Lemon Eucalyptus Beats DEET

Lemon-scented eucalyptus

Image courtesy of titanium22 at flickr.com

We are well into summer: sunshine, vacation, friends, outdoors, and (unfortunately) bugs. Bugs love the sunshine and outdoors as much as we do, almost as much as they love us. We don’t share the attraction and would rather they were repelled by us. Essential oils to the rescue!

With the extra rains this year, insects are out in high numbers and they are hungry. Whether you prefer to hike, sip a drink on the porch, or enjoy a barbecue, you don’t want to be bugged by these flying critters. They circle your head and nibble on your skin. It’s annoying and ruins relaxation, but bug repellant aromatherapy can bring a smile back to your face.

If you’re like me, you need a bug repellent that is natural but effective. You want it to harm the beasties, not you. That is where essential oils enter the picture. There are many that keep bugs at bay, but a shining star is lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora).

This oil may sound unfamiliar, but it was registered with the EPA in 1948 as an insecticide and miticide (kills insects and mites). The oil, which comes from leaves and twigs, has shown to be comparable to its synthetic counterpart, p-Mentane-3,8-diol, which has proven protection similar to DEET. But the best part of lemon eucalyptus oil is that it is considered safe with no adverse effects.

To repel flying insects including mosquitoes, biting flies, and gnats, put several drops of lemon eucalyptus on strips of cotton cloth and hang the strips around your recreation area. Now you can face outdoor activities bravely, knowing you won’t have to swat and itch the day away.