Bugs Be Gone!
Bugs are bad news when they bite and annoy, and nobody wants to rub chemicals onto skin or clothes to keep them away. So, we rounded up a few natural bug repellents from recipes you can make at home. These all use safe, simple, effective ingredients that won’t harm you, your kids or your animals.
According to Mama Wellness, essential oils do the job of keeping bugs away, but there are some concerns about putting the oils directly onto the skin. Her recipe for an essential oils’ spray is for clothing and camping gear and utilizes a combination of any of the following: citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, catnip, geranium, lavender and mint.
Mama Wellness also offers a premixed kids’ spray on her website that CAN be used directly on skin, and also recommends Badger products, a natural bug spray you can order online.
Herbs Bugs Hate
Natural bug sprays can be made using dried herbs and mixing them with witch hazel or vinegar. The Mama Wellness recipe boils a cup of water with three to four tablespoons of peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender plus a couple of dried cloves. When mixed with witch hazel or rubbing alcohol and stored in your fridge, it can be used directly on the skin.
The Healthy Home Economist has a Yarrow Tincture made with 100 proof vodka or vinegar that is reportedly as effective as DEET. The trick is finding your yarrow plant fodder!
As legend has it, when the bubonic plague raged through the French town of Toulouse in the early 1600s, four perfumers walked among the dead and dying and robbed the victims. They beat the plague-carrying fleas with a cider vinegar-based herb spray, a potent insect repellent that has endured through the centuries. There are a few versions of the “Four Thieves Vinegar” spray, and here’s a common one:
32 ounces of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons each of dried rosemary, sage, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, catnip
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic
We want to warn you: this stuff stinks while wet, but it makes a great insect repellent in the 21st century with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Foods Bugs Hate
If you’re going hiking or camping, Expert Home Tips advises rubbing onions, lemon or orange peels against your skin to repel mosquitos and gnats. The onion scent is understandably repulsive, but the citrus is way more a-peeling. (Hey, we couldn’t resist!)
Something else we found, before your camping trip – say, two weeks before – you should start adding garlic to whatever you’re cooking. Bugs don’t like the stuff and when it’s coming out of your pores, you’re less likely to be a meal!
Dryer sheets work wonders in repelling annoying, predatory insects. Putting one in your pocket while you are hiking, camping or gardening can keep mosquitoes, gnats, and other bugs at bay.
Kids will love this one: a bubble machine is a fantastic secret weapon against bugs on the prowl! The soapy smell wafting from the bubbles will keep mosquitos, flies and wasps away!
For tips on repelling specific types of insects (i.e., ants, flies, wasps), check out Natural Living Ideas’ 31 suggestions for creating a force field around you and your family that reverses bugs’ flight path! Never underestimate the power of cedar, cinnamon and bergamot.
Relief from Bug Bites
If you’re reading this AFTER the bugs have bitten, try using a little milk paste for soothing relief. Mix one part powdered milk with two parts water and add a pinch or two of salt. The enzymes in the milk powder will help neutralize the insect-bite venom.
For more natural bug bite remedies, check out Parents Magazine tips recommended by a Beverly Hills pediatric dermatologist.
Natural Living in Crystal Valley
Nature surrounds the master-planned community of Crystal Valley in Castle Rock with miles of hiking, biking and walking trails and the above tips will keep you bug-free! Check out the beautiful selection of new home designs from Richmond American Homes andD.R. Horton, available in ranch or two-story models and priced from the high $300s. And — coming soon — more new homes by Kauffman Homes!