June 14, 2006

Bitten

This is the time of year for the mosquito attacks, and soon the deer ticks too, out in the country. 

Some people are more of a magnet for them than others. Every year I make a concoction of natural essences to repel insects for myself and my two italian greyhounds, who can't tolerate flea collars. Rosemary, geranium and lavender in combination and, believe it or not, patchouli by itself are effective. 

If spite of it all, you are  bitten, straight lavender essential oil does wonders to remove the sting and heal the redness and swelling. 

Some prefer tea tree oil to both repel and heal bites. 

If you have the space for window boxes, marigolds, rosemary and geraniums as a border will repel insects, and they are good companion plants for those who are prone to frequent attack, such as roses. 

If you are in a truly swampy situation, DEET is the only thing that really works, but personally I would reserve that for the tropics. For those who live in more temperate places and have a bug attack only occasionally, not of the swarming variety but still substantial, I have found the Avon Skin So Soft does really work, though it is not a particularly lovely smell. 

Thyme or rosemary added to it will somewhat modify and improve the scent, it still remains effective and gives the added benefit of the uplift from the aromatic herbs. After all, the herbs have developed these repellent qualities for themselves first, in order to survive in the wild where they are subject to constant attack by insects and other animals trying to eat them. The bitterness of the substances, though they smell good to us, have a particular set of signals that repels insect predators.

6 comments:

Sam said...

Here in France we can get lemon grass concoctions against insects, they call it 'citronelle' and it smells really nice.
I love the mixture you described though - I'll have to try it. I often rub handfuls of crushed lemon thyme on my dogs fur to 'freshen' them up, lol!

Lucy said...

Yes, citronelle is very much used here, too in candles and such. Nice to know I am not the only one who "perfumes" my dogs...I think they are better off than putting those harsh chemical flea repellent collars or mixes on them. Especially greyhounds whose fur is not thick enough to protect the skin from such corrosive chemicals.

Edwin Sumun said...

Oh yes, scents lovely to us repel the bloody mosquitoes that attack my evening slumbers. I also read somewhere that any scent that distracts them works as repellants. So, on nights when I forget to light my vanilla-cinnamon candles, they drive me insane.

Did I mention that I'm a Leo too? Born in the year of the Tiger. Double whammy!

√čarithranduil said...

Very interesting!
I must admit that it is in the spring that I consider the Botanical Garden more beautiful. You certainty know the reason...

Andrea said...

Luccia, what a lovely site you´ve got...I will defenetly come visit more often...thanks so much for your interesting insect repellants...I also use citronelle but your recepie sounds great...

Kala said...

mosquitos love my blood but I dislike putting mosquito repellants on my skin - not knowing what the chemicals wil do to my body - so I bear and grin and try to smash them against my skin.