Let’s say you’re in your backyard this summer with the family. You’ve just finished cleaning off the grill after a great meal. It is dusk and the kids are using up their last bits of energy before they crash in their beds and you are enjoying the peaceful wind down of a relaxing summer day. Ouch! You look down on your arm and see a swelling mosquito bite and realize you’ve become something of a feast yourself. What can you do to protect yourself from this blood-sucking disease-carrying menace? Funny you should ask.
Mosquitoes can become a nuisance during the warmer months when we tend to be outside more often. Most of us think that our only option to fighting these little pests is a bottle of repellant spray containing a strong chemical called DEET. DEET was created by the U.S Army and was originally tested as a pesticide on farm fields. It became part of Jungle Warfare use in the 1940’s, later being used in the civilian arena in the 1950’s. It was originally thought to block the attractive smell of our bodies but come to find out mosquitoes just can’t stand the smell of the chemical itself. DEET has been known to have some risky toxicity issues and comes with plenty of warnings from the EPA on possible seizures as side effects and even more strict rules for its use.
I’m pretty turned off at the thought of spreading pesticides all over my kids’ skin and paying a hefty price to do it. And for that reason, I’m willing to test out some relatively harmless (and less expensive) alternatives to see if I can come up with something a little less toxic to use. So if you want to fend off the little pests this summer (the mosquitoes, not the kids) here are some formulas gathered from around the internet that you can try out at home to see what works best for your family.
Essential Oil Insect Repellant
6 drops Peppermint oil
6 drops Tea Tree oil
9 drops Eucalyptus oil
Topical: mix with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray directly on exposed skin areas.
Mom’s Bug Repellant
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup Listerine cool mint mouthwash
Mix water and cool mint listerine in a spray bottle. Shake and spray on when you go outside to keep the bugs away.
Lavender Mosquito Repellent
Ingredients: Fresh lavender (the flower)
Directions: Rub a lavender flower behind your ears, wrists and neck. Not only will you smell great but mosquitoes will leave you alone.
Garlic Mosquito Repellent (I wonder if this might repel people too)
Ingredients: Minced garlic, mineral oil, and lemon juice
Mince a few cloves of garlic then cover with mineral oil. Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Next you take a teaspoon of *just the oil* and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain through a cheesecloth if you have any floaties then pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.