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Bug Spray for Personal Use - I can't take the mosquitos ANYMORE !!

 
pollinator
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Would love to hear other recipes for homemade bug spray.   I've been using one that works okay but I have to make sure to cover every square inch, including the edges of my socks and shirt.   And it only lasts until I've sweat for half an hour.  I wonder if a carrier oil to make a lotion would be better than liquid witch hazel, and perhaps a stronger herbal essential oil for the repellant?

  3 Tbsp white vinegar
  2 Tbsp witch hazel
  1/4 tsp epsom salts
  50-70 drops essential oils   (I've combined cedarwood, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint   at different times)

Multiply the volume to fill my small spray bottle.    Spray on very heavy and then slather into every nook and cranny with my hand.

 
gardener
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I use cloves: I soak a good double handful of whole cloves in a liter of alcohol (in my case it's sugarcane ethanol, usually either 46 or 54%, but isopropyl should do).
Let that all sit in the dark for a week or two.
strain out the cloves and discard (leave in the sun to let the alcohol evaporate and i compost the cloves). Add a tablespoon of mineral, olive, or whatever oil you would like to have on your skin if you're applying it to little kids or sensitive skin (I never do, but the official recipe mentions this). Put it in a sprayer, and spray on. Avoid eyes.

I use this in the garden against sandflies, mosquitoes, and horseflies. It gives me a good hour or two of protection. Visitors to my house (or to places where I bring it) who are pregnant or have little kids are usually thrilled to have something to use.


(I imagine you could use essential clove oil, but where I live EOs are super expensive and it's easy and cheap enough to make myself)
 
gardener
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You can make a tincture of Beauty bush leaves (1 cup of fresh leaves in jar, cover with ever clear and steep for 1 week shaking twice a day).
Then add that to mineral oil and put in a spray bottle. If you are outdoors sweating, it will last around 2 hours then just reapply.
You don't have to hit every square inch of your body with this stuff.
Native Americans used to just crush the leaves and rub them on exposed flesh.
 
gardener
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I have a lemon eucalyptus cream that works for light mosquito pressure. We also make little tinctures of various essential oils — eucalyptus, grapefruit, and citronella most often.

And of course witch hazel for when this fails. Nothing better to soothe an itch!
 
pollinator
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Don't forget to go after the mosquito breeding grounds too. By reducing their numbers, life will be more bearable. Around my farm I actually great little breeding areas for the mosquitoes, then empty and refill them twice a week. Bigger ones I stock with a few guppies, who eat the young larvae. It makes a huge difference in the pis quite population.
 
pollinator
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Su Ba wrote:Don't forget to go after the mosquito breeding grounds too. By reducing their numbers, life will be more bearable. Around my farm I actually great little breeding areas for the mosquitoes, then empty and refill them twice a week. Bigger ones I stock with a few guppies, who eat the young larvae. It makes a huge difference in the pis quite population.



That's one of the best solutions, hopefully there aren't too many breeding sites you can't access nearby. We got some citronella plants, we keep them where we sit outside and rub the leaves on our skin.
 
Tereza Okava
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I also read in a James Duke text somewhere that mountain mint was a great simple repellant (just rub leaves it on skin as Dr Redhawk mentions above with beauty bush). I actually got my hands on seeds for some but was never able to start it (starting mint, ugh) but if you can get hold of some.....
 
gardener
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Not a spray, but my recipe for a bar that repels ticks, fleas, mosquitos, and optionally, uv rays. Make it for yourself, family & friends, if you like, but please don't make it to sell. It won't spill, is easy to apply, is TSA friendly, and keeps me safe from bites on the beach, in the woods, and even in Central America, as well as preventing me from sunburn. I burn very easily, and the biters have always flocked to me - but not when I use this.

2.5oz(weight)beeswax
2oz(weight) cocoa butter
1oz (weight) jojoba oil or butter
.5oz(weight)@ evening primrose & frankincense oils (Not the essential oils)
3ml@ lemongrass, geranium, & lavender essential oils
10drops sweet orange e.o.
1T non-nano zinc oxide (opt)

Melt the beeswax & cocoa butter, together. I do it in a makeshift double boiler (aka, a bowl on top of a pan with simmering water). Separately, combine the evening promise, frankincense oil, & essential oils, and set aside. Add the jojoba to the wax, and remove from heat. Stir in the non-nano zinc oxide, if you want it to work as a sunblock, too - stir until the zinc is evenly distributed. Keep stirring, until the temp comes down enough not to burn your inner wrist, then add the essential oils. It's important not to add them before the wax cools down, because the heat will destroy their effectiveness - but, if you wait too long, it is harder to incorporate them well. Pour into molds (a cupcake tin works beautifully), cool to room temperature, then put in the freezer until solid & the edges easily pop away from the pan. Alternatively, this could be poured into deodorant type applicators (much better option, imho), for easier storage & carrying.

To use, swipe it on skin (this formula is very friendly, even to my allergic-to-everything face), and massage it in. If using the zinc, it will go on very white, until it is very well massaged in.

Store in bags, unless using the deodorant container/ applicators. If you go somewhere very hot, it's best to keep them in a cooler, or in the shade, to keep the essential oils from losing their potency.

 
Susan Pruitt
pollinator
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Su Ba wrote:Don't forget to go after the mosquito breeding grounds too. By reducing their numbers, life will be more bearable. Around my farm I actually great little breeding areas for the mosquitoes, then empty and refill them twice a week. Bigger ones I stock with a few guppies, who eat the young larvae. It makes a huge difference in the pis quite population.



I've done the usual things like keeping the property free of standing water,  but the more I "naturalize" the entire property (2/3 acre) the more mosquitos I have.   They seem to love the carpet of wild violets under the shade trees,  periwinkle around the house,  the dense hedge of mixed shrubs next to the driveway, and my version of a  "zone5" all around the yard which is basically 6 feet of "wilderness" for the chickens around the perimeter privacy fence.....    
It's becoming a virtual jungle around here.

I've read about ponds being helpful but how far reaching is the effect?    I've hesitated to do that because it's another huge project on my list that's already 10 years long, haha!  But if it helps reduce the skeeters in a 150 foot radius I'll do it!  

Meanwhile Su,   I like your "trap" idea.  I have 13 chickens roaming around - maybe they would help eat the larva, and I wouldn't mind refilling twice a week.
 
Susan Pruitt
pollinator
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Thanks so much everyone for great repellant ideas - I'll try them all!
 
Susan Pruitt
pollinator
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Dr. Redhawk I've thought about planting some Beauty Berries in the one spot I have left in the yard but it's on the list for next year.   I'm going to have to quit asking questions on here because it always costs me money :)   Anyhoo,  when I google it I see different varieties and I want to be sure I get what you're recommending.  

Is it the Callicarpa Americana?     https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=caam2  
It really is beautiful and another source of berries for my hens.  Thanks!
 
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Susan Pruitt wrote: Dr. Redhawk I've thought about planting some Beauty Berries in the one spot I have left in the yard but it's on the list for next year.   I'm going to have to quit asking questions on here because it always costs me money :)   Anyhoo,  when I google it I see different varieties and I want to be sure I get what you're recommending.   Is it the Callicarpa Americana? It really is beautiful and another source of berries for my hens.  Thanks!



There is also beauty bush, Linnaea amabilis. Dr. Redhawk, which one did you mean?
 
pollinator
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Wow! So many great suggestions! I am looking forward to trying many of these out.

Don't forget to hang up some bat houses to encourage bats to hang around your property and eat all those pesky mosquitoes!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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[quote=Susan Pruitt]Dr. Redhawk I've thought about planting some Beauty Berries in the one spot I have left in the yard but it's on the list for next year.   I'm going to have to quit asking questions on here because it always costs me money :)   Anyhoo,  when I google it I see different varieties and I want to be sure I get what you're recommending.  

Is it the Callicarpa Americana?     https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=caam2  
It really is beautiful and another source of berries for my hens.  Thanks![/quote]

That is the best one, all of the Callicarpa work but Americana is the most potent (I have something like ten plants of this one)
It is most commonly called the Beauty Berry Bush, I suppose so it isn't confused with the Chinese Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) which has beautiful pink/purple flowers and the fruits are all along the stems instead of in clusters.
The leaves, berries and stems are eaten by several animals (including deer) and can be used by cattle, chickens, ducks and goats on the homestead.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Adrienne Halbrook wrote:Wow! So many great suggestions! I am looking forward to trying many of these out.

Don't forget to hang up some bat houses to encourage bats to hang around your property and eat all those pesky mosquitoes!



The Bat Conservatory people told me that bats actually don't eat that many mosquitoes, preferring larger prey like moths. I was very disappointed to hear that, but dragon flies will eat lots of mosquitoes.
Currently I have a bat tree and every year I try to hang up at least two new houses. (I have always loved bats)
 
Adrienne Halbrook
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Adrienne Halbrook wrote:Wow! So many great suggestions! I am looking forward to trying many of these out.

Don't forget to hang up some bat houses to encourage bats to hang around your property and eat all those pesky mosquitoes!



The Bat Conservatory people told me that bats actually don't eat that many mosquitoes, preferring larger prey like moths. I was very disappointed to hear that, but dragon flies will eat lots of mosquitoes.
Currently I have a bat tree and every year I try to hang up at least two new houses. (I have always loved bats)



Really?! Well darn. Oh well. I love bats too.  I get some dragon flies here so maybe I can make them some more habitat to encourage them to hang around and bring their buddies.
 
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Dr RedHawk, could you tell me the scientific name of the beauty bush?  I'm not familiar with this plant, and I'm looking for alternative repellents.  I want to make sure I'm not confusing it with something with the same common name.

There is permethrin-treated clothing becoming more and more popular, it only this year became legal in the Canadian marketplace, but it kills indiscriminately and is an aquatic toxin so I won't buy it.  I have tried so-called mosquito proof clothing and have had some success not getting eaten alive with this tight cotton weave. I have tried lavender, oil and alcohol in a spray bottle as well.
 
master pollinator
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Norma Guy wrote:Dr RedHawk, could you tell me the scientific name of the beauty bush?  I'm not familiar with this plant, and I'm looking for alternative repellents.  I want to make sure I'm not confusing it with something with the same common name.

There is permethrin-treated clothing becoming more and more popular, it only this year became legal in the Canadian marketplace, but it kills indiscriminately and is an aquatic toxin so I won't buy it.  I have tried so-called mosquito proof clothing and have had some success not getting eaten alive with this tight cotton weave. I have tried lavender, oil and alcohol in a spray bottle as well.



It's three posts up from yours with a link to it  :)  Callicarpa Americana
 
Norma Guy
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Thank you, I guess I only read up to that post and got over excited XD
 
pollinator
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I've had some success against mosquitos by spraying my yard (lawn/bushes/etc.) with a mixture of dried hot peppers/garlic/dish soap/veg oil/ water, I let it steep for a few days in a sprayer, and then coat everything. (Handful of dried peppers, head of garlic squished, squirt of Dawn, abt 1/4 cup of veg oil and 1 gallon of water) Here in S-Central PA we have honor of having not just regular mosquitos but also a new variety from Asia that hunts day and night.
 
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I've used a homemade catnip based spray for years now. When I have lots of time I'll make a tincture with catnip, then measure out an amount and add some water and catnip essential oil. If I have less time, I make a spray using only catnip essential oil in either rubbing alcohol or vodka (whatever is on hand) and a bit of water. You do have to reapply every hour or so, but it beats dousing in DEET.

Young children and pregnant women are not supposed to use catnip essential oil products.

Here's an older study, ScienceDaily.com. Newer studies seem to be discrediting pretty much everything but DEET, but those studies also seem to be focusing on results for yellow fever mosquito. Which I don't think has made it's way to my part of Canada as of yet.
 
Viola Bluez
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OH! And best side benefit? It repels ankle biter flies too!
 
steward
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Another not a spray:  we have picked bunches of lemon balm and simply rubbed the fresh leaves on exposed skin. Great citronella scent and the crushed green leaves have a slightly cooling effect.

When we took the family camping, we used to pack fresh picked bunches in our cooler to use out in the woods. I'd say it works for mild to medium mosquito pressure for a maybe a couple hours (?).

 
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