When it comes to insects like pesky mosquitoes and dangerous ticks, we’ll do just about anything to avoid itchy bites and harmful diseases they might carry. In fact, I can recall a particularly unpleasant trip to Mexico, during which a Biblical proportion of mosquitoes hatched after a recent rainstorm and we practically bathed in bug spray.
But are these repellents doing more harm than good?
Despite the popularity of insect repellents, most sprays include high amounts of the controversial chemical DEET, which has been linked to health problems, including memory loss, headaches, tremors, and skin irritations. The Centers for Disease Control even stated that DEET-infused insecticides should be used sparingly, especially on small children.
But at least it works, right?
Actually… a recent study revealed that DEET might be losing its effectiveness on the mosquito community. After a few hours of being exposed to DEET, researchers found that some of the mosquitoes ignored the chemical and return to the sprayed area.
Thankfully, you can avoid both mosquito bites and potential side effects of DEET by making your own DEET-free bug spray. While you may have to reapply your spray more frequently, you won’t have to worry about the impact of overexposure to harmful chemicals. And if concocting your own mixture doesn’t sound appealing, you can always buy one of these natural insect repellents.
Mosquito and Tick Repellent (courtesy of HGTV Gardens)
What You’ll Need:
- 6 oz. witch hazel
- 2 oz. castor oil
- 5 drops of cinnamon oil
- 15 drops of eucalyptus oil
- 15 drops of citronella oil
Combine all ingredients and transfer into a spray bottle. Be sure to shake well before each application.
Have you tried making your own repellent before? We’d like to hear about it!
Photo by fairfaxcounty.