Now that winter has passed and nature is thawing out, it’s time for all the little bugs to come out of hiding. I don’t know if you spend a lot of time outdoors, but from March through October, I spend many a day and night at the baseball field and am constantly surrounded by mosquitoes, no-see-ums and other annoying and biting insects. I’m fine with them hanging around – after all – the great outdoors is their home, but I don’t want to be their next meal. I also don’t want to constantly douse myself in chemical-laden bug sprays.
There are many essential oils, known for being excellent natural insect repellents. Here are just some of them:
• Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine
Many of these different essential oils work especially well for specific pests, according to the research I have done, here are some of the more well known pests and essential oils that work as repellents for them:
• Mosquitoes – citronella, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, catnip, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, lavender
• Fleas – cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lemongrass, lavender, orange, pine
• Ticks – rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit, oregano
Some studies have also shown, additional effective ingredients include: Neem Oil, Soybean Oil, Vodka, Garlic and Vanilla Extract
Homemade Essential Oil Insect Repellent Spray
Makes 4 ounces
• 25 drops peppermint essential oil
• 15 drops tea tree essential oil
• 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil* (optional, if you add this, add only 1 ounce of vodka or witch hazel
(please make sure to read above for all of the different options of oils so you can make your own custom mixture)
Using a 4 oz clean spray bottle fill with water, add the witch hazel or vodka then about 50 to 75 total drops of your various essential oils. Shake well. Spray onto exposed skin and/or clothing, avoiding eyes and mucous membranes. Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed. tore in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight.
**For the best results, please make sure you are using therapeutic grade oils. Please do your research if you plan to use this on a pregnant woman, young children or someone undergoing holistic treatments, as essential oils can interact with certain treatments. Lavender and tea tree oils are the only essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, all others should always be diluted. This mixture could also be sprayed on your dog’s collar to help keep pests off of him/her, but please do not use on cats, as many essential oils are toxic to cats.**
Sometimes no matter how much we try to protect ourselves we will still get bit. So how can you stop the itch or the pain?
• Apply lavender or tea tree essential oil directly to the insect bite.
• Apply apple cider vinegar to the bite
• Rub the affected area with a lemon slice
• Dip a chilled already brewed chamomile tea bag to the bite to soothe to reduce inflammation.
• Hold an ice cube on the bite.
• Create a paste of water and baking soda and apply directly to the area
• A slice of onion has been known to immediately remove pain when applied to insect bites