Keep those bugs away

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

How to make your own natural insect repellent

By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist

Spring has sprung, but not everything is blooms and blossoms. As the weather gets warmer, undesirable insects, such as mosquitoes, start to show themselves. And if you are like me, then any little mosquito bite ends up a big problem. Even if it doesn’t end up swelling to the size of a baseball, mosquito bites are still irritating, so preventative measures are a must. But before you go off and buy yourself some insect repellent, think about making your own. It is quite easy and inexpensive, and doesn’t have potentially harmful chemicals in it like DEET does.

There are many herbs and essential oils that you can use that will repel insects. To make a spray with the essential oils, fill a spray bottle with half boiled or distilled water and half witch hazel. Depending on how strong you want the spray, add anywhere between 20-50 drops of your chosen essential oils. Some oils that will repel insects include lavender, mint, eucalyptus, rosemary, citronella, clove and lemongrass.

If you would prefer using fresh or dried herbs, then boil some water and add a few teaspoons of the leaves from the above plants. Mix it together really well and then cover it while it cools. After it has cooled, strain out the herbs and mix it together with a cup of witch hazel in a spray bottle.

Another thing that you can do to keep insects away is to rub lavender or leaves from any plant in the mint family on your skin. I have found eucalyptus to be very effective, even when commercial repellents were not. You can also add vanilla extract to the essential oil or herbal mixes, or just rub it on your skin.

So there you have it. Mother Nature’s own insect repellent. Now you can enjoy your evenings without worrying about nasty bites, or smelling really weird and chemical-y. Instead, you’ll be bug free and smell wonderful.