Here in the Caribbean, there is not a whole lot of difference between winter and spring. The temperature variant is only about 5 degrees Celsius, but what does change with the warmer weather are those BUGS! Noseeums and mosquitoes are the worst. Fortunately they don’t bother us on the boat unless there is no wind, but going ashore is another whole ball game and they can eat you alive at sunset. Regardless of where you live, the time for getting out to do gardening going camping is upon us and we need to make a plan about how to deal with these pesky visitors. Making your own spray is healthier for you and your family and easier on the environment, especially if you up-cycle the spray bottles you use. I couldn’t find a glass spray bottle at the pharmacy but I had a perfume glass spray bottle that I washed out and it works really well.
I hate the stickiness of bug sprays and I don’t like having toxic, poisons applied to my skin, so this year I have decided to make my own Deet-free bug spray. In the past I have used Avon’s Skin so Soft which I found worked well but I can’t get it here so the next step
is making my own with essential oils. I detest the smell of citronella which is the basis of most sprays on the market and yes, the concoction I use does use citronella oils, but the smell is diluted with other oils and it really smells quite pleasant.
To be honest, I don’t know yet how well it will work because I am not confident in the quality of the essential oils I was able to get here on the island, but time will tell. It is important to make sure you have good quality organic oils and that they are stored in a cool place and in a dark glass bottle as light can effect some oils. Keep only a small amount in the spray bottle you travel with, especially if the glass is clear or the bottle is plastic. Keep the bulk of your potion in a cool dark place. For me, the only place to store it is in my tiny fridge, since the rest of the boat can get very hot at times.
It’s best to check out some recipes on You Tube to get the perfect concoction for your own needs, but I have to work with what I can lay my hands on. One quick word of warning, please take care with babies and small children. It’s ok to apply to the outside of clothing but be careful when applying some oils to the skin. Essential oils are strong and a baby is small, so the dose you apply could be a lot stronger than you think and some oils can hurt their delicate skins. Please do your research first. Generally these are safe for pets, but it is not recommended to use tea tree oils in pet products.
I got my recipe from You Tube and I have put the link below. I couldn’t get lemon grass, but I managed to find the other important insect repelling ones. My concoction is witch hazel 16 oz. Mine has alcohol in it but preferably use one without alcohol. To this I added
15 drops each of Citronella, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint. The lavender seems to tame down the overpowering smell of the citronella so I am eager to try it out. I’m almost excited to engage in war with these beasties now. Stay Tuned and I will let you know how it worked out.
Some links for Deet Free bug sprays using essential oils can be found here in this link. Let me know your favourite method of combatting insects. I am sure our followers would love to know how you deal with them, or hop on over to our Facebook page – wheelsofchange.41 and share your pictures and opinions there. We love your feedback.