Living close to a creek and seeing the results of insecticides and pollutants from the road and erosion has only strengthened my appreciation for natural remedies for pest control in the gardens and backyard.
Our wet summer has also caused a serious mosquito problem, so I have been mixing up my own ointments to ward off these insects.
Herbs such as basil, catnip, lemon balm, rosemary and rose geraniums are a few of the plants that have insect-repelling qualities. By growing an herb container garden or mini herb garden you can have these herbs close at hand for making a natural insect repellant ointment.
Catnip and Lemon balm are especially good for warding off mosquitoes. Researchers at Iowa State University found the essential oil in catnip to be about 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the widely used synthetic repellent.
To create an ointment, crush the leaves of any of these plants to release their scents and rub them on your exposed skin. I usually store the ointment in a brown or blue glass container and store in the refrigerator. Unfortunately my cat really likes catnip so he tends to get a bit wound up when I am making the catnip ointment.
Tip: You can grow you own herbs and make an essential oil or stop at a health food store and pick up top quality essential oils.
The recipe below will make an insect repellant for various pesky insects
Herbal insect repellent
- 2 teaspoons total of any of the following essential oils: basil, catnip, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, pine, rosemary or rose geranium. (You can use one herb or a combination or two or three.)
- 1-cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available at liquor stores)
Place the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Place in a small glass jar for storage. I prefer dark jars to keep light out. Light will weaken the mixture in time.
To use, rub a small amount on exposed skin. When ever you make any ointment or cosmetic place a small amount on the skin and wait to see if you have any reaction such as a rash or red skin.
Rose geranium is also excellent for keeping ticks off of you dog and cats.
Herbs have many medicinal , natural cosmetic and crafting uses. They also can help control insects just by being planted among you vegetables and flowers.