When it comes to repelling all kinds of insects, nature has a very good plan. Safe ways to keep the bugs at bay that don’t involve covering yourself from head to toe with toxic chemicals – especially important to avoid with young children.
A natural bug repellent lets you…
- Protect yourself against potentially serious infections like Zika virus and Lyme disease
- Avoid the annoyingly itchy aftermath of bug bites
- Escape the painful sting of wasps and hornets
- Keep pests like flies and ants out of your house
- Banish destructive insects from your garden
And whether you rub crushed leaves on your skin, or make bug spray with essential oils, these natural insect repellents will help you stay bite-free, without risking the potential side effects from constant use of toxic chemicals.
Grow your own natural bug repellent
Many aromatic herbs, including those you use to add flavor to your meals, perform double duty as insect repellent. While they smell good to us, bugs simply can’t tolerate the fragrance.
In addition to being lovely and useful, growing your own herbs will save your skin, and save you some money. And since these herbs need very little attention once they’re planted, you’ll have a garden full of delicious edibles and bug repellents.
To keep the bugs off you and your family, plant them near doors and in window boxes – that will keep bugs from getting into your house. Plus, the herbs will be conveniently located so you can rub their crushed leaves all over your skin as you step out the door. You can also mix them into your garden and throughout your yard to minimize outdoor pests… ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes don’t want to be anywhere near these fragrant plants.
To repel insects, simply crush up the leaves of any of the plants below, then rub them on your skin:
Fresh basil leaves repel mosquitoes, and its natural oils are deadly to mosquito larva.
Rosemary repels mosquitoes as well as some moths and flies. At cookouts, burn rosemary and sage – the smoke smells good to you, but repulsive to insects.
Lovely lavender plants repel many flying bugs, including mosquitoes, moths, and flies. On top of that, planting lavender in or around your vegetable garden keeps rabbits from eating your veggies.
Thyme contains several volatile oils that bugs simply can’t stand. One of those plant chemicals, called thymol, is particularly repellent to mosquitoes.
Mint plants – the superstars of the natural repellents – ward off a wide variety of insects, deterring both flying and crawling critters, including beetles, fleas, and ants. Plants in the mint family include some very obvious, and more surprising herbs:
- Lemon balm
All members of the mint family ward off bugs, but each has its own special chemical to do the trick. Catnip, for example, contains a phytochemical called nepetalactone, which is proven to deter ticks and mosquitoes.
Lemon balm, also known as melissa and balm mint, has a mild, calming lemony scent that repels mosquitoes. And if any biting pests do happen to get to you, it also can be used to treat the bites.
Use caution with plants in the mint family. While they’re potent natural bug repellents, they’re also invasive plants that grow and spread like weeds. It’s best to keep mint plants in pots near entryways, where you can pull off leaves and rub them on as you leave the house.
In addition to herbs, there are some non-edible plants you can use to limit the bug population in your yard.
Wormwood – also known as Artemisia – planted around your yard will repel ticks and flies.
Brilliant red, yellow, and orange marigolds have a very distinctive and powerful aroma – and it’s one that bugs can’t stand. In fact, a key compound, called pyrethrum, found in marigolds is commonly used in commercial insect repellents.
Repel insects with essential oils
While plants themselves offer protection against insect bites, highly concentrated essential oils do the job just as effectively – and sometimes even better. All it takes are a few drops of specific essential oils, mixed the right way and sprayed on, to keep bugs away from you for hours. And in clinical studies – where brave volunteers offered their arms for testing – many essential oils worked as well or outperformed toxic chemical repellents like DEET.
And some of the most effective essential oils are derived from herbs mentioned above.
Basil essential oil has been proven to repel up to 98.1 percent of specific mosquito types, and also kills off their larva.
Thyme oil wards off mosquitoes and house flies.
Lavender oil repels most flying insects. On top of that, strategically putting a few drops of lavender around your kitchen will keep ants out.
One revealing study showed that lavender warded off mosquitoes at very low concentrations – just a 10 percent solution.
Oil of geranium naturally repels ticks. One study found this fragrant oil to ward off more than 90 percent of ticks, and at much lower concentrations than most commercial insect repellents. This oil also repels yellowjackets and wasps.
Tea tree oil repels ticks, fleas, and lice – and kills off their larva. Plus, it helps calm bites that do occur.
Essential oil of lemongrass was shown to offer 98.8 percent protection against mosquitoes for nearly three hours.
Citronella oil may be the most familiar of the bug-fighting oils, in the form of scented candles used to keep mosquitoes away from backyard cookouts.
The reason it’s so commonly used is because it works – and it’s even more effective when blended into a personal bug spray to ward off gnats, flies, and mosquitoes.
Peppermint oil is a natural insecticide and repellent, proven in several studies to be highly effective against mosquitoes.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus:
Components in eucalyptus oil (in particular the compounds p-menthane-3,8-diol and eucamol) have been found to be as effective as DEET (and sometimes more effective), but without the troubling side effects.
Powerful enough to ward off the Zika mosquito
Aedes aegypti has gotten a lot of press lately: It’s the mosquito that transmits Zika virus, along with dengue fever and CHIKV. With all the concern surrounding these diseases, people have been slathering themselves with chemical bug sprays, which can bring their own dangers, especially with constant long-term use.
Luckily, several essential oils have been proven to repel these nasty critters including
- lemon eucalyptus
In fact, peppermint was proven to both ward off the mosquitoes and kill their larva, reducing the number of pests available to sting.
Make your own natural bug repellent
It’s very simple to create your own bug spray using whichever combination of essential oils appeals to you.
For the best results, use several different essential oils. This will give you the broadest coverage against a variety of different species of pests.
|Homemade Natural Bug Repellent Spray|
|To make your own bug spray, you’ll need a 10-ounce spray bottle, and some simple ingredients.
• Add the distilled water and witch hazel to the 10-ounce spray bottle.
• Then add a total of 30 to 40 drops of essential oil.
• Shake well.
If you do get bitten, two drops of lavender, peppermint, or tea tree oil can soothe the inflammation and stop the itching.
Still have questions? Don’t wait another second to protect your family. Download our Free Zika Virus Survival Guide today.
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Michele Cagan is the Editor of the Health Sciences Institute Members Alert, a monthly health newsletter with approximately 200,000 paid subscribers, dedicated to presenting natural and alternative cures. The Members Alert covers a wide range of diseases and conditions including depression, weight loss, insomnia, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and dozens more.
Ms. Cagan tracks down the sources of these natural cures in the Amazon rainforest, along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in the Siberian tundra, and atop the Himalayas. From medicinal mushrooms to Traditional Chinese herbs to Ayurvedic treasures, Ms. Cagan seeks the most trusted natural cures, backed by centuries of effectiveness and modern science.
Ms. Cagan also authored the alternative health book, Act 50 Think 40 Feel 30 - The Doctor's Secrets to Living Younger Everyday with Allan Spreen, M.D.
In addition, Ms. Cagan created the Health e-Living Letter (an online health column on the benefits of natural remedies), HSI On the Spot (an alternative health blog), and Code Red (an urgent e-letter informing subscribers about newly discovered adverse events), along with special in-depth reports on critical alternative cures. Ms. Cagan is also a featured contributor on HealthierTalk.com.
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