The Mosquito - How Nail Polish helps Ease the Bites when Bitten by Mosquitoes

The Mosquito

Due to a serious local reaction I have just suffered after being bitten by a small flying insect, I felt obliged to research the mosquito to learn why I suffered such a reaction when most other people don't.

It seems it is all to do with the chemicals these biting insects inject directly into your blood stream, This normally includes a type of local anaesthetic to allow it is suck your blood for longer without you noticing, and a substance to stop your blood from clotting (so they can suck even more blood).

Several species of insects suck blood, but it is only the female of species that does this. They need the blood in order to lay eggs.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes (Culicidae)

Mosquitoes (Spanish for tiny flies) live in all warm climates, and are most active between dusk and dawn. They lay their eggs and breed in any stagnant water they find lying around. For this reason, it is advisable to ensure you do not leave water lying around for them to breed in. This obviously makes saving rainwater in order to water your garden plants in summer difficult, unless you have a tight-fitting lid on the container in which you collect rainwater.

Close windows and doors at night-time.

To prevent mosquito bites, keep your windows and doors closed at nighttime so the mosquito can't enter your house.

Mosquitoes are attracted by the lights in the house, but they are also attracted to you once lights are out and you are sleeping. They know you are there because their highly developed olfactory senses smell you and smell your blood. If you are awake you can quite often hear them emit a high pitched whine as they buzz around you, looking for a place to land. Even if you are almost sleeping, it is a really good idea to get up and spray the room with a household insecticide, otherwise you may wake up in the morning covered with bites.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

More Measures to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Electric insecticide Plugs

You can buy electric insecticide plugs that you plug directly into any electrical socket that will disperse an insecticide into the air while you sleep. They work but are expensive to buy and means you are also breathing in the chemicals all night long.

While there is no evidence to suggest they are in any way harmful to humans, any chemical in a room is best avoided if at all possible.
Shut the windows, and leave them shut all day. (Or just open them for a time in the morning).

When the heat of the day kicks in, you are no longer freshening the air in your house, you are letting heat in that will still be there at night-time. It is best to keep your windows and blinds (or curtains) closed all day, in order to keep your room cooler at night.
If you really must open your bedroom window at night, fit mosquito nets over the window so that they can't enter.

Air conditioning will negate the need for cooler air at night time, but I personally don't like air conditioning because here in Spain if you step out of an air-conditioned environment, you get the impression of stepping into Hell when you walk outside. The wall of heat hits you.

If you never use air-conditioning, you will not notice this incredible heat to the same extent.

Electric Fans

Some form of cooling/refreshing is needed in order to be able to sleep in this heat, and ordinary household fans help double-fold. Not only can they give the impression of a breeze (admittedly with warm air), but if you position a fan directly over your position while sleeping, the breeze created prevents a hungry mosquito from landing on you. Their wings are simply not strong enough to fly in a breeze.

If you do suffer from a mosquito bite, you will likely develop a raised itchy area of skin. Some lucky people are completely unaffected by bites, but for most of us the itch can be almost unbearable. The more we scratch, the greater the danger of opening up the skin through scratching, thus allowing infections to enter.

Itchy Mosquito Bites

Itch Relief

I have tried loads of 'cures' ranging from fresh lemon juice to toothpaste to try to relieve the itch from a mosquito bite, but at long last I have found a measure that actually works.

Nail Polish

That is nail-varnish. Clean and dry the bite, then put clear nail polish over the spot where the bite broke the skin. The relief is instant as this sealing of the wound seems to stop the itching. Re-apply as necessary until the bite wound has healed.

Another relief I have just learned about is to use Scotch tape, which I think is sellotape, to seal the wound.

This seems to be based along the same idea as the nail varnish, and I've used that and KNOW it works! I didn't have any clear nail varnish last time I was badly bitten, so had to use the only color I had in the house which was a shimmering pale green, and it did show up as small green dots on my arms legs, neck and face, which most people were polite enough not to comment on when I went out. I don't care, I would rather look a bit stupid than suffer from mosquito bites.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Mosquito Repellent Sprays

Buy a mosquito repellent spray to wear on any exposed skin if you go outside in the evenings, to avoid being bitten. Any repellent sprays containing DEET or Icaridine will suffice. Spray directly onto your skin and rub in to ensure an even coverage.

An excellent product for sale here on the Costa Blanca is Autan Protection Plus 'repelente de mosquitos'. This contains 20% Icaridine and is very effective and last up to 8 hours, which is ideal for an evening out where you may find yourself sitting in a pavement cafe which is probably cooler than inside, but where you are exposed to the mercy of the mosquitoes whose activities start just as dusk is falling.

Some of the bigger supermarket sells their own brand of mosquito repellents a little cheaper and they are all very effective so long as you remember to cover ALL exposed skin, including your face and neck. I find it easier to spray a little on my hand, then use my hand to rub it on the face, rather that spray directly onto the face where the eyes might get affected.

The thing I can tell you about mosquito repellent sprays is that they really do work.

Treating Mosquito Bites

Your Remedies

If you have any remedies for mosquito bites, please feel free to add them to the comments section at the foot of this page.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Footnote from myself: Just watched a Spanish TV show where they made a mixture of apple cider vinegar ( about 1 tablespoon) and a handful of cloves. Leave to steep overnight. Next evening, apply to skin and this deters mosquitoes, apparently. It is worth a try - anything that can help prevent mosquito bites is worth a try.

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Comments 25 comments

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ralwus 6 years ago

LOL I can just see you all polk a dotted. The little buggers used to love me and could ruin a good time fast for me. Now, after having had so many chemo treatments and using so many meds, they find me most distasteful. I am wicked in my joy of sitting among them as they attack others now. LOL Good hub dear. CC

lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

I learned a lot from this hub. Great information.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

@ralwus - got to be an easier way to avoid them than having to get chemo first! Hey, gotta to be upside to chemo. Good on ya for finding out what it is :)

@lovelypaper - thanks m'dear :) It's taken me years of suffering to start learning how to deal with them!

expats profile image

expats 6 years ago from UK

My wife heard from someone that if people who suffer a lot from mosquito bites eats a small amount of marmite daily the mozzies would leave them alone. As she is like a magnet to the little blighters she decided to try it, despite the fact she can't stand marmite. Unfortunately, it didn't help one bit, she still got loads of bites.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I'm sorry to hear that, expats. I, too, have heard of the marmite theory and hoped it was true - even though I don't much like marmite, I like mosquito bites less.

I'm hoping to experiment this year with the catnip seedlings I have grown, to see if its possible to make a tea or whatever with it. DEET or icaridin sprays works great, but are expensive. Catnip looks good because it is cheap, especially if you grow your own.

Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

NAil polish,..Wow,.. I never knew,.. very kewl. Hmmm,.. With summer on its way over in Afghanistan, perhaps I will add clear nail polish to my care packages I send. Thanks for sharing this info,.. to bad you had to suffer from those bites though,...

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Good idea - if he forgets to put his DEET spray on and gets bitten, it'll make life more comfortable. Don't suppose the NAAFI shop carries nail polish but you never know! Might be better off with scotch tape however - surely they sell that! Plus there'll be less ribbing from his mates.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What about the effects of those chemicals on your skin though? Could they be slowly poisoning you?

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Not according to studies, but then we all know studies/statistics can be made to prove anything!

I'm of a mind that the chemicals are reasonably safe, and if not well, mosquito bites aren't exactly safe, are they?

Princessa profile image

Princessa 6 years ago from France

I've tried the nail polish solution and it worked. Unfortunately I haven't found yet an efficient repelent to avoid the bites in the first place.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

Avon's Skin So Soft. It works!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I've tried Avon's Skin-so-soft and unfortunately it doesn't work for me. Did get lovely soft skin though :)

Princessa - the deet or icaridine skin sprays don't work for you? marmite, loads of garlic...anything else? (these remedies don't work for me but hey gotta try!)

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Mosquitoes generally LOVE me. Had not heard about the nail polish nor skotch tape, but will surely give it a try the next time I am bitten. Fortunately our neighborhood pays to have fogging done to kill mosquitoes each week and I have noticed a great difference in fewer of the little varmints since they have started that. Thanks for doing this hub.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Peggy, you and me both! My swimming pool pump is broken and so is my neighbour's, so that is a lot of lying water for them to breed in. No-one here sprays for anything, its every man (or woman) for himself!

Just this spring I put a lemon scented geranium in my kitchen terrace, and there are definitely less flies coming in my kithcen than normal. Looks like they may have fly deterrent properties - not necessarily against mosquitoes.

scla profile image

scla 6 years ago from Southern California

Great article. I didn't know about some of these simple remedies. It seems that for some reason mosquitoes seem to attack me more than most people. Usually if we are in a group most people will get 1 bite and I will end up with 12 -15 bites.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You and me both, scla! I've not had many bites so far this summer because I'm using the sprays -DEET etc, but I've tried sellotape on the few bites I've still managed to get, and it definitely takes the itch out of it, for a while anyway.

Teresa Schultz profile image

Teresa Schultz 6 years ago from East London, in South Africa

Hm, I once had an allergic reaction to nail polish remover, just once, out of the blue, but it makes me stay clear of nail polish and nail polish remover. Now marmite I like, but I don't like a mosquito bite.

My sons seem to get bitten more than I do, especially in the evenings, and although mosquito coils worked, their smell closed up my dad's chest a bit (we all live at my parents), so, no good for us either! It's not as bad this year as last year, but what I do do if the kids are bitten by mosquitos is to rub the clear gel-like sap of some bulbinella leaves onto the bitten areas, and the itching vanishes within ten minutes. Bulbinella is a South African herb. I also use it if the kids have been stung by a hornet, wasp or bee.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Now that is incredibly interesting because a)I have never heard of bulbinella and b)it really takes the itch out of a mosquito bite?

Fascinating stuff! I'm off to google it.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Right I am persuaded. Now to source some seeds or plants...

Teresa Schultz profile image

Teresa Schultz 6 years ago from East London, in South Africa

I'm glad you Googled it - I'm actually not a big herb user, but when it comes to two herbs - bulbinella, and comfrey - for making comfrey cream, I think they're amazing.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Heard of comfrey - it grows wild in the UK I believe, but its not one I know much about (yet!), but the other I have sourced to so I may have a shot at growing it here in Spain. If it works, I'll sell it LOL

Thank you so much for this information which is invaluable not only to myself but to others out there getting plagued by mosquito bites,

Teresa Schultz profile image

Teresa Schultz 6 years ago from East London, in South Africa

I'm glad to hear you found some bulbinella, and can't wait to hear how it helps you with mosquito bites. It's drought resistant, so it should hopefully grow just about anywhere.

sugz profile image

sugz 6 years ago from Quakeville... Christchurch, New Zealand

found this as i was answering a question... i never get bitten, i eat a lot of chocolate, i'm addicted to it.. and eat sweets. mosquitos and sandfly's do not like sweet blood, they avoid it as much as possible.

washing any bites with cooled boiled water also helps to draw out the poison they've inserted, but also iodine based products counteract it.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Hmmm! Chococate to ward off mosquitoes? Not sayng its doesn't work but a lot of us would get very fat trying! Thanks for the ideas :)

Penny 2 years ago

If I'm out and about with no access to bite relief, I either make an x on the bite or smack the bite once. These both work for a while, especially the quick hard smack.

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