Mother Earth Living

Herbs vs. Bugs: Herbal Insect Repellant

Scents can discourage flies, fleas and other bothersome insects.
By Arthur O. Tucker
June/July 1994
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This pleasantly scented liquid is designed to repel mosquitoes, flies, fleas and ticks. Experiment with the essential oils it contains to determine the most effective formula against the bothersome insects in your area, or adjust the amounts to let a particular favorite scent emerge in the finished product. This is safe for use on skin or clothing. Use a small amount on exposed skin, dab it on clothing, or carry it along with you in convenient pocket-sized plastic bottles on outdoor trips. For external use only.

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons total of the following essential oils in equal parts or in any combination: basil, juniper, palmarosa, citronella, rose geranium, rosemary, myrrh, cedarwood, pine and lemon
  • 1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol, available in liquor stores
  1. Stir the oils into the grain alcohol.
  2. Pour the solution into small bottles with tight-fitting caps.

Note: To make more or less of the insect repellent, use a quantity of essential oil equal to 5 percent of the volume of the finished product.

Art Tucker is a botanist whose herbal specialties include essential oils and perfumery. He is a research professor in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Delaware State University in Dover.

Click here for the original article, Herbs vs. Bugs.








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