Taking Care of Pests Inside & Outside Your Home Naturally

Summer is here and that means the flies mosquitoes, ticks, bees/wasps & hornets are here too. Whether it is protecting our own bodies, our pets and our gardens & flowers too we want to keep the pests away!

We know that there are so many chemicals on the market that are approved by the FDA & EPA for our use, but we also know that in the past there are chemicals that were eventually banned because they were actually proven to cause health problems for us and wildlife.

2 such chemicals are Diazinon (Ortho & Spectricide) & the other is Dursban. These are chemicals my grandfathers sprayed and even let me hold the yard sprayer that hooked to the hose to help them. My parents used them too and I remember helping spray the garden with my mom.

Right now the FDA & EPA say DEET is okay for Americans to use. I researched DEET years ago and recently went back and looked online to see about current studies and what other countries are doing.

DEET is one of the most widely used ingredients in store-bought conventional bug sprays for personal use, which is designed to repel, rather than kill, insects. DEET was developed by the US Army in the 1940s and used through the 1950s for jungle warfare.

Although DEET is approved by the (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems.  Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.

DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. It is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.

I looked online at what is available in Europe and one of the newest arrivals on store shelves is picaridin (pih-care’-uh-din), a substance derived from pepper that is popular in Europe and Australia & is also great at repelling flies. Studies by its manufacturer suggest that picaridin lasts for two to eight hours and is just as effective as DEET, but is less oily and completely odorless & does not harm fishing & hunting gear and is preferred by the outdoorsman/woman. Independent studies by the EPA are underway.

I personally do not want to wait for the EPA & FDA to find the
next chemical that is actually dangerous for us.

I know some may say, well, I don’t use DEET products that often or spray Bug chemicals in my house or yard often, but we don’t know exactly what our bodies do with these chemicals and over time could this cause other health concerns. I don’t know. I do know that Dursban & Diazinon were considered safe for years and then now are not.

I also want to be a good steward of the earth the Lord has given us to take care of too. I don’t want to pollute the soil, water, wildlife when there are other options to solve my bug problems.

Just like finding the right shampoo that works for your hair, finding the natural solutions for bugs depending on where you live, the climate, & your body chemistry all plays into trying different kinds to see what is going to work best for you.

Have you ever purchased natural products only to find they are not effective and you feel like are just
wasting money trying to “be more healthy”?
I have done the same thing.
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

Here is how I explained what I have learned to a friend recently.  I love James Avery Jewelry but it isn’t cheap and is worth the wait to receive it as a gift for my birthday. There is a huge difference between the jewelry I get at James Avery & the Jewelry from Charming Charlies. I still have all my JA jewelry that Rhea has given me over the years. However,  I go through my CC jewelry quickly as it is not of the same quality even if both my JA & CC necklaces say, Sterling Silver.

Purity & quality matter when you are putting things on your skin, on your pets, or in your yard. Honestly, we want to repel bugs, right? It has to “work”.  Have you ever noticed that bugs & even mold do not bother with white bleached all purpose flour?  Have you? The over processing puts it in a state where bugs don’t even recognize it.

God created plants that naturally repel insects and gardeners love to plant these plants and flowers all around their vegetable & flower gardens. Marigolds, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Basil, Peppermint, Spearmint are examples.

So when choosing to make DIY Bug sprays for your plants, home, pets, and yourself, you need to make sure you are using a quality lavender essential oil. You need a lavender oil that has been purely distilled and bottled with quality control standards in place so that the bugs recognize it as offensive. Understand?

This is why sometimes you hear people say “well I have tried essential oils and they don’t work” or you buy one natural product after another with essential oils listed in the ingredients and you don’t get results.  You then feel as if you are wasting money, give up, and go back to chemicals.  

As with practically every household item, natural bug spray can be made inexpensively and naturally at home.

I have found that I have to play around with my combinations each summer. But I can tell you that if you stick with these oils and make several bottles to keep on hand around your home then you are in for a good summer!  Sometimes, and this is true with chemical products too, you have to be reapplied depending on where you live, or how much of a mosquito magnet you are.

Any combination of these essential oils will work in repelling those flying and crawling pests: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Geranium, Thyme, Clove, Lavender, Peppermint, & Spearmint, Patchouli, and Rosemary (Feel free to contact me and I’ll let you know where I purchase my oils)

The one insect repellent we do buy has only three ingredients. Sesame oil, essential oils, and vitamin E.

DIY INSECT REPELLENT RECIPE

Combine the following ingredients into a spray bottle:

  • 1/2 c Witch Hazel
  • ½ c Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 40+ drops of any essential oil combination

We use this same DIY spray on our dog. She was heartworm positive when we adopted her so she is on special meds for that which protect her, but she still doesn’t like all the bugs buzzing around her face. So the same spray for us works well for her. I make a similar spray that “defunks” the dog smell when needed too. Hazel is getting used to sprays! 😉

Ants hate peppermint so even making a mixture with peppermint and water on your door frames inside and out help keep them away. Around pet bowls.

I know we are supposed to “Be Nice to Spiders” as the 70s kid’s book is titled, but could they just stay outside, please?? Spiders have their taste buds on the tips of their legs. There are certain natural oils they hate, including citrus, lavender, peppermint, citronella, cinnamon, tea tree, and cloves

Got a fire ant bed problem? I take my bucket from mopping the floor which has my natural cleaner in it and pour it on the ant bed and then they die and the grass is protected.

Tomato plants & gardens in general. Slugs, snails, moths, aphids, caterpillars and all the worms that eat your plants and roots can be controlled with these same sprays. Certain insects repel better with others. So when we were gardening for years and years, we always just mixed up a spray with the oils we needed and started spraying the plants and soil surrounding. You can even have the kids spray too as it’s completely safe!

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