Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keeping Mosquitoes & Other Insects Off You & Your Pets

It is summertime in the northern hemisphere! And that means mosquitoes are going to be on the rampage. Did you know there are more than 170 species of mosquitoes? Yikes! It’s the female mosquito we have to worry about. Male adult mosquitoes feed mostly on flower nectar and do not bite humans. However, female mosquitoes require high-protein blood meals to produce eggs, feeding every 3 to 4 days. Some will feed on animals but many species prefer humans!

Since many people will be outside with their pets more when the weather is nice, there is always the dilemma of how to keep mosquitoes and other insects from ruining the time you, your family, friends, and pets spend outside. Here are some bug repellents that are all natural and easy to make for humans and pets:

Natural Bug Repellent Recipe for Humans
2 cups witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemon grass essential oil

Instructions: Mix in a spray bottle and shake well before use. Be sure to always shake well before using. Just spray on any areas of exposed skin. (Some people say that using just lemon grass oil by itself is enough to keep biting bugs away if you wish to try just that one ingredient.)

Natural Bug Repellent for Pets and Humans
1 BIG lemon with a thick rind
1 tablespoon of crushed rosemary leaves
1 quart of boiling water
1 large spray bottle

Directions: Slice your lemon paper thin and place the slices in a bowl. Add the crushed rosemary leaves to the lemon slices. Pour the boiling water over the lemon and rosemary and give a light stir. Let this mixture steep overnight (steep means to let the ingredients sit together in hot or warm water). Strain the liquid out from the lemon rinds and rosemary leaves, and put the liquid into a large spray bottle and keep in the refrigerator. Shake well to mix ingredients before applying to skin of people or pets.

This mix should be used twice a week to keep fleas and other insects away. In heavy flea areas or when you are planning on having your pet outdoors, spray their feet and stomach areas to keep pests from jumping up on them.

Another Idea: Another natural solution is tea tree oil. This works well as an insect repellent for people, as well as pets, so that makes it even more useful. Spraying a repellent onto our skin or pets is one good way to apply a repellent. But, since this is an oil, it could leave an oily spot on clothing. However, you can spray it onto your skin and hair in diluted form. Tea Tree oil is also one of only a few essential oils that you can place undiluted on your skin if you choose to, and that technique is called "neat." This oil is reported to repel mosquitoes, lice, ants, and many other types of biting insects. It also is said to be able to soothe insect bites and stings and some have said it helps in removing ticks. Here is a recipe:

Tea Tree Oil Insect Repellent
1 large misting spray bottle
2 oz of organic tea tree oil

Directions: Pour the 2 ounces of organic tea tree oil into the spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray the solution in a mist onto the skin and rub in gently. Reapply as needed.

**Don't despair if you really don't have time to make one of these solutions! There is a great item available for sale called "Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Insect Repellent Spray for Pets". And, it can also be used on people! Here's the link to find out more about this:

So, fellow animal lovers and crafters, there are many natural ways to keep pesky bugs off you and your pets while outdoors any time of the year where this is an issue in your area. I have had these tips in my files for a long time but these and similar recipes and other ideas can be found with a little research online as well.

Happy summer, everyone! And please remember, NEVER EVER leave a pet in a closed vehicle no matter how short the amount of time you think you will be away.

---Submitted by Debra of Sleepy Cat Designs; Debra is a life-long animal lover and seamstress/crafter who loves to find ways to make life easier and safer without spending gobs of money!


El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

Thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes. I've been getting so many mosquito bites lately - all on my feet and arms. I'll have to try some of these.

Debra at Sleepy Cat Designs said...

My pleasure...might be helpful to try if anyone gets bit a lot. The ones for pets help repel fleas, too, which are a huge problem in some areas.

3 Peeps Designs said...

I will definitely have to try these recipes out... since moving to the country bugs have been a constant problem outside. One of my dogs, Charlie, and my husband seem to be tick magnets and my daughter is a mosquito magnet. I find myself getting frustrated because the Frontline doesn't help my dog very much (I wonder if its because he doesn't have a lot of hair like my other dog, Apple - she never gets ticks) and the commercial bug sprays aren't very good for the humans. Thanks!

3 Peeps Designs said...

One side note, please be careful what essential oils you use around cats as they are so much more sensitive than dogs. Here is a website with more information;

OBXPuparazzi said...

Thank you for these! I am always hesitant to use chemicals on myself or the dogs - who knows what bad news will come of them in the future?

Pam said...

Wonderful information. Thank you for the all natural recipes. Excited to try them. Eddie will appreciate it, and my husband, too, because mosquitoes love him. Must be because they are ladies!!

Debra - Sew Bizzy Gifts said...

Glad to be of service. Hope these natural sprays will be useful to some if not all who try them. You can do additional research on the web too, if you have any concerns or questions. The info I found came from reliable sources and appeared well tested, but it never hurts to verify. And while not everything works for every person or pet, hopefully many will get some help with such homemade products that have no chemicals.

Creative Critters said...

What a timely and informative article! Thank you so much for these tips and recipes- mosquitoes see me and see an all you can buffet! And it's nice to know there are natural alternatives that will work for our pets as well.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Anonymous said...

Yes, I also got this article in a news letter email from one of my many favorite pet sites.
There are great articles out there from these resources.