Mosquitos & Eucalyptus

Extreme close up of a mosquito

When I was a child, everyone around me would be slapping at mosquitos and black flies, but the bugs would never land on me.

The  Sauna Project
Photo of a pristine looking sauna stove by danbruell from his The Sauna Project on Flickr. Using here thanks to his Creative Commons ShareAlike licensing.

I’ve never known why, and these days I’m just as much a host to an opportunistic mosquito as anyone.

Today, my wife connected the dots.

It was the eucalpytus.

I grew up in a particular Finnish-American subculture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and it seems like most of us had a sauna in our houses. Or outside, say behind the garage.

And I was a severe asthmatic, on a first-name basis with the staff at the local ER. My parents seemed to try just about anything to treat the disease.

One such treatment was to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water bucket in the sauna. You know, the one you dip into with a cup to throw water on the hot rocks so that water turns to steam (if memory serves, we called it a word that sounds like LOO-loo-ah; I’ve never seen it spelled).

At that time I was in the sauna many times a week as treatment.

I must have been a eucalyptus-infused boy by that time.

And I hear that mosquitos don’t like eucalyptus.

So, there you go, if you hate mosquitos, you should test the hypothesis. Try out that sauna regimen and let me know if indeed it works.

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