Whether you live in a tropical region or are simply experiencing summer, outdoor activities are the norm. The warm weather calls for hikes, camping, outdoor barbecues, a variety of nature excursions or simply chilling outside as you watch the sunset. However with all the fun and activities involved, one thing is constant- bugs.
They thrive in warmer conditions and love the fine weather as much as you do. Aside from the constant buzzing that is a nuisance and skin slapping to shoo them away, these bugs may carry harmful diseases with them. Naturally we resort to various methods to keep them away such as insecticides, powders and topically applied repellants in the form of balms and creams. The majority of commercially available solutions are loaded with chemicals that are not only environmentally unfriendly but can cause skin irritations, or are poisonous when inhaled or accidentally ingested by you or your pets.
With this in mind, there are naturally occurring repellants that keep the bugs away without posing any harm to the environment or yourself. Traditionally bruising plants was the norm to release the naturally occurring compounds that repel the bugs. If you do not have a green thumb then essential oils are your best bet. These oils are extracted from these plants and when applied are effective in fending them off. Some of the most effective are:
- Tea tree
Their scents work by repelling the bugs. Citronella also known as lemongrass works by masking scents that would otherwise be attractive to bugs. These methods may not last as long as synthetic options hence reapplication is required. Mixing in vanilla or soybean oil has shown to improve the length of effectiveness of these oils.
Here are some recipes you can use to create your own repellants
In a diffuser add a few drops; about three to four, of your preferred essential oil and diffuse. This method is best for flying insects. Good essential oils would be Lavender, Citronella, Geranium, Lemon and Eucalyptus. You can play around with them to get a preferred scent or simply use one at a time
You will need:
- 5tbsp coconut oil
- 1tsp beeswax
- Essential oil. ( For a mosquito repellent I used Citronella and some vanilla for scent and strength)
In a water bath melt the coconut oil and beeswax
Add a few drops of essential oils,
Stir and let it cool
I recommend this method for crawling insects and for your pets too.
You will need
- Witch hazel
- Essential oil ( cedar/ nootkatone essential oil
In a ratio of 20:80 mix water and witch hazel respectively
Add drops of essential oil
Put in a spray bottle and shake before use
You can spray this solution on your pets to keep ticks and fleas away. Spray also on surfaces to ward off pests. Remember to reapply when scents fade away. Other ways to protect yourself and home from bugs.
- Wear light coloured clothing when outdoors
- Avoid fruity or sweet scented scents
- Eat plenty of garlic. This will make your scent repulsive to insects
- Use mosquito netting and screening
- Trim bushes around your home.
Remember not to use essential oils directly on skin as they cause irritations. For raw organic beeswax, go to Favaherb.com for a great deal.