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It’s that time of year.
Nature has come back to life, with full branches of leaves and stems full of color. This, by far, is my favorite season of the year. After a dreary, albeit seasonably warm winter, spring is a breath of fresh air. With the full trees and bushes come annoying bugs and mosquitos.
We live by the lake and these bugs are supersized. Seriously. I had a spider so big come in the house the other day, I swear he opened the back door and let himself in. I gently (frantically) coaxed him back outside but I swear he was the size of a silver dollar. And all before my first cup of coffee.
Our winters in Nashville are not super cold or snowy but this last winter was so mild. Our average temp was in the 50’s and it was amazing. Since it never got cold enough to kill off the ticks and bugs, I am expecting more bugs than usual during these warm months. I swear, these mosquitos will be the size of birds.
Conventional bug sprays usually contain DEET, a chemical that disrupts the central nervous system and covers the antenna of mosquitos, confusing their sense of direction. In humans, Deet causes a variety of skin problems like redness, irritation, blistering and burning. Environmentally, the EPA considers DEET to be slightly toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates.
According to this Safety Data Sheet,
Deet is the most common ingredient in insect repellents and is believed to work as such in that mosquitos intensely dislike its smell. Deet is also an effective solvent and may dissolve plastics, rayon, spandex, other synthetic fabrics and painted or varnished surfaces.
We spend a lot of time outdoors and bug repellant is a necessity. The bug repellant we use is a combo of essential oils and a carrier fluid like witch hazel, vodka or distilled water. But really, who would waste good vodka on bug spray?
Homemade Bug Repellent Recipe
2 oz distilled water, Witch Hazel or Vodka. I use Witch Hazel for my repellent. Produced from a flowering shrub, Witch Hazel is naturally anti-inflammatory and astringent. You can find witch hazel and any drugstore or grocery.
40 drops of essential oils. Any combination of the following oils, although Lemongrass and Citronella are the most effective.
- Add witch hazel, distilled water or vodka to spray bottle.
- Add 40 drops of essential oils.
- Always shake before use.
- Women who are pregnant or nursing should check with their health practitioner before using.
- Use good quality oils. I personally use DoTerra, but there are several legit oils on the market. Some oils contain fragrance and junk like fillers so check the labels before you buy. Rocky Mountain Oils are good quality oils for a reasonable price.
- Essential oil’s therapeutic properties will degrade if exposed to sunlight. Store your essential oil concoctions in colored glass bottles if possible.
- Be cautious when using oils on young children.
Natural Bug Spray alternatives.
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