using ‘green’ bug repellents on the fly….er, mosquito..

When your backyard is 3 million acres of a Natural Forest, you need a little something with ‘ooompf’ to keep the pesky insects at bay.  However, we’re not about to let some pesky flying bugs ruin an entire summer of backyard barbecues, hikes in the woods or just a walk around the property to keep us indoors!

I grew up in Texas where mosquitoes ruled.  We were the kids that would play in the cul-de-sac during the late evenings when the mosquito truck would pull through the neighborhood, spewing a nasty chemical (DDT) into the air.  We were the kids that chased….yes!  chased the truck, playing hide and go seek and riding our bikes in the toxic fog!  We were practically bathing in it!!  (insert twitch and asthmatic cough here)

Thankfully, times have changed!   There are some natural, ‘green’ solutions to be rid of those blood suckers: (via)

  • Blend of essential oils:
    1. Mix the following essential oils in a 4 oz. container: 20 drops Eucalyptus oil, 20 drops Cedarwood oil, 10 drops Tea Tree oil, and 10 drops Geranium oil.
    2. Add 2 oz. of a carrier oil (such as Jojoba). Mix well.
  • Mint-based bug spray:
    1. Place 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of either catnip, spearmint, or pennyroyal (all in the mint family) in a spray bottle.
    2. Add 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1 cup of water.
    3. Shake well.
  • Herbal insect repellent safe for use on the face:
    1. Blend 4 drops each of sandalwood, cajeput, and lavender essential oils with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil (such as extra virgin olive oil).
    2. Mix well and apply as needed.
  • Vodka Mist Insect Repellent:
    1. Mix the following in a spray bottle: 50 drops Jojoba, 50 drops Lavender, 25 drops Eucalyptus lemon, 25 drops Lemongrass, 25 drops Patchouli, and 25 drops Cajeput.
    2. Add 1 fluid ounce of vodka (to the spray bottle..not your mouth, people!)
    3. Mix well.
    4. Apply jojoba oil before spraying the repellent on the skin.
  • Natural insect repellent lotion:
    1. Place 2 ounces distilled water in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Slowly drizzle in 2 ounces of olive oil while beating quickly with a wire whisk.
    3. After the oil is mixed into the distilled water, stir in 120 drops of citronella essential oil.

Making homemade bug spray helps you go green because…

  • You do not need to purchase chemical bug sprays. Using products containing the insect repellent DEET may be harmful to fish and other aquatic wildlife, as well as human health.

One of the most widely used ingredients in store-bought conventional bug sprays for personal use is N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, as it’s commonly known. DEET, which is designed to repel, rather than kill, insects. DEET is used by an estimated one-third of the US population each year. Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse nuerological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.[1]

DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.[2]

SO STAY INFORMED NOT INDOORS…

(1) Cornell – DEET Mosquito Repellent: New pharmacology study of impacts

(2) About.com – The Downside of DEET Insect Repellents: Health and Environmental Risks Associated with the Use of DEET

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3 Comments

Filed under animals, cool products, family, fitness, life, ranch life

3 responses to “using ‘green’ bug repellents on the fly….er, mosquito..

  1. Great information! I love to use “home brews” whenever possible! It seems to me that the mosquitos are out in full force this year, and a case of West Nile Virus just popped up in our area today! I’m one of those people who is a little obsessed with overchemicalization….so thank you! And I’m horrified at your story of following the DDT trucks. Our ignorance of such things was just incredible, wasn’t it? Debra

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