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Natural Insect Repellents

As winter phases out and warm weather begins to trickle in the insects will be coming out of hiding to get in on the summertime action. Insects play a crucial role when it comes to keeping the ecosystem in balance, but more often than not, they aren’t fun to interact with. This is particularly true with parasitic insects like mosquitoes and ticks that can leave painful, itchy bites and cause disease. Keeping yourself protected doesn’t have to entail dousing your skin with harsh chemicals. In this article, we will discuss a couple of different methods for making a natural insect repellent with plant-based ingredients.

Making a Spray From Dried Herbs

All plants contain compounds that are known as volatile oils, but some plants and herbs contain higher concentrations than others. Generally speaking, the more fragrant a plant is, the higher the volatile oil content. Insects like mosquitoes become overwhelmed when in the presence of aromatic herbs that contain high levels of these oils, which is why they work so well for keeping bugs at bay. One combination of herbs that works particularly well is a mix of peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender.

To Make the Spray

  • Boil ¾ cup of water
  • Add two dried tablespoons of each herb
  • Stir the herbs into the water
  • Cover with a tight fitting lid and let steep until cool
  • Strain the infused water and mix with either ¾ cup of rubbing alcohol or vinegar
  • Store the mixture in a spray bottle and use as needed
  • The alcohol/vinegar acts to preserve the spray, so there is no need to refrigerate

Yarrow Extract

Yarrow is a common plant that grows wild in a variety of places. It hosts a number of benefits that most people are not aware of. It is excellent for skin health and also makes a powerful insect repellent. So, if you’re looking to tone your skin while simultaneously keeping bugs at bay, Yarrow could be the choice for you.

Yarrow extract (or tincture) can be purchased at most health food stores. Or, if you have yarrow growing around you, you can make your own tincture to use at a fraction of the price. Yarrow is gentle enough to spray to the skin directly, but if you would like it to go further you, it can be diluted with a small amount of water and still retain its effectiveness.

Essential Oils That are Effective Against Insects

  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender

When working with essential oils, it is best to start with a couple of drops diluted in a carrier oil. Starting small can reduce the risk of skin irritation. If you choose to make a spray out of essential oils instead of diluting with a carrier oil, be sure to shake it up well before you use it to ensure even application.

Essential oils are incredibly concentrated and can be harmful to the skin when used without proper dilution. Using essential oils for making homemade bug repellent is quick and straightforward, but it can be harmful if done improperly. So, if you choose to go this route, be sure to proceed with care.

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