3 Safe & Effective DIY Bug Repellent Recipes for a Pest-Free Summer

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Whether I’m in the garden, on a hike, or just enjoying nature, there seems to be a common annoyance: pests (especially during summer!). Critters eating my strawberries, weeds overtaking my flower beds, ticks biting me and my pets, and wasps stinging me. However, one thing is more concerning to me than all of those annoyances combined- pesticides.

So what’s the big deal?  I spent three years at a government-funded lab researching some of the most widely used pesticides in the US: Glyphosate (aka RoundUp) and Mancozeb (a popular fungicide). Our research showed some pretty scary stuff, like that exposure may lead to Parkinson’s Disease. Considering that, it’s pretty terrifying to think about how much of this stuff is getting used.

In the US, this number was over 1.1 billion pounds in 2011 and 2012, with pesticides like RoundUp accounting for the majority according to the EPA. Make sure you wash your produce thoroughly – even if it’s organic!

So are there safer alternatives? Yes! Studies have shown that cedar oil is a very effective insecticide and can even kill/repel ticks. It’s also safe enough to use on your skin and on your pets! The current go-to for a conventional insecticide is DEET.  Although it’s very effective, the jury is still out on its safety.

Another alternative? Let the weeds do their thing! I’ve learned to love them and they’ve actually added some unique beauty to our yard. This may not be for everyone, but fear not, here’s a recipe for taking care of unwanted weeds.

If you still can’t get rid of your conventional products – there’s no judgment, I promise. One thing I will say is to make sure you’re using them properly (wear protective gear like goggles, a face mask, gloves, and protective clothing) and be a good human by not spraying them near others, especially children or pets.

I’ve listed three pesticide recipes you can feel good about using below. I hope you have a wonderful and pest-free summer!

1) Nix the Ticks Insecticide

Prep-time: 3 min

What you’ll need:

  • 4 oz. glass spray bottle
  • 2.5 tsp Cedar Oil
  • 4 TBSP Cottonseed or Soybean Oil
  • 1 tsp Diamataceous earth
  • 3 TBSP Distilled Water

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into your glass spray bottle, shake, and use! (P.S. This isn’t just for ticks, it can be used on all insects! It’s also to use on your fur babies!)

 

2) Pest Repellent Spray

Prep-time: 3 min

What you’ll need:

  • 16 oz glass spray bottle
  • 4 cups of distilled (or boiled) water
  • 1 tsp pure unscented castile soap
  • ½ tsp black pepper oil
  • ¼  tsp garlic oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into your spray bottle. Shake and spray on plants to repel pests!

 

3) Bug Repellent Roll-On

Prep-time: 1 min

What you’ll need:

  • 10mL glass roller bottle
  • 10 drops citronella oil
  • 10 drops geranium oil
  • Grapeseed oil or Fractionated coconut oil

Directions:

First, add the essential oils to the glass roller bottle and then fill to the top with your carrier oil (grapeseed or coconut). Roll on your skin to keep the bugs away and also to smell wonderful! 

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Kara Montgomery, neurotoxicology researcher, product development specialist Kara believes the small choices of what we expose ourselves to on a day-to-day basis have a profound impact on our overall health. As a published neurotoxicology researcher, Kara has studied the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease, participating in studies that have garnered around $1 million in NIH funding. With this knowledge, Kara takes a critical eye to the products and habits all of us engage with on a regular basis. She holds a BS in Neuroscience from King University.

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