Make Your Own Bug Repellent… and Avoid Becoming a Meal

If you are forced to bug out due to a disaster, you will probably spend more time outdoors than you’re used to.

And even if there is no emergency to deal with, you may have a camping trip planned. Especially with the weather cooling off. And after having spent so much time indoors this past spring and summer.

One of the downsides to either of these scenarios is this. If you’re not careful, you could turn into a walking buffet for bugs.

Store-bought insect repellents work pretty well for the most part. But they can be expensive. They also contain questionable chemicals and smell bad.

Without a whole lot of effort, you can make your own bug repellents with natural ingredients and common household products. In fact, you can even customize them for the particular bugs you believe you’ll be encountering.

You don’t need expensive repellents

To mosquitos, ticks and other biting and burrowing insects, the human race is a giant smorgasbord.

Some of us are as popular with them as the roast beef carving station. Others are fortunate enough to attract all the attention of room-temperature Brussels sprouts.

Those of us not lucky enough to be passed over by winged and crawling diners must use artificial means to repel these pests. But that doesn’t mean we need expensive insect repellents. Or the complex, questionable chemicals they contain.

There are plenty of recipes for homemade insect repellents using natural ingredients and common household products.

With trial and error experimentation, we can all find a personal favorite recipe to make us an unappetizing dish to pests.

Single-ingredient remedy

Some folks only need a single ingredient to ruin insect appetites. Vicks VapoRub is a popular rub-on choice, as is a cotton ball dab of original flavor Listerine antiseptic mouthwash.

Dryer sheets rubbed on skin and clothing, then hung on a belt loop or inside a tent, have been credited with saving outdoor adventures from mosquito mayhem.

For those who find we need something more, the key ingredient in any spray or rub-on recipe is the strong scent of essential oils.

These are widely available at chain department and drug stores or online. Choose the oil based on the bug you are targeting.

Here are some examples:

Mosquitoes: Cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus. Plus geranium, lavender and lemon. As well as peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Flies and Gnats: Cedarwood, eucalyptus and geranium. And melaleuca, patchouli, peppermint and rosemary.

Ticks: Cedarwood, geranium, melaleuca, peppermint, thyme and tea tree oil.

Repellent recipes you can try

Now let’s look at recipes for repellents that can ruin insect appetites.

Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent

Ingredients: Lemon eucalyptus oil, sunflower oil or witch hazel.

Directions: Mix one part lemon eucalyptus oil for every 10 parts of sunflower oil/witch hazel. Rub or spray on skin.

Lavender Vanilla Mosquito Repellent

Ingredients: 15 drops of lavender essential oil, 3 to 4 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 3 to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, distilled water.

Directions: Pour the first three ingredients into an 8 oz. spray bottle. Finish filling the bottle with distilled water. Shake to combine ingredients. Spray on skin or clothing.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Ingredients: 16 oz. of rubbing alcohol, 3.5 oz. of whole cloves, 3.5 oz. of baby oil or another type of oil (almond, sesame, chamomile, lavender, fennel, etc.).

Directions: Place cloves in alcohol and leave to infuse for four days, stirring every morning and evening. After four days, strain the alcohol into a spray bottle and add the oil. Shake well before use. Spray onto skin or clothing.

Mosquito and Tick Repellent

Ingredients: 6 oz. witch hazel, 2 oz. castor oil, 5 drops cinnamon oil, 15 drops eucalyptus oil, 15 drops citronella oil.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before each application.

Organic Insect Repellent

Ingredients: 5 ml. neem oil, 2 ml. liquid soap (organic), 1 liter distilled water.

Directions: Pour water into a spray bottle. Add neem oil and liquid soap. Shake and apply directly to exposed skin.

Lavender Mosquito and Tick Repellent

Ingredients: ¾ cup baby oil, ¼ cup witch hazel, 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 10 drops lavender oil.

Directions: Mix in a spray bottle and shake before use.

Some pests are deadly

Mosquitos, ticks and other pests are not only irritating. Some carry a variety of diseases that can make you sick or even kill you.

Ticks are known for the Lyme disease they transmit. Mosquitos are known for several diseases they can carry. Including West Nile virus, malaria and the Zika virus.

Please take this seriously. It’s crucial that we protect ourselves and our loved ones from bugs that can not only cut a camping trip short, but our lives as well.

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