So I know this has been a long time coming, but I really wanted to test it out. This recipe combines a lot of tried and true ingredients for homemade bug sprays. Although this recipe mostly targets mosquitos and certain flies, apparently it offers moderate protection from ticks as well – although I really have no sound way of proving this at all, as I have not knowingly exposed myself to any.
I know that when I am out in my garden or sitting on my patio, the mosquitoes leave me quite alone when I am wearing this! But I imagine that if you are in a crazily mosquito infested deep woods scenario, it might not be foolproof. So keep this in mind. I urge you to try it out for yourself in a situation of lighter exposure, and then move towards more intense situations gradually. Also be aware that all bodies are different, and certain people tend to attract mosquitoes and bugs more than others, be it due to amount of CO2 they are releasing, or something about their blood composition – although this seems to be a relative mystery, it does seem to be a reality.
I’ll start with my recipe, and then offer a few other suggestions to naturally keep mosquitoes and bugs away from your campsite or backyard. This is a ‘combine and go’ bug spray, so it is an easy one if you have all the ingredients on hand:
In a bowl or large pyrex pourable measuring cup, combine:
1/4 cup whole leaf aloe vera juice
1/4 cup diluted, alcohol free witch hazel formula (like THIS one)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cups filtered or distilled water
30 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil
Stir well, and pour through a funnel into a spray mister bottle. Shake to mix further. Spray on all parts of your body, and if in tougher conditions, even on your clothes and hair. The mosquitoes will sometimes bite you right through your jeans if you omit these areas! It should not stain most clothing, especially if you are only applying a light mist.
And there you go! I recommend keeping this product refrigerated if you are storing it for long periods (to prolong shelf life), but it should be fine in your backpack or camping kit over the weekend or whatnot.
Some other tricks to keep the bugs away:
Burn citronella candles. These are great for keeping the mosquitoes away from a contained, small area, like around your campsite or back patio. I do not recommend burning these in a more enclosed space, as they are usually made of parrafin, which can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities for prolonged periods. If you can find a non-parrafin citronella candle, like one made with beeswax, even better – and let me know if you find one!
Stay away from standing water, and remove any from your backyard. Things like bird baths and backyard ponds are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and should be avoided, unfortunately, if you want to banish the bugs. And if you are camping, obviously try and stay away from any boggy or marshy areas.
In an area a little ways (at least 10 metres) from where you are camping / hanging out, put a bowl of baking soda out, and combine it with vinegar. This lets off a bunch of CO2 for a short period, and fools the mosquitoes into thinking someone is exhaling over there. Keeps them distracted and confused for maybe fifteen minutes or so. If you want to prolong the reaction, keep a bunch of small bowls of baking soda out, and then add some vinegar to one every fifteen minutes or so. This is time consuming, but helpful if you are desperate!
Let me know how this bug spray works for you, I would love to hear your feedback on how it works in more intense situations, in different climates, and for different bodies!