Natural Bug Repellants

How to Make Homemade Bug Spray:

Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using
Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!

Make Bug Spray From Dried or Fresh Herbs
Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray Ingredients:

Distilled water
witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
dried herbs: peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender, etc. I recommend using at least one herb from the mint family.

How to Make Bug Spray From Fresh or Dried Herbs:

Boil 1 cup of water and add 3-4 TBSP of dried herbs total in any combination from the above. I use 1 TBSP each of peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender, and also throw in a couple of dried cloves.
Mix well, cover and let cool (covering is important to keep the volatile oils in!)
Strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place (fridge is great because then its nice and cool!)
Use as needed. Added bonus: it smells great and is very refreshing to the skin!

Super Strong Insect Repellent Recipe

Fair warning: this stuff stinks when it is wet, though the smell disappears as it dries. It works incredibly well though, and this is the one I use when I’m going to be in the woods or in tick infested areas. It is based on a recipe that was supposedly used by thieves during the Black Plague to keep from getting sick. They used it internally and externally to avoid catching the disease and to keep the flies and other pests away. According to legend, it worked and they survived… but it definitely makes a great insect repellent these days! Its also very inexpensive to make and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen!
Vinegar Based Insect Repellent Ingredients:

1 32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint
At least quart size glass jar with airtight lid

How to Make the Vinegar Based Insect Repellent:

Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.
Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks.
After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in fridge.
To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.
Use whenever you need serious bug control!

[Note: This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for any illness. For adults, dose is 1 TBSP in water several times a day,for kids over 2, dose is 1 tsp in water several times a day. More on this in an upcoming post!]
Other Simple Insect Repelling Ideas:

Add vanilla extract to either of the above recipes, or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
Rub lavender flowers or lavender oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, etc) to repel insects.
Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc or citronella, lemongrass, etc) Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes and I’ve used fresh basil leaves in the garden with great success before!

What are your tricks for keeping bugs at bay? Which do you think is worse… the insects or the chemicals in most repellents?

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