Bug Spray Alternatives

It’s that time of year again. Somehow, despite large amounts of time spent outside, I had managed to avoid the scourge of summer until this week. But now they’ve got me, and with a vengeance.

English: A female mosquito of the Culicidae fa...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate mosquitoes. About as much as I hate slugs (more on the slugs later). When I was a child I was a mosquito delicacy, apparently, because every time I stepped outside I would be covered. Somewhere around my teenage years I developed a love for garlic, which seems to have somewhat dampened their enthusiasm for me, but not entirely. Yesterday we were inside a church building for our blood drive, in a very (very) damp area just outside the North Carolina border. Somehow several mosquitoes got trapped inside the room, and they came after me. My coworkers were much amused by my antics as I alternately tried to avoid and squash the little demons.

Anyway, I’m looking for an alternative to DEET, which so far has been the only thing I’ve ever used that actually worked. However, due to the potential environmental effects of DEET and the fact I really don’t like spraying chemicals on my skin, I’m looking for an alternative. There’s a large range of opinion on the effects of DEET, from the casual “it might cause a few side effects now and again” to “it kills brain cells!” Granted, that article is speaking of rats with frequent and prolonged exposure, but what do we do when spending an entire day outside and liberally spraying our clothes and some of our skin? Also, the fact that the chemical has been shown to survive water treatment plants disturbs me. Eep.

So I’m looking for a tried-and-true insect repellent recipe that I don’t have to worry about harming me or other innocent (read: not eating me or my plants) wildlife. I’ve found a couple from Mountain Rose Herbs, and several good ideas from Wellness Mama. Anyone have their own anti-bug concoctions?

Also as an interesting side-note discovered while searching the web for bug spray recipes, a site to check the toxicity of your sunscreen. For those of us with a ghost-white complexion, getting a slight tan to combat summer sun is nearly impossible and slathering on sunscreen is a necessity.


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