Natural Homemade Insect Repellent
Window-box herbs can brighten your day and keep pests away!
Grow Your Own Insect Repellent!
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Strewing herbs discourage all manner of vermin!
Insect repellents you can buy in the store today are, for the most part, highly poisonous to insects and to you! Additionally, they are very bad for the environment. The fact that the use of these strong products is a fairly new practice means that we really don't know yet what long term effects their use may have on the environment and on us. One thing is certain, it is not a good idea to rub poison all over your skin or to breathe it every day for several months out of the year. Luckily, there are quite a few old-fashioned, natural ways of repelling insects, so you don't have to spray poison all over yourself and your home to repel pests all summer!
The medieval precursor to carpet provided just such a benefit. In the olden days, folks tossed dried aromatic plants over the surface of the floor as padding, insulation, air-freshener, and a way of repelling insects and even rodents. These plants were called strewing herbs. They were usually very strongly scented to keep down offensive odors and to discourage insects like fleas. Some of the most aromatic herbs used were wormwood, basil, thyme, feverfew, tansy, lavender, sage, rosemary, and oregano. These are all good for keeping insects away. Oregano and sage will discourage small rodents like mice and rats.
Of course, today we would not throw cut herbs around on our floors; however, it is still possible to use aromatic herbs to keep unwanted pests out without creating a vacuuming nightmare. You can keep flies out by hanging strongly scented herbs to dry in your windows.
You can discourage ants by boiling walnut leaves for about half an hour and then spraying the resulting liquid liberally around your foundation and the baseboards of your house. (Be sure to cool it thoroughly before you begin handling it!) You can also place bunches of dried herbs and/or evergreen boughs underneath large pieces of furniture like sofas and beds to discourage pests.
Make up sachets of herbs to keep in drawers and under cushions. You can make sachets using specific herbs like lavender for sweet scent and relaxation inducing qualities or oregano and sage for rodent repelling qualities, or you could create a mixed-bag for general pest repelling. Just put the herbs in small pouches that you can buy by the package at dollar stores or tie them up in cloth bundles using fabric scraps. No matter how you create your sachets, be sure to add a teaspoon of iris root powder (orris powder) to the herbs to help the scents last longer. You can find this online or sometimes at your local health food store.
Sachets can also be used to keep your woolen and linen items safe from moths & earwigs. Create a few sachets of lavender to put between blankets and comforters when you store them for the summer. When you take them out to use in the fall, they will be free of moth-holes, smell lovely and the lavender scent will help you get a great night's sleep!
Sachets provide safe winter storage!
When you put your coats and sweaters away for the summer, be sure to layer them with aromatic sachets. In closets, hang sachets from the hangers and stash a few in coat and jacket pockets to keep out moths and earwigs.
Some store-bought products are natural!
In addition to your home-made concoctions, you can find many products containing citronella on the market. Some of the most useful are torches and candles that you can burn outdoors whenever you are having a barbecue or other get-together on a summer evening. Citronella is a natural insect repellent that smells good. You can use the oil alone or blended with other aromatic oils to use as a personal insect repellent. A few drops of lavender and citronella oil mixed with rubbing alcohol or water in a spray bottle make a handy repellent to carry when outdoors. Remember to shake before using since the natural oils will separate from the liquid.
Very strong chamomile tea is also a good insect repellent. You can brew up a good strong batch and keep it in a spray bottle to douse yourself with whenever you are outside.
Elder leaves provide another option for personal insect repellent. When you are out of doors, keep your pockets stuffed with elder leaves. Two or three times an hour, rub a handful of the leaves between your palms to release their highly scented oils. Rub the oil over your neck, face and other exposed skin to keep mosquitoes away. Remember that you will need to apply the elder oil frequently as it does not remain effective for more than half an hour.
Handle With Care!
Be advised that, even though chamomile tea is safe and desirable to drink, and elder berries and flowers are also safe, elder leaves are not. Keep elder leaf oil out of your mouth and eyes.
Copyright:SB:April 17, 2010
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