Are there mosquitos where you live? I grew up around them and then lived two blissful years in Denver, Colorado where nary a mosquito can be found (I had one bite during my entire residence). Then I moved to the worst place for mosquitos I’ve lived yet. At the height of mosquito season, I’ve been absolutely ravaged in backyards and on restaurant patios when not prepared with repellant. It so happens I’m extremely allergic to mosquito bites, swelling to the size of a quarter at times. Not fun! I want to protect myself from those little bloodsuckers, but the last thing I want to do is spray myself with DEET. Did you know that DEET can actually melt plastic? I look for natural insect repellants to do the job instead.
While essential oils like geranium, lavender, peppermint, citronella and clove are known to repel mosquitos, lemon eucalyptus is the most effective and is used in some popular conventional bug sprays. In fact, a study has shown that a bug repellant with a mixture of 32% lemon eucalyptus oil gave more than 95% protection from mosquitos for three hours, just slightly less effective than DEET. For this reason, I like to keep it simple and rely on lemon eucalyptus oil as the active ingredient in my bug spray recipe. You can add oils like geranium and lavender to enhance the smell and boost the strength, but since essential oils have to be diluted, I want lemon eucalyptus to be at full strength.
DIY Natural Bug Repellant
Add 1ml lemon eucalyptus oil (or about 40 drops) to a 1oz amber bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with sunflower oil or witch hazel.Shake well before each use.
This is around a 10% concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil. If 10% isn’t strong enough where you live, you can tweak the recipe up to a 30% concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil. Just make sure to patch test on skin first, and don’t use on children under 3 years old as a precaution. You can find good quality lemon eucalyptus oil at Mountain Rose Herbs as well as amber bottles, witch hazel and carrier oils like sunflower oil. Best wishes for a bug bite-free summer!