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|Focus on Herbs: Buggy
|by Lynne Latella
|Alas, with the onset of
more pleasant weather comes the onslaught of stinging, biting and just
plain annoying bugs. The best remedy is to raise chickens and/or guinea
hens because they control the bug population most efficiently.
Unfortunately, unless one lives in the country, suburban or inner city
neighbors may not be enthusiastic about these bug eating machines in
their back yards as they are blissfully free-ranging on gnats,
mosquitoes, ticks and the like. Most people buy commercial products
without much thought of the deleterious impact on both body and land.
Fortunately, there is a less invasive alternative--homemade, natural
remedies. An effective bug repellant for humans or garden variety
plants can be easily made with few ingredients, most of which are
available at the Co-op. If pregnant, always check with a doctor before
using certain herbs. Also, to avoid allergic reactions, test a small
amount before using the recommended way. Human remedies need to be
reapplied at least every two hours for lasting effectiveness.
a robust tea with lemon and/or orange peels, mint, pennyroyal and/or
sage and steep, covered, overnight. The next day, strain and mix half
and half with witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Pour into a mister and
spray before any outside ventures. In activities which would cause one
to sweat, use an oil repellant instead. To make this, use the same
ingredients, except for witch hazel, water and rubbing alcohol. Pack
the ingredients into a sterilized jar. Heat olive oil to 160°F and
pour over herbal mixture to cover completely. Screw on the top and let
the mixture steep in a dark place for between one week to one month.
Apply to exposed skin before going outdoors. Some other topical
• 1 tsp eucalyptus oil in 1 cup warm water
• ½ tsp each citronella, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils
in 4 oz. witch hazel: Shake well and spray on exposed skin, avoiding
eyes and mucous membranes.
For bites and stings, any of the following may help when applied to the
wound, depending on body chemistry:
• Bach Rescue Remedy
• Lavender oil
• Neem or tea tree oil – Neem oil can be a good repellant against
fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and garden pests. Add a few drops to the dog's
shampoo to eliminate or repel fleas.
• Witch hazel
• Apple cider vinegar
• Cut onion
• Aloe vera
• Thick glob of cooked oatmeal
• Damp tea bag
• Grated raw potato
• Raw minced garlic
• Salted butter
1 tsp castile soap in a gallon of warm water. Add a few drops of neem
oil, crushed garlic or hot pepper juice. Test on a few plants before
blasting the entire garden. Apply weekly until bugs are gone.
2 TBS cayenne with chopped garlic and a few drops of liquid soap and
pour into a spray bottle. Add water and let stand 24 hours. Shake well
and spray on plants.To be rid of certain garden pests, try sprinkling
black pepper, ginger, chili pepper or red pepper flakes on plants or
sprinkle on the ground around the plants.
basil has been used around doorways and windows to repel flies,
homemade pest strips can also be effective. Cut strips of cotton or
paper towels and sprinkle on a few drops of basil, peppermint,
cinnamon, lemongrass, lavender, thyme or peppermint oil and hang in
doorways and window openings.
Repellant for Dogs
citrus peels in water. After bathing the dog, pour on this concoction,
working it into the coat. Your dog will smell good and should be flea
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