As I type this, I’m itchy. Itchy in the sort of way that, should I just take the plunge and go on and scratch all those mosquito welts spread out in constellations all over my calves, I know I’ll live to regret it. I’m not certain if pregnant ladies smell particularly appealing to the tiny winged bloodsuckers or what, but I can surely attest to having been the delicacy of choice yesterday, when posing for some outdoor author photos while working on the food photography for my “Keeping Bees” book.
Had I know that a stinging army lie in wait for me and my lower half, I would have come prepared. In fact, now that it’s just about summer, I should have come prepared. I don’t know what hungry, buzzing, winged summertime creature makes mince-meat out of your skin where you live, but in the southeastern United States, it’s mosquitoes. In recognition of that (and in preparation for other creatures who bid a fond “Howdy Do!” when summer rolls around), today’s small measure is about whipping up some homemade, all-natural insect repellents.
Today I’ll share with you three easy solutions to managing warmer weather interlopers. We’ll begin with the aforementioned mosquitoes. While many solutions work, my preference is for either homemade or all-natural repellents. That’s always been the case, but it’s of even greater importance to me now that “Nugget” is privy to whatever I imbibe, eat, slather on, or otherwise consume, either orally or topically. I want whatever I use in combating summer’s critters to be as safe and benign as possible. To that end, I turn to essential oils. In fact, the use of herbs and essential oils is usually my first line of defense in all matters related to body care products. My “Mosquito Mist” deters the miniature munchers while keeping you smelling good and feeling fine!
CLICK HERE for ashley’s natural insect repellent recipes after the jump!
-1 cup of grain alcohol (organic if available), vodka (ditto) or witch hazel
-30 drops (in total) essential oil blend (select from: lavender, citronella, rosemary, rose geranium, lemon, or tea tree oil)*
*You can also use just one single essential oil, or a combination of just two or so, if you have a preference for a particular aroma)
-Place all ingredients into a spray mister bottle.
-Spray liberally over any exposed skin before venturing outdoors.
-Reapply if you get wet or are sweating heavily.
Another quick and easy deterrent to mosquitoes is to simply dab an oil directly onto your skin. I wouldn’t suggest this for young children or babies, but adults can easily place a bit of lavender essential oil or vanilla extract behind their ears, on their wrists, and at the back on the knees. This will keep the bugs away, and might just make you the person on the patio that everyone is inexplicably drawn towards!
Preparation and precautions for outdoor forays are important, but what about creatures who make themselves at home indoors when the mercury rises? I’m talking specifically here about ants and sawtoothed grain beetles or weevils. The arrival of ants and other pantry creatures seems to parallel the move to warmer weather. If you find a busy trail of ants, happily making their way in and out of your pantry (and your sugar jar), or sawtoothed grain beetles (or weevils) when opening up a cereal package or canister of rice or lentils, try these easy tricks for bidding the multi-legged beasties adios without resorting to toxic chemicals.
Happy Trails Ant Remover
-Bottle of peppermint essential oil
-Find where the ants seem to be entering and exiting.
-Drop single beads of essential oil every two-three inches along their parade route.
-Make sure you’ve covered the entire path.
-They don’t care for the odor and will move along quickly.
Bug Off Beetle Deterrent
-Dried Bay leaves
-Nest a bay leaf or two (be sure they’re dry!) inside all of your pantry goods. -Store all of the items in securely lidded containers in a dry, room temperature location.
-The bay leaf deters beetles and weevils while not affecting the flavor or aroma of your pantry staples.
What about you? Have any go-to remedies of choice for fending off creatures determined to make a meal out of you or your dry goods? I’d love to hear them. The way I look at it, every living thing is just trying to make it’s way in the world. I don’t place “good” or “bad” labels on any beings (or at least I try not to, although mosquitoes certainly test my resolve). If we can find ways to manage and co-exist with each other without resorting to noxious gassings or toxic blitzkreigs, I’m all for it! -ashley