We at Conservation Halton know that venturing into our beautiful parks can often mean leaving with a few bug bites. During certain seasons, especially by the water, the skeeters can really be pests and distract from your enjoyment of the day. So we can understand the desire to douse yourself in the strongest repellent you can get your hands on. But you should consider the host of harsh chemicals and toxins that are being sprayed onto your skin and into the atmosphere with each application. The chemical DEET, which is present in most bug repellents, is a strong eye irritant that the U.S. EPA regards as “slightly toxic” to fish, birds, and aquatic invertebrates. So before you grab the store bought stuff of the shelf why not try to make your own natural and organic bug spray for you and your family?
This DIY recipe will produce a spray that is chemical free and much better for the environment as well as for your health. You will need natural witch hazel, distilled water, your choice of essential oils, as well as a glass spray bottle to eliminate the potential for leeching. There are several essential oils that are able to repel insects naturally, such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus, cedar, and mint and you can choose the oils that you would prefer. If you have your own home grown herb garden, plants such as mint and basil can work to repel bugs simply by rubbing them directly onto your skin! For more information on how to get started with growing your own herb garden check out our previous post.
For our DIY Bug Spray we chose to use Citronella, Lemongrass and Tea Tree. First take your glass spray bottle and fill it half full of distilled water. You then fill the bottle to the ¾ marker with the Witch Hazel. You then add your desired amount and combination of essential oils. In our batch of repellent we used various amounts of each oil totaling 50 drops, (20 drops of tea tree, 20 drops of citronella, and 10 drops of lemongrass). After dropping the oils into the mix you simply seal the bottle, shake and spray! It’s so simple and fairly inexpensive in comparison to the store brand bug spray and far better for you! Now you’re ready to #getoutside and visit our parks without fear of being bitten. Let us know in the comments how effective your DIY spray has been and what oils you chose, we’d love to hear from you.