Summer is on its way so, just like us, you’re probably on the market for the best bug repellent right about now. While it is without a doubt a wonderful season which allows us to do many fun activities, summer is also the favorite of all bugs and you can be sure you won’t be the only one exploring the heated outdoors.
If you’re tired of being bitten by mosquitoes all the time or having to clear your garden of different kinds of pests, it is only natural that you would look for a way out of this. Most people avoid using DEET-based products so natural repellents are very sought-after this time of the year. Let’s take a look at how helpful eucalyptus can be in your yearly fight against bugs.
Why use a natural repellent?
Even though all gardens have pests, many gardeners are seriously worried about using chemical pesticides to get rid of them, especially when they are near living spaces, children, or pets. While there are a few alternatives, eucalyptus oil has risen to the top of that list due to its properties and effectiveness.
It is fairly simple to use, extremely safe for those around you and is commonly found in health food stores along with other essential oils. You also have a good chance of finding some in places where aromatherapy supplies are sold.
DEET products have been shown to have the potential to cause health problems to their users and even for the environment surrounding them. Unless you’re visiting or living in places that, for instance, have a high risk for mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, you are probably better off using a natural repellent.
However, keep in mind that DEET products are strongly recommended for people who are at risk of bug bites capable of carrying any kind of disease. Even though they are just insects, their bite can have serious consequences and your best bet is to prevent it from happening altogether.
Most bugs will avoid strong, sharp smells because they identify them as potential hazards which are best left unexplored. Due to this, eucalyptus if your perfect weapon of choice because not only does it have a strong aroma but it has also been shown to be very effective.
In most areas of the country, eucalyptus is an unfamiliar smell so not only will bugs feel a strong smell, but it will also be one that is foreign to them, so the threat will basically double in size. They will perceive it as a possibly hazardous situation and usually steer clear of it.
You can make a repellent spray with only 1/4 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil added to one cup of water. For best results, make sure to use a spray bottle so you can apply it as you see fit. Shake well to mix and use it on any surface where bug invaders have been spotted. This can also include plants and other areas of your garden.
Remember that the oil will separate from water so that is why you need to shake it before each application. If you want to make this a long-term treatment, you can reapply the spray every three days. Another advantage of this mix is that it can also be used as an active repellent on people and pets.
A well-known repellent
Commonly used since the 1940s, lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the more popular natural repellents today. It has been approved as an effective ingredient for repelling mosquitoes by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
A new study has shown that a mixture which consists of at least 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil will provide more than 95 percent protection against mosquitoes for a duration of at least three hours.
You can even create your own mixture with something along the lines of 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10 parts witch hazel or sunflower oil. However, if you choose to do this, be mindful of using it on children under 3 years of age as it may have adverse effects.
Eucalyptus is also found in popular recipes for repelling flies, wasps, and hornets. Mixing 8 drops of eucalyptus oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other of your choice is a very nice way of keeping the insects at bay. Simply rub the lotion on your body and go about your day problem-free.
A fair warning here should be given against the usage of orange essential oils, especially against wasps. Since they are attracted to sweet smells, you may find yourself their favorite target on that sunny Sunday afternoon.
Eucalyptus oil can also serve other, deadlier needs, should you require those kinds of services. Scale insects such as mites or whiteflies are killed on contact so you can use this to your advantage. Combine 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil with half a teaspoon of liquid hand dish detergent. To this mix, add 2 cups of water and shake well in a spray bottle.
Apply this to your beloved plants and watch the threat melt away. Just like before, you can repeat this process every three days until the invaders are gone for good.
A layer of mulch in the garden can work wonders for improving the quality of the soil and controlling weed growth. Chipped or shredded eucalyptus wood or bark has also come to be known as an effective insect repellent since eucalyptus mulch naturally contains the same type of oil.
As the mulch is stepped on or slowly breaks into the soil, it will release all the oil from the inside of the wood. This slow type of release can kill or repel insects and bugs for weeks at a time. If you can’t find any eucalyptus mulch, simply spray the oil onto some pine mulch and give it some time to soak in. It won’t last as long as regular eucalyptus mulch, but still longer than any spray.
While natural remedies have been made popular due to the belief they are always safe for pets and people, one should still exercise caution when using them. For instance, eucalyptus oil is used in commercial medicines, but direct contact with its undiluted form will likely cause skin irritation.
If it’s directly ingested in high doses, the oil can even be toxic so you should really be careful when and how you spray it to prevent children or pets from ingesting the oil or even the homemade spray. Never forget that eucalyptus oil is highly flammable so don’t use it near heat sources or open flames.
Take care of your pets
While fairly good in taking care of your bug problem, eucalyptus still contains compounds that are poisonous to most animals. However, this is the raw form we are talking about as sprays will not contain enough to bother your pets.
The most you may notice is animals such as rabbits or even deer being repulsed by the sharp smell of eucalyptus and avoiding it for a few days. However, sooner or later they will adjust to it and go back to grazing in your garden.