Thursday, August 6, 2009

Detecting Chiggers and Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

So I don't know that I was EVER bit by one of these little devilish puppies until last week. Right on my stomach! It's still there. It still itches. It's awful. So here's the deal. Chiggers are REAL! You can tell whether or not you have a lot in your yard by putting a black piece of paper or cardboard upright in your lawn. In just a few minutes you can check the top and you'll be able to see those little red guys crawling all along the edge. Their size is deceptive and they seem harmless, but they're not and you can't really see them when they're on you. Get more info on them at Wikipedia.
You can protect yourself by using an insect repellent, but with a little baby and a dog. It makes me cringe to think about spraying deet on them. Check out Little House in the Suburbs on making your own bug repellent naturally. I put the recipe below, but she has some good points about frequency of use and such. There are TONS of essential oils that deter specific kinds of bugs, and you can customize yours for the needs in your areas. You can even add in an oil for your pet spray that deters fleas!

DIY Natural Bug Repellent

1 cup vodka
2 T. aloe vera juice
2 tsp. favorite conditioning liquid oil (soybean, olive, castor, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp. essential oil blend (I use this preblended one)

Combine in a spray bottle and shake before each use. These oils have less staying power than chemicals such as DEET so they need to be reapplied about every 30 minutes or as needed.

You can buy a blend or create your own blend from these oils found to have insect repellent properties.

  • Catnip Oil–mosquitoes
  • Cedarwood Oil–lice, moths
  • Cinnamon Oil–ants
  • Citronella Oil–mosquitoes
  • Clove Oil–mosquitoes
  • Eucalyptus Oil–mosquitoes
  • Geranium Oil–flies, mosquitoes
  • Lavender Oil–mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies
  • Lemongrass Oil–mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies
  • Litsea Cubeba–mosquitoes
  • Patchouli–gnats
  • Peppermint Oil–lice, spiders, ants
  • Rosemary Oil–fleas, ticks
  • Tea Tree Oil–mosquitoes, lice, ants

Although found in many lists of repellents, I avoid pennyroyal because of its potential toxicity.
All essential oils are best used in dilution. Don’t apply them directly to the skin in full strength.

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