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|by Heather Nobbe
|On the heels of one of New
York's warmest winters in years, Spring's early arrival has brought
with it a potential Bug Bonanza. From bees to roaches to ants, many of
these undesirable critters have shown up months earlier than usual and
for two main reasons. One, a mild winter that did not kill many of the
pests or reduce their populations; and two, a warm, early spring that
triggered their development.
In places like New York, where ticks and mosquitoes have already begun
reproducing, there will likely be one or two more generations of
bloodthirsty biters added on to this year's insect population. These
particular pests carry the risk of spreading disease, which means an
increased population would theoretically raise the risk of contracting
a debilitating illness like Lyme disease.
Unfortunately, most insect repellents on the market today are full of
chemicals and have unpleasant, toxic aromas that are often masked by
irritating synthetic fragrances. Crafting your own anti-bug formulas is
an easy, cost effective, and environmentally friendly way to maintain a
quality supply of natural protection at your fingertips.
One of my favorite natural repellents to make is an aromatic herbal oil
I like to call "Bug Off" (see recipe below. I apply this formula as an
all-purpose body moisturizing oil after my morning shower and I use it
almost every day when bugs are at their worst. I sometimes apply it
twice during the day, when bugs are heavy, and as a bonus, my skin
becomes very soft and conditioned. This oil takes minutes to make and
it's very effective. For protection on the go a light-textured spray
repellent is an important part of my arsenal.
"Bye Bye Bugs" (see recipe) is a spray that leaves your skin feeling
fresh and clean with a lemony scented aroma that everyone enjoys. If
sprayed liberally onto your skin you'll get protection for up to 20
minutes before needing to reapply. I like to keep a small spray bottle
of this with me in my purse and car so I'm always prepared in case I
unexpectedly find myself in the great outdoors.
Both of these formulas tend to work best on days when the local insect
population is only slightly to moderately hungry. But when they're
feisty and dense, additional protection such as a high-collared shirt
and light-weight pants come in handy. All of the ingredients for these
remedies are available at Honest Weight and qualify for a discount if
you're a member. Your best line of defense against this year's insect
invasion is one that's nontoxic and all natural.
Nobbe is a member of the Nutrition Education Committee
cup soybean base oil
15 drops lemongrass essential oil
15 drops catnip essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil\
Add all ingredients directly into a storage container like a glass
bottle with a spritzer nozzle or pump. Shake the mixture vigorously to
blend. Allow the oil tot synergize for at least one hour. This makes
approximately ½ cup or 4 oz.
No refrigeration is required, but for maximum insect-repelling
freshness and potency you should use within 6 to 12 months. This recipe
is recommended for all skin types except very oily and baby skin.
I apply this formula onto my palms first, then massage the oil into
areas that need bug protection. Shake the container before each use.
cups witch hazel
1 tsp vegetable glycerin
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemongrass essential oil
Combine all ingredients into two 8 oz spray bottles. Shake them
vigorously to blend. The essential oils will tend to separate out and
sit on top (like the oil in a salad dressing), but this does not affect
the product. No refrigeration is required, but for maximum potency and
freshness you should store the blend away from light and heat. Use
within one year. This recipe is recommended for all skin types except
very sensitive and baby skin.
I apply this spray liberally to my skin and reapply every 15 to 20
minutes. Try to use common sense when applying, don't spray directly
into your eyes, nose, or mouth. Shake the container before each use.
Note: This mix might stain white or pale-colored clothing.
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