Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Natural Mosquito Repellent

The mosquitos have been terrible at my house for the last few weeks. Of course they are more active at dusk and dawn, just when it is finally cool enough to work in the gardens.

Some things you can do to avoid mosquitos include wearing light clothing, keep the sweat wiped off as you work outside since mosquitos love sweat and moist skin, avoid using perfume, cologne, and scented lotions.

If you want to avoid harsh chemical repellents which use DEET, you can make your own from your herb garden, or obtain essential oils.

The following essential oils work well against mosquitoes, flies, and ticks:

cinnamon oil

lemon or regular eucalyptus oil

citronella oil

castor oil

orange oil (fleas) Orange oils can be photosensitive, so avoid the sun when using

rose geranium oil (ticks and lice)

You can use one oil or mix and match. Use 10-25 drops of essential oil to 2 tablespoons carrier oil or alcohol

carrier oil choices include:
olive, sunflower, any cooking oil, almond oil, witch hazel
Use vodka as your alcohol source

You may also use aloe vera gel.

Mix the essential oils with your carrier oil, alcohol, or aloe vera gel. Rub or spray onto your skin or clothing (check a small area of clothing to be sure the repellent doesn't stain) Pay special attention to areas they like to bite such as behind the ears and knees, inside the elbows and the ankles. With me, my neck and face seem to be their favorite target!
Here are a couple of recipes from eHow using Catnip

Use catnip oil to make a spray. Mix about a half-teaspoon of essential oil of catnip with 1 cup isopropyl alcohol and 1 cup water. Shake well and spray lightly on clothing, arms and legs. Do not use on children, pets or people sensitive to catnip.
Brew a catnip and vinegar spritz. Crush 2 cups catnip leaves and add to 3 cups white or rice vinegar in a quart jar. Seal and store in dark cupboard. Shake every day for 2 weeks. Strain mixture into clean jar and refrigerate. Use as a light spritz on clothes, arms or legs. Some say the vinegar keeps the mosquitoes away, other say the catnip does the work.

Gather 2 cups catnip and 1 cup rosemary leaves. Crush the leaves by using a rolling pin or scrunching them with your hands. Put the leaves in a clean jar and cover with 2 cups unscented body care oil or vegetable glycerin. Store in a cool dark cupboard for 2 weeks. Shake the jar lightly every day. After 2 weeks, strain out the leaves and pour the oil into a clean jar. Refrigerate and use the catnip body oil as needed.

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