There’s nothing worse than soaking in a day of perfect weather and becoming a buffet for mosquitoes.
Unfortunately, bug repellent sprays aren’t actually as safe as they’re advertised to be, so how do you protect yourself from bugs and bug-related diseases?
Put Down The DEET!
Popular insect repellent spray can cause symptoms of poisoning in sensitive individuals or through prolonged exposure.
Common side-effects include (1):
- Hives or blisters
- Redness and skin irritation
- Insomnia and mood changes.
- Eye irritation
- Breathing difficulty
- Poor concentration
Duke University pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia has also issued a warning that frequent and prolonged DEET exposure led to brain cell death and behavioral change (2).
What Are The Natural Alternatives ?
Science Daily reports that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip is ten times more effective than DEET, a popular ingredient in commercial insect repellents. This compound is also responsible for the plant’s characteristic odor.
Other effective bug-repelling options include lemon, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil (4).
How To Make Your Own Bug Repellent Spray
- Essential oils: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
- 4 oz. Natural Witch Hazel
- 4 oz. Distilled or boiled Water
- 1/2 tsp Vegetable glycerin (optional)
- Fill a spray bottle half with water.
- Top off with witch hazel, leaving an inch or so of space at the top.
- Add the glycerin if using.
- Finally, add 30-50 drops of essential oils, the more you use, the more effective it’ll be. If you’re sensitive to strong smells, stick with catnip oil.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, plant catnip, rosemary, lavender and mint in your garden or around your porch to keep the bugs at bay! You can also build a bat house to naturally control mosquito population around your home.