Thursday, June 27, 2013

They Don't Bug Me Anymore!

We’ve had so much moisture this spring that the bugs are thick here at Marigold Meadows!  It’s difficult to work in the garden without fearing that you might be carried away by a swarm of gnats!  I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I’ve heard about their man-sized mosquitoes.  I think their cousins are living here on our farm.

The horses are pretty smart.  They are spending a lot of time in the barn where there is a breeze which somewhat keeps the annoying insects away.  While the barn is one of my favorite places to be, I do have things that need to be done.  However, in my efforts to make it through my “to do list,” it seems that I’m doing more fruitless swatting than accomplishing anything else!  So… as I’ve considered plants that are on my side against these pesky intruders, I think I’ve fashioned a insect repellant recipe that will make outdoor work and fun activities a little more enjoyable.

I knew that I wanted to stay away from DEET, the neurological damaging compound used in most commercial insect repellants.  I also knew that Catnip was an effective insect repellant, but I didn’t realize just how effective until I came across the researchers report given in 2001 at the 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, that the essential oil in catnip is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET!  However, like all enterprises, those manufacturing insect repellants are interested in making money and catnip oil is not cheap!  Consequently, while I wanted catnip as my foundation, because of it’s costliness I realized that I needed to use it as a tincture or undiluted in minimal amounts.  Not having any catnip tincture on hand, I chose the essential oil of Catnip.

I decided to use witch hazel as a carrier because it is not oily.  No one likes dirt and sand sticking to their skin because of oily lotions and sprays.  I concluded that it is best to mix insect repelling oils in order for the end product to be most effective and least expensive.  Here is my non-oily, insect repelling end-product:

4 oz Witch Hazel Extract
1 ounce Neem oil (purchase this diluted in olive oil)
80 drops Citronella essential oil
80 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
40 drops Lavender essential oil
20 drops Rosemary essential oil
20 drops catnip essential oil (may use 4 oz. Catnip tincture instead)
10 drops Lemongrass essential oil
10 drops Lemon essential oil

Mix in a spray bottle.  Shake well before each use.  Reapply as needed.

They don’t bug me anymore!  Try it and let me know how it works for you!


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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