How do you keep those pesky insects at bay during the Summer???
Whether you’re hiking in the woods, having an outdoor family bar-b-que or taking a siesta under that shady palm tree, don’t be on the menu this summer for mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums, and other pesky insects. While products containing DEET and permethrins (sprayed on clothing only) are considered the most effective, there are still many people looking for alternative natural, plant-derived remedies. The use of essential oils can be effective in this regard. What makes you attractive to these insects? Their sensors are attracted to heat and certain chemicals in sweat such as lactic acid and the carbon dioxide we give off just by breathing. That’s why being warm-blooded mammals makes us prime targets. Certain perfumes containing pheromones should be avoided as well. Prevention is best so first – wear lightweight clothing that covers most of your body, if temperatures permit. Second, use an insect deterrent.
There are many essential oils that help keep mosquitoes and insects at a safe distance such as eucalyptus, eucalyptus-lemon, lemongrass, geranium, cedarwood, bergamot, lavender, patchouli, peppermint, myrrh, catnip, clove, nutmeg, pennyroyal, cinnamon, citronella, rosemary, spikenard, thyme, and tea tree are just a few.
If you have already been bitten, its good to have a small vial of essential oil on you so you can apply a dab of lavender, chamomile or tea tree essential oil directly onto the affected area to relieve pain and itching.
If you are looking for a more natural outdoor protective blend that DOES NOT contain DEET to keep pesky insects at bay this month, try making up your own blend using essential oils. Here’s a simple pleasant smelling “Bug Away” Blend using essential oils that’s easy to mix for kids and adults:
“BUG AWAY” BLEND
Gather the following ingredients:
■ 4 ounces of distilled water, witch hazel or aloe vera gel as a base
■ 10 drops of Eucalyptus-Lemon ■ 10 drops of Citronella ■ 10 drops of Lavender
■ 5 drops of Lemongrass ■ 5 drops Peppermint
■ One (4) ounce spray bottle with fine mist sprayer
Mix together all of the essential oils and add to the 4 oz. bottle. Slowly add the essential oil mixture to your base, stirring gently. Leave a bit a room at the top of the bottle as you have to fit the sprayer on. A fine mist sprayer is very useful for this application. Shake the mixture well and spritz on your clothing and exposed skin, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Since oils don’t mix in the base, you need to shake it up each time. Remember, you will need to use more often to keep bugs at bay. You can also add a few drops to a candle vaporizer or portable pad vaporizer that can help disperse essential oils in the air around you if you have access to one.
This is just a one of many recipes using using essential oils that can be made up ahead of time, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your own scents.
Enjoy the outdoors this Summer!