The mosquito, despite it’s tiny size of only around 2.5 milligrams is one of summer’s biggest irritations! With over 3500 species known to exist, these annoying little pests are simply a fact of life which is why the mosquito-repellent industry is worth a whopping $200 million annually. Unfortunately the majority of sprays, fogs, and other products designed to ward off the inevitable swarms of tiny flying bloodsuckers during their active breeding months (female mosquitoes only bite when they are preparing to lay eggs) are usually more dangerous than the insect bites they are designed to prevent.

Save yourself from mosquitoes and toxic chemicals by making your own homemade mosquito-repelling incense using a handful of all-natural ingredients which tiny flying bloodsuckers loathe.

A Little Incense Information

Before we get started, it may be helpful to arm yourself with a little background on incense in both its traditional and modern forms.

There are three types of incense:

Combustible Incense includes sticks and cones, as well as the ever popular “mosquito coil” – a spiral-shaped repellent product which contains pyrethrum powder and various synthetic chemicals. When burned, the mosquito coil produces a fog which drives away biting insects. During the 12 hours it takes to burn down an entire coil, this product fills the air with toxic particulate equivalent to the smoke of 75 – 100 cigarettes. A burning mosquito coil also emits airborne formaldehyde.

Loose Incense is made by combining ground-up natural ingredients such as herbs, resins, and woods. The mixture is then heated or burned using a flammable material like charcoal or makko powder (Machilus thunbergii, aka Japanese Bay.) This is the easiest form of incense to create, thus it is the one we will be focusing on in the following guide.

Pellet Incense is made in much the same way as loose incense, but with the addition of a binding agent such as dried fruit or resin. The mixture is rolled into pea-sized balls which require around 2 – 4 weeks to dry plus an optional but recommended aging time of up to 1 year. (Since you’re reading this guide, we’re going to assume that your mosquito problem needs immediate attention. Therefore we will shelf the pellet method for a later date!)

Gather Your Tools…

There are a handful of items which are essential to successfully making your own incense. These include:

Mortar & Pestle

For pulverizing your ingredients, the mortar and pestle is a must-have. While some people recommend using a textured set for easier grinding of tough materials, I use this mortar & pestle by Milton Brook as it is much much easier to remove sticky resin from the smooth ceramic surfaces.

Alternately, you may want to use a burr grinder for preparing tougher woody-materials. Unlike blade-grinders (food processors, blenders, etc) a burr grinder employs two rotating abrasive surfaces to efficiently pulverize hard materials into a consistent and uniform particle size without scorching them. Should you decide to purchase a burr grinder, I highly recommend the De’Longhi brand. (I purchased my De’longhi DCG59 on December 28, 2004 and have used it to grind coffee almost every morning since. It still works just as perfectly today as it did over 10 years ago!) For another option which offers top-notch quality with a slightly smaller price tag.

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