Natural, Effective Bug Repellent
Ruth, my sister in law and greatest doula in the universe, asked me about toxin free mosquito repellent and I thought I would share the information I gave her with you all. So, here's a list of easy tips and tricks to try next time some annoying bug tries to tap a vein.
Garlic! The wonder drug. The powers of Garlic are epic. If you've ever given your cat garlic to try and keep the fleas from biting, you already know how this works. That signature garlicky taste hangs out in your blood and flavors it, making it unpalatable to pests.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables. It's going to be a rare post in which I don't sing the praises of raw, natural foods, but I honestly didn't know this one until just recently. Eating a predominantly raw vegan diet discourages mosquito from biting. If you're just looking for a quick bug-zap, you don't have to practice raw foodism long term to get this effect. Just make it an all fruit breakfast the morning of your hike/camping trip.
Citronella. Manufacturers have been adding this essential oil to repellent sprays and candles for good reason: it works! Adding Citronella to any spray or lotion you concoct will boost it's effectiveness.
Tea Tree Oil. This is another agent of holistic greatness that I utilize daily for a variety of needs. Bug repelling is only one of the tasks this oil performs, and performs well. The strong scent is what repels pests. It has a very clean, disinfectant type smell to it.
Making your own mosquito repellent at home is simple, and requires no harmful ingredients. Get yourself a little spray bottle from any store. WalMart has a “travel size” section near the hair care products where they stock lots of different plastic bottles for filling with shampoos and bath care products, but you can just as easily fill these with your own homemade products. If you're going on a long trip and going to be in mosquito territory for longer than a day, consider making a larger batch in an empty spray bottle stocked in household cleaner aisles.
Fill your bottle up with purified water and start adding oils with a dropper, one at a time. Tea Tree is a good base, but you can substitute Eucalyptus which works just as well. For a smaller bottle around 6 ounces, you want to add a minimum of 30 drops. The larger the bottle, the more you add. There's no rocket science to this, you just want a really strong smell.
You can then add Citronella, and Lavender oil also makes a good addition. It's great for your skin, makes a wonderful antiseptic and will lift your spirits if you hate camping but have to go anyway (I do). Add these oils in smaller amounts, 10-15 drops for a small bottle.
Doing a quick Google search will turn up lots of different oils you can add to these, but I like this mixture myself. It's also a very effective disinfectant for scrapes and cuts you might get while you're out running around in the wild, so spray away! But don't expect to do any close cuddling out there, since you're going to smell like a hospital inside of a garlic factory.