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Natural Tick & Mosquito Repellants

Jul 5, 2017

Full summer is upon us and with it come the pests that can spoil everything like ticks and mosquitos.  Here in articles from we find all natural ways to repel those uninvited guests for pets and humans alike!
How to keep troublesome ticks at bay? This simple natural repellent can be made with a few inexpensive household ingredients. Easy, inexpensive, and chemical-free.
Repellant for Pets
Add 1 cup of water to a spray bottle, followed by 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. (Ticks hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and will be easily be repelled by this ingredient alone.)
Then, add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil, which both contain sulfur (another natural tick repellent).
Mix in a few spoonfuls of lemon juice, citrus oil, geranium oil or peppermint oil, which will all repel ticks and fleas while also creating a scented repellent.
Place the top onto the bottle and shake well.
Spray onto the pet's dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals. When outdoors for an extended period, spray this solution on two to three times per day, otherwise once per day is fine.
Repellent for You and Your Family
In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.
Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Eucalyptus oil is a calm, soothing scent that also works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that repels ticks. (This way you won't smell like bitter vinegar all day!)
*Place the top onto the bottle and shake well.
After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay, and examine the skin and hair when returning home to make sure no ticks are on the body.
How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitoes -- the dreaded summer pests that keep you indoors or scratching welts all over exposed skin -- not only cause irritating bites, but spread diseases. Yellow fever and west Nile spread from mosquito bites. Fortunately, studies have shown some products used in homemade mosquito repellent work as effectively as commercial, chemical products in keeping mosquitoes at bay.
Catnip Essential Oil
Iowa State University entomologists led a research study on the effectiveness of catnip oil in repelling mosquitoes in comparison to DEET, the most common chemical-based repellent. Researchers found the essential oil, called nepetalactone, was the most effective repellent in short term testing of 15 minutes. Overtime, its effectiveness lessons, but reapplication would improve this. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) oils haveEnvironmental Protection Agency registration as a safe insect repellent ingredient.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Another effective essential oil in repelling mosquitoes comes from lemon eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus citriodora). This oil contains cintronellal, which gives it a strong scent and some of its repellent properties. According to Erika Yigzaw, the Chief Institutional Officer of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, lemon eucalyptus essential oil has been used by the Ethiopian government for use as an insect repellent in their efforts to control malaria.
If you have allergies to substances in eucalyptus oil, such as cintronellol, do not use it.
How to Make Repellent from Catnip and Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
With a base of a carrier oil, witch hazel extract in an alcohol base to preserve the blend, and distilled water, make a spray-on homemade repellent that is easy to use. Jojoba oil makes a great choice for a carrier oil because it's among the oils that won't go rancid in summer heat. The oil also resembles skin sebum, won't clog pores and won't leave an oily residue.
Things You'll Need
8-ounce bottle with sprayer
1/2 tablespoon carrier oil
4 ounces witch hazel extract
24 drops catnip essential oil
24 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
Distilled water
You can adjust the water, witch hazel and oil blend to suit your needs. Witch hazel extract might dry the skin, so adding less extract and more oil will help if you have dry skin.
Do not use any essential oils during pregnancy or on children under threewithout speaking with a qualified healthcare professional.
Step 1: Add bases
Measure and pour the carrier oil into the bottle. Add the witch hazel extract.
Step 2: Drop in essential oils
Add one drop of catnip essential oil at a time, counting carefully to 24 drops. Add the eucalyptus the same way. Do not exceed a total of 48 drops.
Step 3: Top with water
Pour in distilled water almost to the top, leaving room to attach the lid with sprayer. Place sprayer on the bottle and shake vigorously.
Step 4: Use the repellent
Spray on exposed skin at least every two hours or as needed when outdoors, but no more than once every hour. Shake the bottle before each application to mix the oils in for better coverage.
Don’t put essential oils directly on your skin. Essential oils have high potency and can cause skin irritation and burning. Mix them at a rate of 1 drop per teaspoon of carrier when applying to large areas of your body.
When choosing essential oils, you might find a pre-blended oil specifically made for mosquito repellent. If you choose to use a blend, add it to the carrier or base at the same rate you would any other essential oil unless its packaging indicates otherwise. You can also add other essential oils for scent such as lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), but remember to keep the oil to carrier ratio the same.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent with Listerine®
Mosquitoes are not just annoying. Their painful bites cause itchy, red bumps that stay irritated for days. In addition, mosquitoes have the potential to spread diseases, such as West Nile virus and malaria. The mouthwash brand Listerine is touted as a main ingredient in homemade mosquito repellents, but its effectiveness is controversial to say the least.
Listerine® as a Mosquito Repellent
Despite the rumors of its effectiveness as a mosquito repellent, Listerine does not work for that use, according to University of Kentucky entomologist Grayson Brown, Ph.D., cited in a 2011 Prevention magazine article. How the myth of Listerine being a mosquito repellent got started may have something do with the fact that it contains eucalyptol, which is often used in botanical insect sprays.
Even though scientific evidence states otherwise, some gardeners still believe Listerine repels mosquitoes. One of them is Arnie Mason, a former broadcaster for radio and television. He uses a mixture that is one-third Listerine, one-third Epsom salts and one-third beer, according to a WECT 6 website article. He adds the mixture to a garden sprayer and then sprays his lawn, trees and bushes with it to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Organic Mosquito Repellents
Having a well-cared-for lawn is one of the best ways to control mosquitoes because they hide in tall grass and weeds. When you regularly mow your lawn and weed your garden, you eliminate the vegetation mosquitoes use to rest and hide.
Installing a bat house also will go a long way in controlling the mosquitoes in your yard. Bats feed on insects and can consume 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour.
Another option is to add annual marigolds (Tagetes spp.) to your landscape. Marigolds naturally contain thiophene, which is a compound that can kill mosquitoes.
Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, abbreviated Bti, is widely considered an effective treatment against mosquitoes. Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring bacteria that targets certain insect species and is safe to use around humans, pets and wildlife, including fish.
Bti is available in various forms, such as ready-to-spray and granular. One company's ready-to-spray bottle of Bti needs to be attached to a garden hose, the water to the hose turned on and the resulting Bti-water solution applied in even strokes directly to lawns, trees, gardens and shrubs. If you use the Bti granular form, evenly broadcast it using a lawn spreader at a rate of 5.2 ounces of the granules per 1,000 square feet of ground surface. Apply the Bti when the air is calm and there is no chance of rain for at least six hours after the application. The retreatment directions vary by brand and type of Bti used. For example, the label directions of one brand of ready-to-spray Bti suggests reapplying the pesticide after frequent or heavy rainfall; the label directions for the brand of a granular form of Bti recommends reapplication when the site becomes reinfested with mosquitoes. Obtain the maximum effectiveness of the product you use by following its label instructions.
Even though Bti is considered safe to use, it can cause moderate eye irritation and possible skin irritation. Wearing protective eye-wear, rubber gloves, a hat, socks, shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when you use a Bti product will help prevent adverse reactions.

Image:  Tick & mosquito -

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