It’s a joke here in Minnesota that our unofficial state bird is the mosquito. They’re awful. I’ve counted over fifty mosquito bites on my body in one day. I’ve lived here my entire life, and I still haven’t gotten used to the idea that for the entire summer, I’ll have at least one itchy bite at any given moment.
Mosquitoes or not, I’m just not willing to sacrifice my time outside. I enjoy fresh air, sunlight, and dirt far too much to allow the mosquitoes to stop me.
My problem with traditional bug repellent sprays is that ingredients are terrifying. I did a little research on DEET, one of the most commonly used ingredients in bug sprays… DEET stands for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide… Wait, whaaaaat? What is that stuff?! It was originally developed as a pesticide.. I can’t justify avoiding pesticide laden foods, then spraying them all over my body! Seriously scary. It truly surprises me to see some of the things that make it to the commercial market. Sure, I’ve used bug sprays like this in the past, and yes, they repel bugs… But why not try to find an alternative that isn’t a seriously toxic danger?
So, I did some research, and decided to make up my own bug spray… I tested it too. I did have to reapply it more often than a person would have to apply a commercial brand of bug repellent, but our yard is seriously thick with mosquitoes due to the pond, and I was out in the sun, sweating it off. It worked better than I imagined it would. The smell wasn’t so bad, the citronella oil reminded me of the bug sprays we used on our horses when I was younger, so for me it added a dose of nostalgia. Here’s the recipe.
- 20 drops citronella essential oil
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Distilled water
Pour all ingredients into a 12-15 ounce bottle and fill remaining space in bottle with distilled water. Shake to combine. Label the bottle if you wish (I just remember that my green spray bottle is bug spray). Spray all over body as needed.
I hope it brings you some relief from those nasty bugs!