Spring is here. With the warmer weather, we spend more time outside. If you are like me this time of the year is the best! Being outside during spring and summer brings me great joy. Until, those pesky insects start buzzing around and biting you. In addition to being downright annoyed by a mosquito bite it can be dangerous and frightening. Mosquitoes carry and can transmit some pretty nasty diseases like West Nile and some others. Even more dangerous than mosquitoes are ticks. Ticks carry some very dangerous diseases. For some diseases there is no cure and can impact your life.
Many of us turn to the chemical insect repellents to protect us from annoying insects. One such chemical is DEET; it is by far the most common. It provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers and many others. I am not here to tell you that DEET and other chemical repellents don’t work, they do but they have some significant drawbacks. DEET actually damages fabric, leather, auto paint and other surfaces. All while it claims to be safe for skin. Some side effects have been reported like headaches, memory loss, dizziness, shortness of breath, irritation of the skin, and so many more, including death. You get the picture. I encourage you to research this and any other chemical you choose to put on your body.
There are natural repellents that are considered safe and effective. Most are derived from oils of plants. The oils have strong odors that insects don’t like causing them not to land and ultimately bit you. This is a list of oils that have insect repelling properties: clove, citronella, lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass and neem. Clove Oil gives the longest natural protection of up to 4 hours. All others are effective but have to be reapplied more often.
Remember essential oils can burn or irritate if applied directly to the skin. Essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil. There are many recipes to make your own repellent on the internet. One that I found and has a 10 percent concentration of whichever essential oil you choose is:
12 drops of essential oil mixed with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
I have had really good luck with lemongrass oil. It is my go to for repelling mosquitoes. Once the essential oil is mixed with the carrier oil it is safe to apply onto your exposed skin. Be sure to reapply if you are sweating due to physical exercise and swimming.
Another point I’d like make is to remember the oil is from plants. Therefore planting the actual plant around your yard, deck and in your house will help keep the insects at bay.