Bug Off Insect Repellent
Uninvited insects can really make a vacation unenjoyable. I’ve spent much time in the woods trying to figure out how to manage our presents in a nontoxic way, since we are often the “uninvited” guests. We enter their world. That is not to say we shouldn’t do all we can to prevent confrontation and create boundaries. It is more about the absurdity of elimination tactics like mass spraying that I get “bugged” by. This short term gain is followed by long term environmental and personal devastation that hurts us more than them. Insects have been here for a long time. They are the base of the food chain, and they’re highly resistant. Insects are better managed, than poisoned. So what is a mom to do?
I often say that You only have to smell worse than the people beside you. It is partially true. Some people really smell great to insects. They are the ones that get bite often. In contract, this doesn’t mean you have to stink. But if you are going to use natural repellants, there is usually a smell involved. Weather it smells good or bad is very individual for the people and the insects. That’s right what works in one place with their bug, won’t necessary work in another. Although there is enough research on the subject to have a platform to start from. A workable solution will at times need to be tweaked for more optimal performance. Here is a good formation start:
- A good barrier is always the best prevention. I.e. inside at dawn and dusk, mosquito nets/ closed tents when sleeping in mosquito infested areas, and long sleeves/pants
- Environmental repellants. I.e. remove standing water when possible, add bug repelling landscape plants, homemade traps, and proper air flow
- High performing natural repellants, below
- Be prepared with a first aid plan
Bug Off Spray
- 30 drops Citronella EO (mosquitoes and ticks)
- 30 drops Geranium EO (mosquitoes and ticks)
- 20 drops Cedarwood EO (mosquitos and calming)
- 20 drops lemongrass EO (mosquitos)
- 10 drops rosemary EO (flies and other disease containing bugs)
- 1 Tbsp vodka
- ½ c witch hazel
- ½ vinegar (flea repellent)
- 1 tsp vegetable glycerin (non GMO)
Mix together and shake. Place in a spray bottle. Original from WellnessMama.com Her recipe uses a eucalyptus EO that may not work with homeopathy so I enhanced the recipe.
Another good website for additional bug repelling ideas is 24+ Simple Ways to Repel Mosquitoes from Tips Bulletin.
Herb Extract Bug Spray
One time I was making a large batch of herbal tea for a wedding. I was given a huge amount of fresh lemon balm. After making gallons of lemon balm tea, I just didn’t get around to disposing of the remaining by products. This was during the high fruit fly season as well, but there were no fruit flies around that compost. Considering how cost effective free lemon balm is to grow or gather it would be a good repellent. Though I am a believer in lemon balm, my daughter recently downsized her yarrow stash, so I took the opportunity to make repellent from it. Here is what I did.
- ⅓ jar dried yarrow
- ⅓ jar dried catnip
Add herbs to a canning jar. Pour vodka over herbs until the jar is ½ full with vodka and then add water for the other ½. Fill to the top of the herb jar to cover herbs. Shake jar each day for a week. Wait 1 month before straining. Place in a spray bottle.
I have a child that gets huge boils from simple insect bites. So I have had to come up with a first aid plan. All those that camp and hike should have a bug bite first aid plan.
- Ledem is the homeopathic remedy for puncture wounds (Take 200c for tick bites, spider, and mosquitoes)
- Apis is a homeopathic remedy for allergic reactions (bring 200-1M for stings)
- Chamomile tea bag make super easy poultices (wet and place on bite)
- Activated charcoal is great at pulling out toxins (helps pain and itching)
- Echinacea tincture spray. Great for poisons that have been injected into your skin also a great antiseptic. That is why it is in my first aid kit.
You can bring all or chose one oral and one topical remedy for the situation.
Nature is not here for your convenience. The best way to protect your family is prevention and preparation. Be prepared with natural first aid strategies or convenience is going to out vote your good intentions. Meaning if you aren’t ready to administer natural first aid when something happens, you will be at the mercy of whatever you can find, usually not natural. If you are in the Portland area and want to have an Herbal First Aid Party, let me know.
I offer a local Herbal First Aid class that you can have with your friends. I will come to your house, make a salve, describe the things in the kit, and all will leave with a mini herbal first aid kit of their own. It is lots of fun and super practical.