|DIY Herbal Mosquito Repellent|
Repel mosquitos with the following natural and extremely effective methods using herbs and essential oils that can be purchased from your local health food store or even from your garden.
For a quick effective mosquito repellent, simply crush a handful of lemon balm leaves in your hand and rub them on exposed skin. Grow the plants near the backdoor or in the garden, where the leaves will be handy when you need them.
Bug-proof the Yard
There are several things to do when trying to protect yourself and kids from those nasty bugs in the yard during the summer. One thing to do is plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in the garden also to help ward off bugs without using insecticides.
Other plant oils mosquitoes don't like are citronella, jojoba, neem, witch hazel, tea tree oil, peppermint, lemon basil, lemon oregano, lemon geranium, lemon grass, catnip, eucalyptus and pennyroyal.
You may also want to regularly spray your plants and grass with a soap and water solution. This will have 3 effects: 1) it will dehydrate most bugs and kill them without chemicals, 2) it will help to keep your grass and plants clean of pollution and make them healthier and 3) it will soften your soil which mean you won't have to water as much. Use a hose-end sprayer filled with 1 cup of eco-friendly dishwashing soap for your grass or 1 tablespoon of soap in a hand-held sprayer for your plants.
Thai lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), contains citronella oil, a safe and natural insect repellent that's just as effective as the commercial chemical products, especially when it's fresh. In fact lemon grass contains more than just citronella oil and is more effective than true citronella.
Rubbing the long, grassy leaves on the skin works well, but the stalk is even better. Take one stalk of fresh lemon grass (grip it near the ground and give it a sharp sideways tug to break it off from the clump), peel off the outer leaves, snap off the grass blades behind the swollen stem at the base. Bend the stem between your fingers, loosening , then rub vigorously between your palms so that it fractures into a kind of fibrous juicy mass, and rub this mess over all exposed skin, covering thoroughly at least once. Pleasant on the skin and effective and the effect lasts about 4-5 hours. In most places, where the mosquitoes are less fanatical, you can use less and it will last longer.
The most common -- and most effective -- natural insect repellents are various essential oils. Clove oil and citronella (rose geranium) are the most effective against mosquitoes, but be careful with clove oil and use it sparingly -- it can be a skin irritant. Other fairly effective essential oils include: Lemon grass, eucalyptus, castor oil, peppermint, tea tree oil, lavender, and cedar.
To make a lotion, use: 2 ounces distilled water, 2 ounces olive oil, and about 120 drops essential oil. Put the water into a deep mixing bowl, and using a wire whip, begin beating quickly while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. After oil is mixed into the distilled water, stir in the essential oil of your choice (citronella is probably the most effective for insect repellent use).
Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the eye area. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities. Experiment with different percentages of essential oil.
1/2 ounce citronella oil
1/4 ounce lavender oil
1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil
1/8 ounce tea tree oil
1/8 ounce jojoba oil
Do not use this blend undiluted on your skin. Follow these instructions for diluting:
To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly. For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary.
1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)
Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.
Experiment a little to find which essential oils work best with your body chemistry. If you're lucky, you also will like the way they smell; otherwise, add a few drops of peppermint oil to fine-tune the fragrance.
If you are bitten, follow this advice from James Duke, Ph.D., author of 'The Green Pharmacy.' Plantain (Plantago, various species) is one of the best herbs to treat bug bites.
You probably won't need to plant this home remedy because it is a very common weed, often growing in compacted soil along sidewalks and driveways. To use the plant as first aid for a mosquito bite, crush a few leaves and rub them on the bite.
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