How to keep away mosquitoes, without DEET!
This year started out fairly dry, with lower than normal amounts of rain. In fact, I believe we were actually something like three inches below the normal at one time. Boy, did Mother Nature really make up for that! It’s now the very tail end of summer, and the rain has been coming down in buckets. And that means mosquitoes, lots of them.
It bothers me how many chemicals we use on a daily basis, and I really don’t like the thought of spraying them right on my skin. I also don’t like having to change my clothes as soon as I come in the house, because NO one likes having chemicals rubbing off on their furniture.
So this year, I checked out some options for an all natural version. I looked up a base recipe from DIYnatural and mixed up my own batch to test out. And, yes; by test I mean stand around outside waiting for mosquitoes to bite me. When I conduct an experiment, I’m dedicated like that.
First I’ll tell you exactly what I did. The base recipe is:
2 tbsp Witch Hazel
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp vodka
100-110 drops of essential oils
*A few side notes here. The Witch Hazel can be substituted with vodka, because it’s only a carrier liquid. It is very good for your skin, and at $1.44 from the local big box retailer, is not a big expense. The oil can be any of the following; grape seed, jojoba, almond, or olive oil. I used olive oil because that is what I had on hand. I would REALLY like to try this with the almond oil next time.
According to the folks at DIYnatural, there are several types of essential oils that are natural insect repellents. I used 55 drops of lemon, and 55 drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil was my big expense at $7.24, however I am a big fan of the health benefits of this stuff. Check it out when you can, because it’s quite useful. The lemon essential oil was $4.97, so not a really big expense either. (If you don’t have olive oil or vodka on hand, we can’t be friends. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t have those things?)
So I mixed my potion in a small clean spray bottle, and trooped outside. I sprayed my legs and arms, and rubbed some on my face. Then I walked into the woods and presented myself as a buffet to the bugs.
Now, I’ve mentioned before that I want to be completely honest with you all. I was out there for approximately 15 minutes, and I did get bitten a few times. However, considering the clouds of mosquitoes that surrounded me, I should be one huge bite mark by now. I also puttered around in the garden, and fed cantaloupe rinds to the chickens. The results were pretty clear. This concoction does actually work. While it’s not surprising that the natural spray didn’t work QUITE as well as a toxic chemical, I am surprised that it worked as well as it did. And I’m pleased. My skin is not oily, and I actually don’t smell like one big lemon peel. In fact, I hardly smell at all. (I got a few other people’s opinion on that, thank you very much.)
There are several other essential oils that have insect repelling attributes, including eucalyptus and peppermint. Other oils like sandalwood can also be added in order to alter the scent. It is worth mentioning at this point, that different scents smell different on different people. If you have ever tried to borrow someone’s cologne/perfume before, you may have been disappointed when you sprayed it on yourself. This is a similar situation. Body chemistry will have an effect on how this smells on you.
That being said, please try this out, and let me know what YOU think! I would love to hear what mixtures you’ve tried, and how you liked them!