Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Bites, Megabites and Gigabites

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference
You haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”
African Proverb

It is spring here in South Africa, my favourite time of the year.  The flowers are blooming, the birds are tweeting and it is just hot enough to enjoy the weather.  Spring is also the time for showers of rain and if water gets trapped and left stagnant, a lot of mosquitos can breed.
Well last night for some reason we were inundated with mossies – small ones, big ones and the great big irritating ones that sound like aeroplanes.   After going around the house turning off all the lights and using two cans of mosquito repellant, not healthy for the plants, the dogs and the fish, I managed to kill off the majority of them.  Of course when the lights went back on, more came in.

Then I remembered a couple of little candles I had in my back cupboard for use when we sit outside.  I lit up the flames, put them next to the open doors and, Bobs your Auntie, they were gone.
So no wasting money on poisonous chemical sprays from now on unless for an emergency, I will now buy citronella candles.  The have a beautiful yellow colour and smell like lemon.  I decided to find out more about citronella just to make sure how safe it was.
Citronella oil is a volatile oil which is distilled using steam from the greenish blue, lemon-scented leaves and stem of the plant Cymbopogon nardus (Ceylon citronella) or Cymbopogon winteratus (Java type citronella) and the main constituents being citronellal and geraniol. It is a colourless or light yellow liquid with a characteristic woody, grassy or lemony odour. 
Citronella oil may be harmful if ingested in quantity and may irritate the skin and eye. However, it is not believed to be hazardous to humans, including children and those with sensitive skin, if used according to label instructions.  Citronella oil has minimal or no risk to wildlife and environment due to its toxic levels being low and its use being limited. Therefore, it can be used around the home with no expected adverse effects.

Uses of Citronella oil include:
Ø  Insect repellant
Ø  Animal collars and tags to repel fleas
Ø  To calm barking dogs
Ø  Muscle and joint pain relief
Ø  Nervous fatigue in aromatherapy
Ø  Migraines and headaches in aromatherapy
Ø  Astringent for oily skin
Ø  A base for perfume oils

Apparently the plants grow in South Africa – that will be my next gardening experiment !
Tonight my candles are burning and the only bytes I am going to receive will be on my computer !!
If you need any more info on this, buzz me !!!!

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