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With summer in full swing insect bites are at an all-time high. Those pesky bugs, like mosquitoes, biting flies, and gnats can ruin any fun event real quick. We can’t stay locked inside all summer and our kids probably wouldn’t like running around the yard in protective netting. So what are our options that allow us to limit exposure to toxic chemicals and keep us bite free?
1. Avoid being outside between dusk and dawn when the insects are the worst. If this isn’t possible (which it usually isn’t haha) then you can find other options below.
2. Have you children wear long, loose-fitting, dull colors that will cover most of their exposed skin, including socks and shoes instead of sandals.
3. Check your scent. Sunscreen, lotion, shampoo, soap, perfume, fabric softener, detergent, or dryer sheets can attract pests. Choose fragrance free hygiene products and avoid putting on perfume or scented lotion before going outside.
4. Turn on a fan. Mosquitos have a hard time navigating in wind so turning on a ceiling fan while you are in a porch can save you some trouble.
5. Oil of lemon eucalyptus: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently added oil of lemon eucalyptus to the list of long-lasting and effective mosquito repellents available in the U.S. It is a synthesized pesticide that comes from the Eucalyptus plant. It can be sprayed on skin or clothing, or rubbed on skin in the form of lotion and can be effective for up to 6 hours. Oil of lemon eucalyptus has passed the effectiveness standards required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be used on public health pests (mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats). Through research the EPA found no adverse health effects, except for eye irritation which means you should avoid getting it in eyes and do not apply it to the hands or face of small children. Do not use on children under 3 years old.
6. Wear mosquito repellant bracelets, like these. These bands are infused with essential oils to repel insects. They allow you to move easily and are hardly noticeable. They fit adults and small children. They give up to 10 hours of protection.
7. Use of certain essential oils are said to repel insects, although I couldn’t find much research based evidence many people swear by these. Try any mix of these: lemon eucalyptus, citronella, rosemary, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, lavender, and clove oil. These need to be applied often because they are typically only effective for 30 minutes – 2 hours. Make a mix in a spray bottle and spray them on your clothes (socks, shoes, or on clothes near exposed skin). Buy a premade mixture from a line specifically made to use safely on children like KidSafe by Plant Therapy (there are so many great mixes you can get from them based on what you need). You can even buy a locket and pompoms to make a necklace you can wear; just put a few drops of the essential oils on the pompom and place it in a locket like this one.
8. Strategically place insect repelling plants around your house, like near entrances, your patio, deck, or your garden. Herbs like basil, lavender, lemon thyme, mint, lemon balm, and lemon grass work (bonus, you can use the herbs later in tea, while cooking, and natural remedies). If you want flowers to liven a space up try marigolds, chrysanthemums, or geraniums.
What are your favorite natural ways to repel insects?
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