Photo credit: John Tann on Visual Hunt / CC BY
I am a human mosquito magnet.
No joke! My husband even notices it; whenever he’s outdoors and is starting to get bit by flying insects, he laughs and encourages his “mosquito repellant” to get a little closer. The bugs fly from him and attack me.
When I first started on the GAPS Diet, I noticed a slight decrease in the amount of mosquito bites I would suffer from each season. I assumed it was from the lack of refined sugar in my diet (I was “slightly” an addict before); however, over the last couple of years there has been an upsurge in mosquitos in our area, and the bites are back.
Add to that the fact that I have recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease (and co-infections), and I am now out to protect myself (and my entire family) from mosquito bites and ticks this season. With the mild recent winter here in the Midwest, experts are predicting a huge increase in the amount of ticks (and with it, Lyme disease) that we see this season. Local vets were reporting cases of Lyme disease as early as February this year.
The conundrum arises when you are trying to protect your family from these pests, and yet nearly every product out there marketed as an insect repellant is full of harmful toxins that you don’t want to expose your family to. (Tip: to see the effects of each ingredient that is in the product you personally use, please visit the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org. You can enter the name of your product into their database and receive a toxicity rating.)
For the last couple of years, we have been using this homemade, natural bug repellant on our family. It works extremely well (as long as you remember to use it!) and is made with ingredients that you can pronounce: non-toxic, natural, and easy to make … DIY perfection!
Tip to the reader: the quality of your essential oils does make a difference even in products that you are spraying on your skin. Our skin is permeable, meaning that products we place on it can be absorbed into our body. Essential oils (as well as those toxic chemicals in your bug spray from the corner store) can be found in the bloodstream within 26 SECONDS. Unlike food that we eat, which is digested and then absorbed and directed to the liver where toxins are neutralized, anything that is absorbed from our skin into our bloodstream has the freedom to go anywhere in the body that it wants to: the brain, our endocrine system, anywhere. Unfortunately, due to the recent increase in interest in essential oils, there are companies on the market that are just in it for the money: their products are of poor quality, and may even contain chemical solvents, pesticides, and other toxins that you do not want to expose your family to. Please choose your essential oil company wisely.
Also, while I would use this recipe on my kids regardless of their age because I am familiar with essential oils and their properties, there are some who question the use of certain essential oils with young children (again, much of this stems back to essential oils of questionable quality). For those readers who would prefer a recipe that is acceptable to the majority of oil users for children under the age of two, I have also included a recipe for “Baby Bug Spray”.
The original recipe for our Natural Bug Repellant can be found on the website www.frugallysustainable.com.
Natural Bug Repellant
1 oz. witch hazel
1 oz. grapeseed oil (you can substitute any carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, almond oil, etc.)
35 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil (I prefer eucalyptus radiata)
15 drops lemon essential oil
15 drops lemongrass essential oil
15 drops cedarwood essential oil
Combine all ingredients together in a 4 oz. glass spray bottle. Shake well before use.
Reapply often, up to every couple of hours as needed.
Baby Bug Spray
2 Tbs. witch hazel
1 tsp. carrier oil or vegetable glycerin
5 drops citronella essential oil
3 drops cedarwood essential oil
2 drops orange essential oil
2 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops tea tree essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil is an important part of this bug repellant spray, as it is effective at repelling ticks. I spray this blend over our clothes and any exposed skin from head to toe.
Have a wonderful outdoors season this year … bug free!!