It is an undeniable fact that bugs serve a useful purpose in the world, but it is also undeniable that, when there’s too many of them, they get extremely annoying. Not only that, but bugs can also transmit some serious diseases, including West Nile virus and Zika fever, as well as over one hundred pathogens that may lead to cholera, tuberculosis, and dysentery.
One of the most common items we use to repel bugs are chemical sprays, which not only smell terrible, but they can also be harmful to us. One chemical that is commonly found in bug sprays is DEET, a chemical developed by the US Army for repelling fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and flies. This chemical has been around since the World War 2, and there are serious concerns regarding its use.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of DEET during the late ‘90s, but a study conducted in 2009 showed that the chemical negatively effects our nervous system. The study was published in BMC Biology journal, and it concluded that DEET blocks the enzyme cholinesterase, which is essential for transmitting data from the brain to the muscles in insects. It was noted that the chemical may affect mammals’ nervous system in the same manner.
The effects DEET causes include increased salivation, spasms, and even death. It has also been linked with diminished brain cell function, seizures, tremors, and many more serious conditions. In order to avoid using store-bought bug sprays, and keep your environment DEET-free, you can use common essential oils to repel bugs, and have a bug and chemical free home.
• Tea tree oil is one of the oils that every house needs to have on hand, due to its many uses. It has antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. It’s commonly used to treat viral and bacterial infections, and it is highly efficient in getting rid of parasites, such as lice, fleas, ticks, and leeches. Tea tree oil also repels spiders, mosquitoes, ants, and flies.
The simple way of making a tea tree oil repellent is dousing a few cotton balls in it, and placing them around your house, in spots that you most commonly spot insects. You can also use a few drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water, and spray yourself to avoid mosquito bites.
• Peppermint oil has a great, non-chemical smell, and it has proven to be even better insecticide than the store-bought ones. You can use it against beetles, mosquitoes, fleas, ants, flies, and even mice. Humans find peppermint smell to be refreshing, but this is not the case with insects and mice.
Dab a few cotton balls in the oil, and put them in insect high-traffic areas in your home. You can also make a spray, by adding 5 drops of oil into a water filled spray bottle. You can then spray the mixture around your house once a week in order to repel insects and mice.
• Lemongrass oil is a great insecticide. It is also used to decrease muscle pain, and therefore it is one of the must have oils. As an insecticide, it repels fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. Lemongrass smell is appalling to insects, so the oil is great for keeping them out of your home.
Preparation method is fairly simple: heat up half a cup of water, and then add to it 20 to 25 drops of lemongrass oil. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray all of your doors and windows, as well as any area in which you commonly spot insects. This mixture will keep bugs out of your house, and make your home smell amazing.
• Eucalyptus oil has outstanding medical properties, and it’s one of the most common ingredients in throat sprays and cough syrups. On top of this, a recent research suggests that eucalyptus oil is the most effective natural product against sand flies.
Combine a ¼ teaspoon of oil with a cup of water, put the mixture into a spray bottle, and shake the bottle well before each use. Spray the mixture around your house every three days.
• Lavender oil is famous for its use against moths. However, it can also be used to fight fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and beetles. Against moths, place lavender sachets in your closet or drawers. Against all other insects, add the oil to a diffuser.