Shun Chemicals for Natural Ways to Thwart and Care for Bug Bites
Posted Dec 01 2009 10:00pm
Spending time outdoors is irresistible in the late spring through early autumn months. Whether it is playing in the park, camping or taking a stroll, the fresh air and sunshine are good for you. What is not so good is having to spray or lather on insect repellant so you do not provide the biting flies and mosquitoes flash buffet.
These chemical-laden bug repellants are not good for the body because they can absorb through the skin into the blood stream. The residue absorbed is considered a free radical which can damage your body cells. Instead, you should find natural ways to stop bug bites as well as care for them in case a few critters end up taking a nibble.
Clean the Environment around your Home
Mosquitoes love standing water as it’s the perfect breeding ground to lay their eggs. Drain any containers that collect rain water. Clean birdbaths, empty flower pots, gutters and dog dishes. If you have a pond or pool, install an aerator to oxygenate the water and keep it moving. Mosquito and other bug eggs have little chance to hatch in constantly moving water.
You can also cultivate different plants around the home that are natural insect repellants. Citronella grass not only can act as a natural barrier from one yard to the next (it can grow up to six feet tall), but it can also repel bugs thanks to the oils in the leaves. Catnip, lemon balm, rosemary, ageratum and marigolds also have the power to repel mosquitoes and other insects. Lemon balm and catnip are almost ten times as strong as DEET, a common chemical in effective retail insect repellants. Just crush the leaves of these herbs and rub them on your skin.
Change What You Wear
Mosquitoes and other biting bugs are attracted to dark colors so be sure you wear light colored clothing. In addition, bypass floral patterns and bright colors as these can attract stinging wasps and bees. If you are hiking or camping in the woods, tuck your pants into your socks and wear boots if possible to avoid picking up ticks.
Create your own Natural Insect Repellant
You can mix your own insect repellant from herbal essential oils. In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, mix a cup of grain alcohol, 190 proof, with your choice of two teaspoons of essential oils that are known to naturally repel insects. Popular essential oils to consider include citronella, basil, rosemary, juniper, lemon balm, rose geranium, cedarwood or even myrrh. Shake this natural repellant mixture energetically to blend together and then transfer to a regular bottle or spray bottle.
Garlic is another natural insect repellant and while you would smell like an Italian restaurant, you can rub raw garlic cloves on your skin. Garlic juice diluted with distilled water can be transferred to a spray bottle for an easy spray application for exposed skin as well.
Treatment of Insect Bites
Lavender oil is an effective treatment for insect bites as it not only soothes and moisturizes the affected area, it also will kill any germs present that could make the bug bite become infected. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that do not need to be diluted in a carrier oil.
Rubbing the gooey inside of an aloe vera plant on your bug bites can alleviate the stinging sensation as well as facilitate healing. Save a few banana peels and put them in the freezer. When you get an insect bite, cut off a small piece of the banana peel and rub the inside of the peel on the affected area.
You do not have to rely on retail chemical-based insect repellants to effectively fend off insects or treat their bites. Natural herbs and other plants are often more powerful than the traditional chemical alternatives.