How to make your own chemical-free bug spray.
I am not a huge fan of chemicals. I don’t care if it is food that goes in my body, products that go on my body or things in my environment. Whenever possible, I do my very best to avoid them and find alternative methods to do the things I need to do.
(See my article about natural ways to control garden insects.)
In 2016, I contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick bite. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a serious illness that if not treated right away, becomes deadly in a very short time.
Things like Lyme’s Disease get much more attention in the media and such, but while yes, LD is a serious illness, RMSF is worse. I am not a doctor, and can not give medical advice, but can certainly speak from my own experience. Please do your homework and educate yourself about this illness.
A common misunderstanding is that because of the name, people often think it is an illness that is only found in the Rocky Mountain regions. But the reality is that the Rocky Mountains is where it was discovered and given its name. But RMSF is located in the entire continental United States. I contracted it in northern Alabama. You also don’t need to be in the woods to run the risk of this illness. I got it from a tick in my mowed yard.
The first symptoms of RMSF include:
- Fever & chills
- Muscle aches
The rash of red spots usually starts after the other symptoms develop. If you suspect there is even a chance you could have RMSF, go to the doctor. Don’t play around. I loathe going to the doctor’s office and always look up natural and herbal remedies first. But when all of the natural/herbal/homeopathic sources you look at say, “Go to the doctor!” – you do.
Even after getting put on the strong antibiotics used to treat RMSF, I got worse before I got better and it took a long time for my body to recover. I was in terrible pain and had no energy at all to do anything for about 2 weeks.
After that, it probably took 2 months before I was back to really feeling myself again. Many people do recover completely, and for the most part I did. But I do have one lingering issue. I now have occasional bouts of arthritis in my hands, and when it is really bad, even in my feet.
Since going paleo, those bouts of arthritis have almost completely disappeared, and when I do have them, they are much milder than they were before. I don’t take pain killers, but I do take a turmeric blend that seems to work wonders for it and ends the flair-ups quickly.
I say all of this to help bring awareness to the illness, and to demonstrate why I am now even more careful about ticks. I don’t play with those nasty little things, but I still don’t want to slather myself with DEET.
So here is what I do: I use a simple, natural oil blend that includes things like eucalyptus, cedar wood and other wonderful essential oils that help repel nasty biting insects. I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors and this has become my “go-to” for keeping myself bite-free.
The oil blend I use is called TerraShield from dōTERRA. You can purchase it in pre-made spray bottles, or you can get the blend of oils itself. I purchase the oil blend and simply make my own spray with it.
Here’s what you need:
- dōTERRA’s TerraShield essential oil blend
- 1/4 c water
- 1 tablespoon of witch hazel
- a small spray bottle
Put the water and witch hazel into the spray bottle. Add 25-30 drops of the oil blend. Close the bottle and shake well. Mist on your body and clothes. This spray is safe to put directly on your skin, unlike many of the store bought insect repellents. Have you ever read the instructions on those bottles? Sometimes there’s even types of fabric clothing you can’t put it on!
Other uses for the TerraShield essential oil blend:
- Put it in a diffuser on your patio to keep the bugs away while you have a cookout.
- Spray it around your doors and windows to help keep bugs out of your house! This is very handy when you have a farm. Farms are bug magnets.
Want another option? I also use this this store-bought spray. It is another great poison-free repellant.