Mosquitoes or flies, which do you hate the most? For me, it is flies, those evasive creatures tickling the skin with their tiny legs and antennae! It is a real hassle to keep them away, so we use chemical repellents to keep them away.
I am not a fan of those chemical insect repellents though. Their smell or mist makes me nauseous and gives me headaches, literally. Which is why I recently searched for natural bug repellents. That is when I came across – to my surprise – a list of natural bug repellent essential oils.
This was in fact the motivation to start this blog, as I immediately knew essential oils have many hidden benefits apart from producing nice aromas. In this case, one could hit two birds with one stone; a pleasant aroma to repel bugs. No headaches, no nausea! Viola!
Side Effects of Bug Repellent Chemichals
Take a look at the cover of a bug repellent chemical product. Yyou are very likely to come across DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) as the key active agent used in it.
DEET is a very effective bug repellent. But, it comes with some bad side-effects. Some of them include:
- Concentrating issues
Well, I still have not got any hallucination (or have I?), and I have always had problems concentrating….
Now where was I?
Ah yes… I know though I am seriously allergic to these chemical products. I strongly oppose them even when I visit my friend’s or relation’s.
Plants to the Rescue!
As I always believe, nature has answers for many issues we face – big or small. In the case of chasing away bugs also, it stands true.
From my experience, Citronella Oil is been used prominently by elders Sri Lanka to shoo away mosis from the vicinity of their kids. The essense or smoke generated from Sacred Basil/Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) leaves is a very commonly used mosquito repellent in our part of the word. The dried leaves can be applied on a bed of charcoal to make an effective mosquito repellent.
Now we know plants have some uses to keep away bugs. So, then how essential oils come into play?
Essential Oils as Bug Repellents
Essential oils are essentially essence of trees (nice pun ha?). They are very powerful agents that can help keep those nasty bugs at bay.
Let me list down some popular essential oils for bug repelling:
- For mosquitoes: Citronella, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, basil.
- For fleas: Cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemongrass, lavender.
- For ticks: Rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, oregano.
It is possible to use one oil or a mixture to make a very effective and a harmless bug repellent. This is a very basic example:
- 30 drops citronella oil
- 25 drops peppermint oil
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- 1.5 ounces witch hazel or vodka
- 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil (This is optional. But if you use this only 1 ounce of vodka or witch hazel is required)
- Fill a 4 oz spray bottle with 2 oz distilled or boiled water.
- Add witch hazel or vodka.
- Add the essential oils.
- Shake well.
- This mixture can be applied to skin or clothing, avoiding eyes.
- Can be applied again every 2 hours, or as required.
- The bottle need to be stored away from heat or sunlight.
There are hundreds of recipes out there, including diffusing essential oils to air as bug repellening mist. So, all you have to do is jumping into Google search.
***Note of caution: Many essential oils cannot be directly applied to the skin as they can case, severe reactions including skin burns. So, carefully read the instructions before applying ANY essential oil. Even after diluting, apply the mixture to a small skin area to see if it is completely safe before a wide-range application.
Essential Oils to Treat Insect Bites
No matter how hard we try, there is always that stubborn mosquito who battles her way to suck on our blood. So, how essential oils can help us treat such insect bites?
Tea tree oil is a natural acne treatment that can be used to treat dark spots on face. I have used it personally to a good effect (those teenage times though!) It is an equally useful against insect bites. Just apply a little tea tree oil on to the bite time-to-time. Lavender oil has the same property plus a very pleasant scent too. Both these oils can be directly applied to the skin.
This is just an overview of the use of essential oils as bug repellents.
I would love to hear your thoughts. So, please do share you knowledge, including cool recipes!
Till next time,