It’s been nothing but bad news for outdoorsy Ontarians this year. The experts are predicting an uptick (pun intended) of Lyme disease occurrences this year. Naturally, this has people looking for safe and effective ways of keeping the ticks at bay. Luckily, we’ve got some options for you!
Lavender For Repelling Ticks
Yep, you can smell good and repel ticks at the same time! A 2007 study showed that lavender essential oil is comparable with DEET for repelling ticks over a 2 hour period. To make your own spray, you’ll want a 10 – 20% concentration of lavender to make it last the full 120 minutes. To achieve this, mix 70 – 100 drops (3 – 5 mL) of lavender essential oil in 1/4 cup of witch hazel. Spray liberally, especially around your ankles. (You will want to test this mixture on your skin and fabrics beforehand to ensure there won’t be any reactions.)
Other essential oils that have shown promise include geranium (we can special order this in for you), peppermint, cedarwood, and tea tree. Feel free to add these to your spray, as well!
Essential Oils for Other Insects
Chances are, if you’re going outside, you’ll want to repel other insects, as well. Mosquitoes hate citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, lemon, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and sage. Flies hate peppermint, eucalyptus, cedarwood, patchouli, tea tree, and rosemary.
Add in a couple of these, and you’ll be repelling everything with 6 legs in the vicinity! (Our 8-legged friends hate peppermint, too, but they’re less bitey, in most cases.)
When spraying, always avoid your eyes and mouth, and use caution around pets. Most essential oils haven’t been tested for pet safety, so use your best judgement. Essential oils should be used with caution around small children, and always more diluted than with adults.
Even if you’re using a spray, always check yourself and your pets thoroughly when you get home. Don’t neglect your scalp, because ticks love to hide. If you have gotten a bite, make sure to see your doctor ASAP.
Now, with all those warnings in mind, go out and have some summer fun!