MAKING AN ECO-FRIENDLY INSECT REPELLENT
You don’t have to choose between spraying chemicals all over yourself and your garden, and being bitten from head to toe by mosquitos and other pesky insects. There are plenty of eco-friendly options to ensure you are protected without harming yourself or the environment with potent insect repellents.
There are plenty of organic insect repellents on the market these days. Even giants like brand names are adopting an organic approach to deterring insects. A good indication of if an insect spray is organic or not is if its ingredients are understandable. If you read the list of ingredients and you have heard of many of the ingredients, like citronella, eucalyptus oil or rosemary, then it is likely to be organic. If it contains heaps of chemical compounds or even DEET, then it is definitely not organic.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN ORGANIC INSECT REPELLENT
There are natural ingredients that can be mixed together to give a potent insect repellent. Try it yourself as a fun camping activity with the kids. My little boy is really keen on science at the moment, and he spent most of a day while out camping last year comparing the homemade insect repellent with the store-bought variety.
To make your own, experiment with natural repellants like lemon eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, citronella oil, catmint extract, rosemary extract and rose geranium oil. These can be found at most natural health food stops. You can also find them online. Lemon and lime halves with cloves are also good.
You can apply a mixture of these directly to parts of your body, or mix into a spray bottle with water and leave to soak for a day. Then just give it a shake and spray it over you for a natural repellent.
If you have access to a hob, you can boil up a mixture of catmint, rosemary, peppermint, lemon balm, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, basil, borage, dill, garlic, onion, fennel, sage, parsley, nasturtium and marigold, or any variation of them. Once it has cooled, it is a great smelling natural repellent.
The natural repellents won’t last as long as their oily manufactured counterparts, but you can extend the life of it by keeping them stored in a fridge when you aren’t using them.
Some species also respond better to different ingredients. To keep flies at bay, use mint, bay leaves, basil, eucalyptus and cloves. For mosquitos, sage, rosemary, mint, citronella, lavender, garlic, lemongrass, marigold, dill, chamomile, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, eucalyptus, borage and rose oil. It sounds like a complex potion to conjure up, but most of the ingredients are already knocking about on your spice rack.
For your four-legged friends, there is a recipe to keep fleas away. Soapy water mixed with cedar, diatomaceous earth, fleabane, citrus oil and geranium oil should do the trick. Another handy tip is to add a drop of apple cider vinegar to their pet food. My cats don’t like the taste so they won’t eat it, but the dogs love it and it works a treat.
What do you think? Got any stories of making an eco-friendly alternative to store-bought repellents? Share your thoughts through the comments section below.