Is your summer in Turkey buzzing for all the wrong reasons? Are your glorious sundown drinks and evening BBQs spoiled by tiny unwanted guests that leave you itching for the remainder of the night? Here are a few traditional (and not so traditional) ideas that may help you rid yourself, and your home, of pesky mosquitoes in Turkey.
Summertime in Turkey, like most hot countries, provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you are one of the unfortunate souls mozzies take a fancy to, your time here can really be affected. Thankfully local councils in most popular resorts understand the numbers of mosquitoes need to be kept under control. They spray streets, wastelands and roadsides with pesticide regularly in an attempt to limit numbers. This is certainly the case here in Fethiye where you often hear the dull drone of the mozzie man’s 4×4 truck driving up and down the streets of a night, and see the pest controllers wandering through gardens and hotels spraying shrubs and drains to fend off biting critters.
Common ways of repelling mosquitos in Turkey
There are many repellents available locally, perhaps most popular are the room sprays, plugins and body sprays – all available for a few lira from most local supermarkets and stores.
- Room Spray: If heading out for the evening, spray the room, lock up ensuring to close all windows and doors, and by the time you return it should have taken effect – just don’t forget to air the room before using it.
- Plugins: These are also effective with both the tablet and liquid type on offer here in Turkey. Leave them in the room and this should ensure no bites for the night.
- Body Sprays: When heading out be sure to spray yourself with repellant like ‘Off’ or ‘Sin Kov’. This generally works for most people and can easily be carried in a handbag for easy top ups if necessary.
- Aftersun Containing Repellent: Some tourists bring and use after sun lotions available from chemists in the UK like Boots that contain bug repellent.
- Avon’s Skin So Soft: Although not strictly sold as a repellent, Skin So Soft comes highly recommended by many, including us here at Oceanwide Properties. This stuff works! It smells nice, is less harsh when using on kids and is reportedly even used by the military. There are local Avon representatives here in Turkey but, if travelling from the UK, it may be best to get hold of a bottle and bring it with you.
- Vitamin Supplements: Some believe Vitamin B Complex, Garlic tablets, Citronella and/or Peppermint supplements can help prevent bites. Looking online, reports on their effectiveness are mixed – they work for some and not others. Here at Oceanwide a few of the team take Vitamin B and Garlic tablets daily. We do believe the supplements have helped curb bites – but unfortunately, we do still get bitten occasionally.
- Camphor Tablets. These little white balls are sold cheaply at most supermarkets in Turkey and do keep mozzies and other bugs away. Pop a couple in your sinks and let them sit on the plug hole if you are in an area with poor drainage. Dissolve a couple in a little bowl or pot on your windowsill to keep bugs out. Do however be careful that young kids don’t play with them.
- Drink Beer and Eat Marmite! It could all be hype but there are many online reports on how drinking beer and eating marmite helps keep mossies away. A little Google research does suggest there could be some truth in it, both are rich in Vitamin B which is thought to be a repellent as mentioned above.
Holiday Myth: A Gin and Tonic before bed helps keep the mozzies at bay. This saying dates back to colonial times when it was thought that a glass of tonic (containing quinine) before bed helped keep malarial mosquitoes in India from biting whilst you were sleeping. The levels of quinine in tonic today is so minute that there is no benefit of a bedtime G&T (drink beer instead!).
A few common sense suggestions:
- Mosquito nets: Make sure the windows and doors of your property in Turkey have mosquito nets attached – vital for keeping the mozzies at bay! Most quality hotel rooms will have mozzie nets fitted, ask in advance if staying at a budget option. If you are staying somewhere without nets, get a mosquito drape and take it with you, attach to the ceiling above your bed and sleep beneath it.
- Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes, shampoos and fragrances. Mozzies are attracted by the smell of nectar so are likely to head for you first if you’re scent is sweet enough.
- Use deodorant. Body odour and sweat also attracts mozzies – be sure to stay as clean as possible.
- Cover arms and legs. If you are prone to bites, covering your arms and legs whilst out of an evening is sure to help.
- Use air-con at night. Mozzies don’t like the cold so tend to steer clear of air-conditioned rooms
- Avoid sitting or dining near stagnant water or on the grass. Stagnant water and areas surrounding it are the perfect breeding ground for many biters including mozzies. Steer clear of an evening if possible. Also, plug for tables that are away from shrubbery and off the grass as you are far less likely to be bitten.
Natural mosquito repellents to have around the home:
Lemon (Holy or Italian) Basil: During the summer you see Lemon Basil plants sold everywhere in Turkey – even supermarkets often have the little green plants on sale for a couple of Lira. In restaurants, bars and hotels they are commonplace, some pots are even placed on the dinner table instead of flowers. Lemon basil leaves are thought to kill mosquitoes, the smell a big deterrent. It’s a good idea to have a couple of plants near the entry to your home or around your outside dining area to ward off critters.
Rosemary and Mint: Both strong scents, Rosemary and mint work in the same way as Lemon Basil, the smell is hated by mosquitoes. Grow a little rosemary and mint near your door to put mozzies off entering. Burning a rosemary twig is also believed to rid rooms of bugs.
Peppermint: Peppermint is a natural insecticide, the essential oil can be diluted and sprayed in rooms or on the body as a repellent. Some also take a peppermint oil capsule or supplement daily (available from most health stores in UK and some in Turkey) believing this helps fend off bites.
Lavender: Grow lavender in the garden around your property in Turkey, especially in the borders around your pool. It takes root easily and it’s strong smell helps keep the mozzies at bay. Pop a few sprigs in a vase or glass in your room or on your bedside table, this also helps keep the biters away.
Citronella Oil: This essential oil is believed to be the most effective in repelling mozzies. You can buy it online in Turkey or citronella candles and soaps in a few specialist shops. It is widely available in health stores in the UK. It can be diluted and used on the body, burnt in room burners or candles then lit to keep bugs away.
Do you know of any other ways to fend off mosquitoes? Please leave a comment below.
HOW TO TREAT MOSQUITO BITES IN TURKEY
OK. It’s happened and you have been bitten – but what’s the best way to treat mosquito bites in Turkey? Here’s our advice. Do remember to consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are worried or they become infected.
Head to the pharmacy (Eczane) and ask for advice. Popular creams and gels available here include Stilex Gel and topical antihistamines. Ibuprofen Gel relieves the pain and swelling. 1% Hydrocortisone cream also helps the itching and swelling/redness although we have found both take longer to take effect than Stilex.
Bite Pens. These easy to carry and use pens contain ammonia that gives short term relief when dabbed on a fresh bite. They do help takes away the itch. Available in UK (probably cheaper), and at most larger pharmacies in Turkey, especially in tourist areas.
Zappers. Some really believe in these judging by the internet but they sound a little extreme to us here in the office. They are little clickers that you hold over the bite, click and it gives a small electric shock to the area. They are supposed to reduce the swelling and take the itch away. Can anyone vouch for these?
Vinegar or alcohol. Dab a little vinegar or neat alcohol on the bite to take away the itch.
Toothpaste. A lot of people swear by dabbing on a little toothpaste if you have no specific bite gels handy.
Do you know of any remedies for mosquito bites? Please comment below.
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