Camping season is here! There is nothing better than getting away from it all: just you, a tent, a campfire, fresh air…. and BUGS! We are all familiar with the numerous commercial brands of insect repellants chock full of chemicals that are hazardous to humans as well as the environment. So, how can you keep yourself and your family safe from bug bites the natural way? The Garden Gal has the secret…
At Garden of Eden, our favorite all natural bug repellant is the Insect Veil Spray from Sweet Grass Farms. Unlike highly toxic commercial bug sprays, this safe and effective spray has a pleasant fragrance and is great for children, pregnant women, and people with sensitive skin. DEET, chemical, and synthetic-free, it has a Soy Oil base specially formulated with lemongrass, wintergreen, and catnip oils. Recent research has found that Soy Oil actually contains effective insect repelling properties.
Many people are interested in creating their own natural bug repellant. At Garden of Eden, we carry high quality, 100% pure essential oils, including citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and lavender. The effectiveness of citronella and eucalyptus is due to their strong fragrance. This is believed to confuse mosquitoes’ delicate sense of direction and taste, making it difficult for them to find a host. An added bonus is that eucalyptus can be used as an antiseptic after bites and lavender has anti-inflammatory properties.
Believe it or not, when following homemade recipes, less is best when it comes to essential oils. If you prefer an oil over a spray, start with one or two drops in a carrier oil. Gradually increase the amount of essential oil, based on what you can tolerate (no more than 10-15 drops per ounce of carrier oil is recommended). We carry both Sweet Almond and Sesame Oils, which are the perfect weight for dabbing on your skin.
If you prefer a spray, you can easily create your own with by adding no more than 40 drops of the following essential oils to the mixture of 2 ounces of water and 2 ounces of a high proof alcohol like Vodka:
15 drops citronella essential oil
15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
Shake the bottle before use to disperse oils and mist onto skin and clothing as necessary.
In addition to using a safe all-natural insect repellant, it is useful to follow a few common sense guidelines when enjoying the great outdoors:
1. To help keep away ticks, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toed shoes, and a scarf or hat. Remember to pull your socks up over your pant cuffs and take a soapy shower as soon as possible when returning from infested areas such as forests and untended grassy areas. You can make your own insect repellant soap by adding 10-15 drops of essential oils per ounce of Kiss My Face liquid Castile soap.
2. Mosquitoes breed in water (especially shallow, stagnant water) and are more likely to come out at dusk and dawn. Be extra cautious in these conditions.
3. Be sure to reapply your insect repellant every 1 1/2- 2 hours or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
4. Apply the insect repellent in a thin layer, covering the entire exposed skin surface evenly. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection.
5. Using your hands to rub a spray or lotion repellent into exposed skin helps ensure even distribution of the product.
As always, please stop by the store or call us at 651-293-1300 if you have any questions about the benefits of natural insect repellants. You can also order the necessary ingredients online. Happy camping!