A few years ago, I threw away my cosmetic-based chemicals. They contained a witches brew of potentially toxic compounds. They belonged in the trash, instead of on my skin.
Now, I make my own beauty and personal care products. This is easy to do. All you need is just a couple of ingredients, plus essential oils.
Essential oils are my “go to” substitute. They are powerful. They have so many uses. One of them is keeping bugs away, since insects hate the smell of certain aromatics.
Essential Oils to Fight Mosquitoes
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It’s so easy to make all natural bug spray. All you need are essential oils, along with alcohol free witch hazel. Personally, since I live in the United States, I’d never dream of using a chemical bug repellent. However, whether or not you should rely upon a natural plant-based recipe for mosquito control, in light of the Zika virus, is also something to consider.
Under normal circumstances, on this site, I’d simply share a natural bug repellent recipe. That’s because I want to give my readers as much information as possible about how to live a non-toxic lifestyle. However, due to concerns over Zika, I feel as if I have to mention it, so you can make the right decisions for you and your loved ones.
But I still want to tell you about a natural approach when mosquitoes are biting, including a really simple recipe. This includes a special type of essential oil, which one environmental group believes is more effective than others.
Is DEET Bad For You?
Many commercial bug repellents contain a chemical called N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, also known as DEET. This compound has been linked to health problems. It’s been reported that DEET may cause seizures, neurological problems and sleep disturbances, especially in outdoor workers who use a lot of spray in which DEET is the active ingredient, according to another published report.
But this chemical might be an acceptable trade off if you’re concerned about Zika or the West Nile virus, another potential threat, according to the Environmental Working Group. Actually, I was surprised to read this on the EWG site, which usually takes a very hard line on chemicals of all sorts. But I want to make you aware of this position, so you can make an informed choice.
Since I’m not a healthcare professional, I can’t give medical advice. Nor can I advise you on whether or not to use DEET. So please talk with your doctor about which type of bug spray is best for you. All I can do is share with you how I plan to keep mosquitoes away this summer. Right now the plan is natural. Unless things get significantly worse with Zika, I’ll be using the essential oils I already have on hand.
Essential Oils Mosquitoes Hate
Everyone has unique circumstances. As a middle-aged Mom, my situation is much different than that of a younger woman who’s expecting a baby. Zika has been associated with abnormal brain development in newborns.
For years, I’ve been using natural essential oils to control bugs. Insects hate the smell of these aromatics. This includes citronella, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint and others.That’s why citronella candles are a popular means of pest control. If you’re not concerned with Zika, you can also make your own bug spray with citronella essential oil.
I our house, I use peppermint essential oil for ant control. During flea and tick season, periodically put a certain type of oil on our dog’s collar, instead of using chemical flea products. (I like to think this is one reason for his relative good health at age 15. However, always talk with your vet before using essential oils on or near a dog. Do not use them with pregnant females. Never use them on a cat.)
Essential Oils for Mosquito Repellent
In recent years, if you live in the United States, mosquito control was a lot less complicated. If you wanted to avoid chemicals, you could just use essential oils. There are some excellent natural mosquito sprays on the market. But you can easily make your own bug spray, especially if you already have essential oils.
There are countless DIY mosquito recipes making the rounds on various social media channels. I have no doubt most of them probably do the job they’re intended for. However, one combination seems to be more effective than others, at least against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries Zika, at least according to information put out on the Environmental Working Group website.
Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent
The one aromatic combination found to be effective against the Aedes aegypti mosquito is lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Other essential oils, as well as Vitamin B1 patches, will not offer adequoate protection against this species, this report noted.
The EWG normally issues strong warnings against the various chemicals found in personal care products. However, in light of the threat of Zika, the EWG is suggests possibly using a product that contains DEET, and has published a paper called EWG’s Guide to Bug Repellents in the Age of Zika. Its main message is that chemical mosquito products may be a “reasonable one” right now.
How to Make An All Natural Bug Spray
Anyway, given that some other voices believe Zika is not a huge threat in North America, at least right now, I’ve decided to stick with a plant-based approach. Here is a very simple DIY bug spray recipe with lemon eucalyptus oil. If you’re not terribly worried about Zika, you can use citronella oil instead of lemon eucalyptus.
Take an empty large 16 ounce spray bottle and filling it 3/4 of the way to the top with water. Fill the rest with alcohol free witch hazel, leaving enough room for 30 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil. Then, you can use this right before going outside. (Make sure not to spray this near your eyes.)
If you don’t own lemon eucalyptus essential oil, here is a blend sold by Plant Therapy, a company I can highly recommend. It’s one of the brands I often use myself, since I almost never buy my oils from multilevel marketing distributors.
There are differing opinions on just how much of a threat the Zika virus poses in North America. On the day this post was published, an article in the Dallas Morning News noted that Zika has infected as many as 1.5 million people through Latin America and the Caribbean.
It also quoted a mosquito-borne disease expert at the University of North Texas, who didn’t seem unduly alarmed at the potential threat of Zika. However, he did seem more concerned about the West Nile virus, at least in the North Texas area. It was reported that five years ago, in the Dallas region, about 2,ooo people contracted this virus, and 89 of them died.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.