I’m taking a nap, mosquito. Stop your music for a little bit. Don’t be disagreeable. Don’t bite me. – Joe Dassin
In my country, it’s either freezing cold in the winter or full of mosquitoes, black flies and now it’s ticks too, in the summer.
Personally, there is nothing really that I find more unpleasant than trying to enjoy some time outside and having all those little tiny critters that buss around me and bite me. When I was smaller and was getting bitten, it was not has much of a worry as it is today. Yes, it was itching and my mother gave me soothing baths, calamine or antihistamines were used for relief. But nowadays, it can be a lot more serious to get stung and it can have repercussions for a very long time. We hear a lot about lyme disease lately. This disease is caused by a bacteria that is spread by the bite of an infected tick. There is also Zyca, malaria (malaria), chikungunya, dengue, etc … All these diseases can be contracted by the bites of infected insects.
I know I know the sun is hot, Mosquitoes come and suck your blood. Leave you there all alone. Just skin and bone. – Queens Of The Stone Age lyrics
I know, there are sprays on the market that can help keep these nasty bugs away, but the problem with these products is that they often contain a lot of chemicals that may be more harmful to our health than the bites from the insect itself. Here is a list of some of the ingredients found in the best-selling mosquito repellent on the market: Deet, toluamide, galaxolide, hedione, synthetic chemical molecules, benzyl benzoate, parabens, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrance and many other chemical molecules ending with 2-t -…- 1,3-dioxolane-2-…..
The worst part is that these products are regularly sprayed on the skin, even though we shouldn’t and we also breathe their vapor. Although it is often stated on the bottle not to apply directly to the skin, sometimes we need to be protected from nasty insects, even when we wear swimsuits or shorts, t-shirt, etc. It makes it almost impossible not to apply the product on the skin. As you probably know, our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs ALL that is applied on it. For this reason, I decided that I don’t want to use this kind of product on my skin and even less on the skin of my children or my animals. These products do not only repel mosquitoes, ticks, black flies, but they also affect your health. Also, on the majority of the bottles, it is often advise not to use on children under 12 years. So what do we do then? Out little ones are often the ones who want to run in the woods …
This is were essential oils and some basic materials that you certainly have at home can really help and be very effective in keeping mosquitoes away. Essential oils are strong and often disturbing to them, so they don’t come close to us and this is exactly what we are looking for, don’t we?
When we are having dinner outside in the back yard, I always diffuse essential oils and it helps to keep our little ennemis away and we can enjoy a great meal without their presence.
In this picture, you can see an array of essential oils that are very effective at keeping mosquitoes, flies, ticks, etc., away.
In addition to smelling good, you will also have the benefits of aromatherapy. The ingredients that I chose for making the base of your mosquito repellent will be perfect for nourishing and protecting your skin as well.
It’s a Win-Win situation!
Here is the recipe for mosquito spray that I created. This recipe has many ingredients ( I love complicated things apparently ;-)) but I tried it many times and it work wonderfully, it is really effective.
I have been using it on th entire family, including our dog and even when we went for a walk in the wood, our sweet labrador Diva didn’t come back with ticks this time around (Which she usually does…)
NB: I understand that you might not have all ingredients or that you might want to create an easier version of the spray so for the ingredients with the following mention **** know that they are optional and that you won’t affect the quality of your bug spray if you don’t use them. I mainly use them to sooth the skin or to improve to the smell of the spray.
- 1 tsp vegetable glycerine ****
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Vodka or Alcohol
- 1 1/2 tsp witch hazel
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (Infused or not with parsley****)
- 4 c. tablespoon of grapeseed oil or sesame or coconut or sweet almond oil …
- 1 tbsp of Neem oil (excellent natural repellent. Tamanu Oil could also be used) ****
- 1/4 tsp rosemary oleoresin (used to help retard rancidity in natural oils) ****
- 1/4 tsp Vitamin E (non-synthetic) ****
This preparation will give you a 85 ml liquid base in which you will incorporate the essential oils.
This is a trick that I learn from a friend and I find it very interesting and I added it to my recipe to optimize the mosquito spray. Take a mortar, put some parsley leaves, about twenty. Then you add the apple cider vinegar and you crush the leaves in the vinegar. Mix well to create an infusion. When we press the parsley leaves in the apple cider, it helps to extract the active ingredients that our dear friends, the mosquitoes, don’t like. It’s not complicated and It’s easy to add to the recipe, so why not.
Kids love to help, here’s a task they can easily do and will enjoy.
Now that you have prepared the base for your mosquito spray, you will want to add the equivalent of 6% in essential oils. We are looking to use approximatly 5 ml of essential oils or 100 drops. This will be a solution for kids 15 yrs of age and up.
For younger kids (5 and 15), the dilution ratio should be around 1.5%. Which represent 1 ml or 20 drops for the same qty of liquid base (85ml)
For kids under the age of 5, use your common sense and don’t use too much essential oils on them. I would personally put 10-15 drop of essential oils or use more vegetable oils to dilute the essential oils more. Don’t over apply on them either.
The way I have been using it at home is the following: I apply a few spray on my kids (wrist, ankles, back of the neck, behind the ears. For younger kids, I will spray 2-3 times in my hands and will apply behind the legs, back of the neck/head, on their hat… I don’t apply on their hands ever because they have a tendency to put their hands in their mouth. I would also avoid using on pregnant ladies because of some oils that I have in my recipe, but it is totally possible to create a safe version for pregnant ladies. When the essential oils are really pure, really natural and that they have not be fractionated, some of them can be use safely by pregnant women. I used essential oils during my entire pregnancy with twins.
Here’s the list of essential oils that I used in my spray.
You don’t have to use as many variety of oils, You can choose 4-5 and use more drops for each of them for total of 100 drops.
- Citronnella … 20 drops
- R.C. … 20 drops (this blend contains eucalyptus citriodora 😉 )
- Lemongrass … 20 drops
- Peppermint … 10 drops
- Rosemary … 7 drops
- Lavender … 7 drops
- Geranium … 5 drops
- Cedarwood … 5 drops
- Thyme … 3 drops
- Oregano … 3 drops
- Clove … 1 drop
Now, If you would like to know why I chose the essential oils that I put in my mosquito spray, here’s some extra info for you. 😉
Lemongrass oil has been recognize in the United States for its insect repellent use. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers citronella oil a bio-pesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.
It is composed of about 40% citronellal and 18 to 30% geraniol. These two molecules act as natural repellents against insects. They disturb the nervous system of insects, which prefer to move away from it. The lemony smell that emanates from them displeases them strongly.
And if unfortunately, we get stung anyway, lemongrass oil will bring relief to the itching; lavender too.
Repel mosquito – Repel fleas
This blend contain the essential oil eucalyptus citriodora. Some studies have demonstrate that eucalyptus citriodora has properties to repel mosquitos that are similar to DEET.
Eucalyptus citriodora is composed of 75-85% de citronellal
Repel mosquito – Repel Fleas – Repels Ticks
This essential oil is rich in géranial (35-47%), geraniol (1.5-8%) and Neral (25-35%). This chemicals composant act as a repulsif.
Repel mosquitoes – Repel Fleas – Repel Ticks
Contain 1-8% de 1.8 Cineol (Eucalyptol), 25-50% Menthol.
Repel mosquitoes – Repel Fleas – Repel Ticks – Repel ants – Repel spiders
Contain 38-55% de 1,8 Cineol (Eucalyptol), 5-15% camphor, 9-14% alpha-Pinene, 4-9% Beta-Pinene, 1-4% Limonene
Contain 21-47% Linalyl Acetate, 23-46% Linalol. These composants have calming and relaxing properties.
Repel mosquitoes – Repel Fleas – Repel Ticks
Geraniol, which is the main component of the essential oil geranium is very repulsive for mosquitoes and other insects.
Contain 10-18% geraniol, 25-36% citronnellol, 4-8% Linalol
Repel mosquitoes – Repel Fleas
Contain 10-20% Alpha-Himachalene, 35-55% Beta-Himachalene, 8-15% Gamma-Himachalene
Repel Fleas – Repel Ticks – Repel ants
Contain 37-55% Thymol, 3-6.5% Linalol, 0.5-5.5% Carvacrol, 1-2.8% de Myrcene
Repel Mosquitoes – Repel Ticks
Contain 60-75% Carvacrol
Repel Mosquitoes – Repel Ticks
Contain 75-87% Eugenol
Repel Mosquitoes – Repel Ants – Repel Fleas
It has high level of terpinen-4-ol 30-45%
Contains: Rosemary, Tea tree, Clove and Niaouli
When ever you are outside, you should bring your diffuser and diffuse some of those oils. It will smell great outside, but it will also keeps the buggers away.
Be creative and try different oils, different blend.
STOP USING DEET: : WHY?
Although DEET is approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eyes irritant and may cause rashes, pain, or blisters when applied to the skin . In addition, DEET has been linked to neurological problems. According to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering from adverse neurological effects have been associated with DEET, as well as the death of two adults.
Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center in the United States have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats. It has adverse effects on the nervous system of mammals
It has also been shown that DEET has a negative impact on wildlife and sources of drinking water. And this cause as much by the production of DEET as it is by the uses of it. DEET has been found in about 75% of the United States water sources, including Mississippi.
It is toxic to birds and aquatic life.