and used this year, none of which include spraying chemicals all over my body, although I've done that on occasion too.
This tip comes courtesy of a local radio station. You'll need a small handful of cloves (the amount you'd use to make clove tea), some rubbing alcohol and baby oil. Use 1 part rubbing alcohol to 10 parts baby oil.
Directions: soak cloves overnight in the rubbing alcohol. Discard cloves, and mix alcohol with baby oil and apply to skin. Obviously the solution won't "mix," so whenever you're going to use it, shake well and apply quickly.
Results are mixed. You will smell like gingerbread (a plus, in my book), but I don't like feeling oily so I haven't used it much. Seems to keep away mosquitoes for a while but you'll need to reapply often.
2. Burn smelly oils and incenses.
We have burned a lot of citronella incense in our household this rainy season, usually in the late afternoon, and it seems to have had the best effect against mosquitoes. Recently we bought a small oil burner at a tianguis to burn citronella essential oil. Basil (albahaca) essential oil works too. Dilute the essential oils in baby oil to make it last longer.
Everything mentioned above (essential oils, incense, oil burners) can be found at most outdoor tianguis as well as natural stores.
This is by far the most ridiculous solution, and won't help with a larger mosquito problem, but it certainly is fun! If you're out in the street a lot you've probably seen these being sold at intersections. I was kind of against getting one but Gustavo is obsessed with all kinds of odd gadgets and couldn't resist.
A minimal static current runs through the inner layer of the racket, and "explodes" any small insects upon contact. It makes a loud spark, audibly and visibly, which always makes me jump. If you drive by our street around dusk you'll probably find Gustavo blindly swinging the racket in our front garden, just to hear the satisfying "zzsstt! zzsstt!" every few seconds.
Additional advice: This is common sense more than a "tip," but using a fan at night not only helps with the heat, but is the only thing apart from mosquito netting that will keep bugs from buzzing around your ears. We lost electricity for just one night and I woke up covered in bites.