I grew up in the Land Of 10,000 Lakes-Minnesota. Mosquitoes need a lot of standing water to breed in. For every lake in Minnesota, there has to be a dozen or so ponds and swamps within eye sight. This is where the pesky bugs get there start. We never used natural alternatives to ward off the bugs. We used the real stuff (DEET) because back in 60′s, there were no regulations other than don’t spray toxins on large crowds of people. I can remember helicopters flying over head every summer spraying the standing water for mosquitoes. I have a hunch what they sprayed in the swamps and ponds was far worse than DEET!
Mosquitoes and biting flies were everywhere. At night, I usually donned a hoodie, gloves, and long pants so I could stay outside and play. Mom used to fog us with Deep Woods Off to fend off the ‘skeeters. Deep Woods Off contains DEET.
DEET has been the best repellent on the planet for decades. Is there anything better than to repel insect? Yes, jump in a lake and hold your breath. The simple fact is that DEET works well in most conditions. However, most health advocates will tell you that if it’s not safe to drink, then you probably should not put it on your skin as our skin absorbs chemicals. When I use it, I put dabs here and there on my clothing.
Are There Really Natural Alternatives To Repel Mosquitoes?
My wife just made a batch of 4 Thieves Vinegar. This is home made bug stuff. This is me holding the jar. We will let is brew for 3 months before we put it to use in the Wallowa mountains of Northern Oregon It’s supposed to work wonders. I am wondering if it will work. Do a Google search and you will hear praises up and down about this stuff.
Vicks Vapor Rub
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for repelling mosquitoes. My wife grew up in the Philippines and her family used Vicks Vapor Rub to fend off insects.
What Is 4 Thieves Vinegar?
It’s a concoction of apple cider vinegar, rosemary, lavender, thyme, mint, and sage.
How To Make 4 Thieves Vinegar
The process is not hard. But you must be patient as it’s going to take about a month to get a strong batch of home made bug juice. Take 2 tbs each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint. Combine the mixed herbs and 2 quarts of raw organic apple cider vinegar in a sealed Mason or Ball glass jar. Allow this mixture to stand in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks. The longer the better. Shake daily. Strain out the used herbs, and retain the herbal liquid into seal bottles. Since I have not used it yet, I would suggest using a cotton ball and dip it into the jar and apply it your clothing. You could also use a small spray bottle.
I grew up in Minnesota where we often joked that the state bird was the mosquito. It’s no joke when you go outside in the evening to pick some fresh vegetable from the garden when you get attacked head-on by swarms of mosquitoes.
We used a lot of different types of mosquito repellents. Deep Woods Off was probably the number one selling brand because it contains DEET. There is a lot of controversy about the safety of DEET. I don’t claim to be an expert. Rather I am an informed consumer.
Do I still use DEET? I have to admit that when I go back packing in the high Sierra’s I still pack my secret stash for that “just in case” moment when the biting black flies, wood ticks, and mosquitoes are just too much for me. I apply it lightly to my clothing.
I like to live my life in moderation. Too much booze, too much wine etc is not good. A little bit of most things will not kill or reduce your life here on Earth.
If Any Of These Pests Are Troublesome To You, Then Try These Natural Alternatives
- Mosquitoes: Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus radiata, Lemongrass.
- Moths: Patchouli, Cedarwood, Hyssop, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint
- Horse-flies: Tansy
- Aphids: Mix 10 drops Spearmint and 15 drops Orange essential oil in 2 quarts salt water, shake well and spray on plants.
- Cockroaches: Peppermint
- Silverfish: Eucalyptus
- Ants: Draw a line of Peppermint or Spearmint essential oil across your kitchen counter or floor with a Q-tip and the ants won’t cross it. If you already have a line of ants invading your house, just draw a line of oil across them and they will turn back!
- Beetles: Peppermint, Thyme
- Caterpillars: Spearmint, Peppermint
- Chiggars: Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint
- Cutworms: Sage, Thyme
- Fleas: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint
- Gnats: Patchouli, Spearmint
- Spiders: Peppermint, Spearmint
- Ticks: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
- Weevils: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood
- Lice rose geranium
The Honest Truth About DEET
Deet was developed by the US Army back in the ’40′s and is included in more than 200 products, the EPA said. Over 30% of the U.S. population uses it each year. While we don’t see 30% of the population getting sick from using chemical insect repellent, it’s still best to minimize the use of any chemical insect repellent. There are precautions on the back of all insect repellents including natural ones. The EPA evaluated DEET in 1998 and decided “As long as consumers follow label directions and take proper precautions, insect repellents containing DEET do not present a health concern.”
Since I cannot stand mosquitoes in any shape and form, I avoid camping where I stand a high probability of being swarmed by the bugs. If I decide to stay and hunker down in where there are lots of bugs, I will first try a natural repellent such as 4 Thieves Vinegar. If that does not work, I will apply DEET to my clothing,