Okay, so we know there are ticks and mosquitoes out there. How do we tell them to buzz off? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bug sprays on the market – including ones with DEET – have been deemed safe when used as directed. Still, many people want to limit exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. So what are some natural bug repellent alternatives? I have included information here from well-known sources, but there are many, many more home remedies to be found on the web.
A good source for detailed information on ticks and tick repellent products can be found at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website. www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/tickbiteprevention05.pdf
Good Housekeeping offers a few natural ways to avoid pesky insects.
Nutritionally, you can drink a tablespoon or two of organic apple cider vinegar and eat lots of garlic. Vitamin B1 taken daily is also supposed to help repel insects.
It is tricky to get the right concentration of essential oils for a natural insect repellent. In general, less is best.
To find the dosage necessary to repel insects, start with a drop or two in your mixtures, and increase the amount as you find you can tolerate (no more than 10-15 drops per ounce of oil). Combining repellent essential oils and/or herbs with a fruit- or nut-oil carrier is a good technique when you want to dab a bit on your skin.
Homemade Insect Repellent
10-25 drops essential oil. Try lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and citronella
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.
Add 10-15 drops of essential oils per ounce of liquid Castile soap. Try essential oils such as lemon balm (citronella), pennyroyal, lavender, and rose geranium.
Mother Earth News suggests the following recipe for “Fend Off” Herbal Oil Insect Repellent from Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourle.
½ cup soybean base oil (Note: This oil has natural bug-repellent properties.)
15 drops each of the following essential oils: lemongrass, geranium, catnip
10 drops basil or eucalyptus radiata essential oil
Add all ingredients directly to a storage container. Shake the mixture vigorously to blend. Allow the oil to synergize, for 1 hour.
No refrigeration is required, but for maximum bug-repelling freshness and potency, use within 6 to 12 months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD). This natural oil, which comes from the lemon eucalyptus tree, is recommended by the CDC as an alternative to DEET. Several studies have found this natural bug repellent as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. It may also work well against ticks. This essential oil should not be used on children under 3.