Ahhhh….summertime. Sunshine, warm breezes and bugs. Creeping, crawling, flying, biting bugs. What was meant to be a relaxing evening in your backyard is now an all out battle against the little pests. Not only do they bite, sting and generally annoy us, but according to the website ScienceDaily.com ”Human diseases caused by blood-feeding ticks and mosquitoes represent a serious threat to public health worldwide,”.
Thankfully, there are many essential oils that can be used to combat insects naturally and effectively.
Pine Oil – Veteran campers know that throwing a pine cone or two on your campfire keeps the bugs away. Pine oil has natural insecticide properties and has a wonderful deep, sweet woodsy smell. A great choice for that outdoor bonfire.
Lavender Oil – Lavender oil is used for more than just relaxation and restful sleep. It happens to be a pretty powerful insect repellent. While Lavender, in its flowering state, can attract beneficial bees, it’s oil can be used to detour many other insects. Ants have a particular aversion to Lavender Oil. Leave a saucer with drops of Lavender Essential Oils on your porch and they should stay away.
Peppermint Oil – Peppermint is one of the most versatile oils in the world. It is a natural insecticide that kills and repels mosquitoes. Ants, aphids, beetles, flies, lice, moths and spiders will run the other way, when they come across this oil. Mix 10 drops of Peppermint Oil with 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil for relief from bites and stings. Place a drop of peppermint on a tick that is embedded in the skin and the little nuisance will back right out.
Patchouli Oil – In your garden, Patchouli Oil repels gnats, snails, weevils and woolly aphids. Inside the walls of your home, Patchouli Oil is also known to inhibit the infestation of bed bugs, ants, fleas and lice. When those troublesome guys do get a bite of you use some Patchouli Oil on the site. It may stimulate new cell growth, tighten tissues, heal sores and wounds and cool down the skin.
Basil Oil – Basil oil is fantastic choice for insect control, especially in wet climates with lots of lakes and ponds. Cleaning with Basil Oil is known to control dust mites and the uplifting scent is sure to be a mood booster. Basil oil takes the itch right out of those annoying bites, as well.
Bergamot Oil – This oil is a member of the citrus family. Bergamot Oil is extracted from the Bergamot Orange and is a fragrant fruit about the size of an orange. Because bergamot is a member of the citrus family, your skin can become photosensitive if applied topically. Use caution when applying to skin and then going outdoors. This delicious smelling oil is best used indoors to keep crawling pests out of your home. It also makes a great application for bites and stings.
Sandalwood Oil – Sandalwood keeps weevils and aphids at bay in the garden, as well as works as a potent mosquito repellent. You can very easily create your own Sandalwood “fogger” by purchasing unscented incense sticks or cones and finding a DIY tutorial online.
Citronella Oil – Most everyone has heard of this “keep the bugs away” staple. You can find it in sprays, candles and even dog collars. It not only repels mosquitos, but gnats, ants, fleas, moths and ticks. Citronella oil can be used safely on pets and children.
Tea Tree Oil – Tea Tree Oil is an anti parasitic that destroys and suppresses the growth of parasites including fleas, leeches, lice and ticks. It can actually reduce the number of eggs that an insect lays. Tea tree oil is also overwhelming to centipedes and ants. Add 25 drops of tea tree essential oil into a spray bottle with 6 ounces of water. Spray around door frames, windows, small cracks and basement doors and repeat once a week for a bug free zone. For a wonderful anti-itch spray, mix 5 drops of Lavender, 2 drops of Frankincense and 3 drops of Tea Tree Oils with 2 oz. of Witch Hazel.
Catnip Oil – A likely unknown oil to use for an effective mosquito repellent is Catnip Oil. Research by Iowa State University and the US Forest Service claims that Catnip Oil is ten times more effective than DEET. However, Catnip Oil should not be used on small children, as their skin is more sensitive than that of an adult. Keep Catnip Oil away from small children and pets.
Cedar Wood Oil – Cedar Wood Oil is excellent for moth proofing; especially in small spaces like drawers, storage bins and closets. You can create your own sachets by dropping some Cedar Wood Oil on cotton balls and placing them in your small spaces.
The producers of repellents want you to believe that harsh chemicals are the only way to deal with insects. The mosquito-repellent industry alone rakes in a whopping $200 million annually. It seems the majority of the sprays, yard foggers, and other products designed to ward off the bloodsuckers are usually more dangerous than the insect bites themselves. Fortunately, fighting the bothersome critters with these toxic chemicals is not the only way to win the war. Essential Oils are an effective, safe and all natural alternative to these summertime annoyances.