Summer is bug season. They LOVE ME. It doesn’t matter if I use natural repellent or DEET repellent, I can’t go one summer with at least 10 to 20 bites. During a family vacation to Antigua, I was attacked by the sand flies. My legs and arms were on fire because of the bites. I could only spend an hour or two in the sun before the pain became unbearable. It took a week of anti-itch cream, tea tree oil, and ice packs to get rid of the pain and the bites. When I got home I was on the hunt to find an effective bug repellent that was both zero waste and natural!
Last summer, thanks to this bug repellent recipe, I only got a handful of bug bites! I don’t think that there is bug repellent recipe or product that will stop the bites entirely. This is major success in my book and I will never use any other recipe. I will be sharing the recipe below and then some information on the dangers of DEET on our health and the environment. Please comment below if you try this recipe!
(PS: Deet is still a little bit more effective than the natural alternatives. That being said, mosquito bites can cause severe illness and health related issues as well. If I was in an area that was populated with malaria and other deadly diseases, I would use a Deet repellent.)
Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s the strong oder that actually repels the mosquitos. It has been said that if you drink enough apple cider vinegar, you will develop a strong oder that will also repel the mosquitos.
Essential Oils: I use Young Living essential oils that have been proven to repel mosquitos. One of my favorites is R.C because it contains lemon grass and citronella. I also add tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella oil.
Fill up the bottle half way with apple cider vinegar. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with warm water. Put 3-5 drops of Young Living's R.C oil (or something applicable), Lavender, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. Shake the bottle and start using it.
I put mine in a roller ball bottle so I can carry it in my purse, pocket, or keep it in the car.
The Dangers of Deet!
Despite what many people think- mosquitos are actually super important to our eco-system. Did you know that it is only the female mosquitos that actually bite humans. The male mosquitos don’t have the ability to bite. That being said, they also carry a ton of deadly diseases that aren’t so pleasant. The majority of bug repellents have an ingredient called DEET in it. DEET is a chemical that has been known to help repel the mosquitos away. However, DEET has been proven to come along with some severe health and environmental risks as well.
According to a few sources, Deet can be extremely toxic to various animals including fish, birds, and other sea life. Unfortunately- it is still inconclusive if it is also harmful to the plants and life under water and on land. Back in a 1991 study, scientists found high levels of Deet in the Mississippi River. This resulted in a ton of the sea life and insets dying. Deet also has the ability to break down like mist and vapor in the air. Allowing humans, plants, and other animals to inhale it.
According to a few sources, deet has been linked to kidney and liver damage, birth and development defects, and neurotoxicity. The following health risks haven’t been proven yet- but it has been said that deet can lead to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive effects. It is for these reasons- along with that many of the mosquitos in my local area don’t carry a ton of deadly diseases- that I have decided to switch to a more natural alternative to help my personal health along with the environment!