Why Should You Use a Natural Bug Spray?
Have you ever read the ingredients in store-bought mosquito repellents? If they are fully listed (many times it just says fragrance), you may notice that you can’t even read the words, let alone know what they are! And what about DEET? Well, this dangerous ingredient has shown to cause severe skin reactions, neurotoxicity, and even cancer.
The good news is that essential oils and hydrosols have been proven for years to be effective in repelling insects the natural way. Many plants have natural defences against insects to protect themselves; we can harness this power by utilising their extracts on our skin, clothes, and in the air around us.
Which Essential Oils are Effective Repellents?
Many essential oils are great for warding off different insects. And it’s important to know which ones to use in which situation.
Here are some of the best options in each category:
- Mosquitoes – Cedarwood, Citronella, Clove, Lavender, Eucalyptus Lemon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Pine.
- Ticks – Cedarwood, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemongrass, Palmarosa, Tea Tree, and Vetiver.
- Ants & Spiders – Cedarwood, Lavender, and Peppermint.
- Flies & Gnats – Cedarwood, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Patchouli, and Peppermint.
- Bees & Wasps – Cedarwood, Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, and Peppermint.
*Please do not deter honey bees in any way, they are an endangered insect and our plants need them!
Repelling Insects with Hydrosols
If you are looking for an even gentler option, you can always use hydrosols. The water-based by-product of distilled essential oils contains a milder therapy when compared to their counterpart. These are a great choice when used with animals and small children. They are water-based and safe for use directly on skin. Simply spray as needed.
- Some effective hydrosols for repelling bugs are Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Geranium.
When applying essential oils to your skin for bug protection, you must remember the safety guidelines of using oils topically.
- Dilute essential oils to a safe ratio for topical use based on your subject: 1% for elderly, children and animals. 2% for healthy adults. Refer to our dilution guide for more info.
- Do not apply photosensitive essential oils before spending time in the sun.
- Use low dilutions of essential oils that may cause skin sensitisation.
- Only use kid-safe essential oils on children and dog-safe essential oils on dogs.
*A very important thing to remember when creating a water or hydrosol based spray is that oil and water do not mix. This means that you must use a solubiliser (like Solubol) to help them mix safely.
DIY Insect Repellent
2 oz Lavender Hydrosol or Distilled Water
96 drops Solubol
8 drops Cedarwood
8 drops Eucalyptus Lemon
4 drops Citronella
4 drops Geranium
To the bottom of your spray bottle, drop in your essential oils and Solubol. Swirl to mix well, and then add in the hydrosol or water. Close bottle tightly. Shake gently before spraying.
Safely Protecting Children and Pets
Choosing a natural repellent is the first step in safely protecting your loved ones, but you must remember that children and pets are fragile creatures and have different rules for using oils.
- For children, under the age of 2, we recommend only hydrosols. Ages 2-10, a dilution of 1% essential oil is safe for topical use. Kid-safe oils only.
- For cats, you should not use essential oils at all. Hydrosols are the safest option.
- For dogs, under 12 weeks old, hydrosols are recommended. After that, a dilution of ½%-1% essential oil will keep them protected.
- Using hydrosols and essential oils around children or animals is even safer than using them topically.
Bug Bite Relief
If you do end up getting bitten, essential oils are also great for calming the inflammation that comes with the bite.
Some of these oils include Lavender, German Chamomile, Peppermint, Myrrh, Rose, and Tea Tree.
*It is also helpful to combine these oils with an anti-inflammatory carrier such as aloe, chamomile or lavender hydrosol, coconut oil, or hemp seed oil.
DIY Bite Relief
1 oz Aloe Gel
6 drops Lavender
6 drops German Chamomile
4 drops Peppermint
Mix all of the ingredients together and store in a closed container in the refrigerator. Apply to bug bites as needed to soothe pain or itchiness.
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