Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me!
By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer
It is easy to make your own non-toxic bug spray by using store bought essential oils. Essential oils are steam-distilled pure concentrates of the natural oils present in plants, flowers, roots, and trees and can be purchased at your local health food store.
The high amounts of essential oils that are so often found in store bought natural bug sprays are unnecessary, and can be made at home using less.To make your own insect repellent, combine rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, vodka, or olive oil with one of the essential oils listed below.
Create your own natural bug repellent!To make an effective repellent the base-to-essential oil ratio should be 10-to-1. Store your mixture in a glass spray bottle and be sure to shake well before each use as the base and oil may separate.
If you find that you need to apply repellents several times throughout the day, and you are doing this everyday, I recommend that you make several different repellents and use them in alternation.
Essential oils are steam distilled concentrates of the natural oils present in plants, flowers, roots, and trees. They are 100% pure and must be carefully used by the drop. To follow are the most commonly used essential oils in natural bug repellants, and should only be used externally. With the exception of Lavender and Tea Tree ALL essential oils must be diluted before use:
- CEDARWOOD (Juniperus mexicana)
- CITRONELLA (Cymbopagon nardus)
- LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon citratus)
- PENNYROYAL (Mentha puleglum)
- TEA TREE OIL ( Melaleuca alternifolia)
- GERANIUM (Pelargonium graveolens)
- CATNIP (Nepeta cataria) – Preliminary studies have shown catnip oil to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitos!
- EUCALYPTUS OIL (Eucalyptus globulus) – Patch test before using on your skin. Keep out of mucus membranes.
ADDITIONAL EFFECTIVE INGREDIENTS
NEEM OIL -To generations of native people, Neem was known to provide protection from disease; therefore, protecting and planting Neem was not only considered a sacred duty but it was encouraged by religious sanction. Neem is a tropical tree grown in many Asian countries, and in the tropical regions of the western hemisphere. Through its gentle but effective means of controlling pests and plant disease, the Neem Tree is considered to be one of the most promising trees of the 21st century. with great potential in the fields of Pest Management, Environmental Protection and Medicine. It is believed to help control diseases like malaria, cancer and AIDS, and its use cancombat desertification, deforestation, and global warming. (Product link | Ingredient link)
SOYBEAN OIL – The New England Journal of Medicine found soybean oil to be an effective natural repellant. Comparing to DEETs 302 minute repelling capabilities, a soybean-oil–based repellent protected against mosquito bites for an average of 95 minutes. (Product link | Ingredient link)
YARROW -To repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies, try a diluted tincture of yarrow (Alchellia millefolium) flowers directly on all exposed skin. A recent US Army study showed yarrow tincture to be more effective than DEET as an insect repellent. (Product link)
GARLIC - Another effective natural bug repellent can be made by mixing one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to six hours. Strips of cotton cloth can also be dipped in this mixture and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Eat less sugar and more garlic!
- Planting marigolds around your yard works as a natural bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance bugs and flying insects do not like.
- The most important measure you can take is to remove standing water sources. Change birdbaths, wading pools and pet’s water bowl twice a week. Keep your eaves troughs clean and well-draining. Remove yard items that collect water.
INSECT REPELLING PLANTS
- ANT REPELLENTS: Tansy
- FLEA REPELLENTS: Brewers Yeast, Garlic, Fennel, Pennyroyal, Pyrethrum Daisy, Garlic. Garlic combined with brewers yeast protects your pets against fleas. They usually love this sprinkled on their food each day. – Place a drop of pennyroyal on your pets collar to repel fleas. You can also add a few drops of pennyroyal oil to water and spray around areaswhere your pets sleeps.
- FLY REPELLENTS: Basil, Bay Leaf, Cloves, Tansy
- MICE REPELLENTS: Mints
- MOTH REPELLENTS: Basil, Bay Leaf, Cedar, Cloves, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Mints (Not Peppermint) Patchouli, Pennyroyal, Black Pepper, Pyrethrum Daisy, Rosemary, Rue, Tansy, Southernwood, Thyme, Wormwood.
- PLANTS THAT PROTECT PEOPLE: Basil, Bay Leaf, Citronella Oil, Clove, Garlic, Neem Leaf, Pennyroyal, Rosemary, Rue, Thyme, Tea Tree, Witch Hazel
- WEEVILS: Bay leaf – Place whole leaf in grain and flour packages.
About the Author Tony(a) Lemos
Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA and maintains an herbal practice in Northampton, MA. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She is the vice president of the North East Herbal Association, and has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering and the Women’s Herbal Conference. firstname.lastname@example.org
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