Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Summer is here and by Jove so are those pesky bugs! What I would do for a bug-free (or at least biting bug-free) patio without utilizing toxic chemicals that put the environment, wildlife, my family, and pugs in danger! Turns out, I’d spend weeks upon weeks experimenting until I found a solution.
Living in an old home inhabited with bugs
My husband and I recently moved out of an apartment and into a (very old) rental home to get the charm of an older home and allow the pugs to roam outside freely and enjoy the patio space that you just don’t get in an apartment. Now that the weather is finally warm enough to enjoy it- it’s completely unenjoyable!
The biggest con of moving into this old home is that it hasn’t been inhabited (by humans) for a while or properly cared for. So, I first had to clean this sucker from the inside out (another post coming about the inside). Once I started on the exterior, I first cleared up the entire perimeter of the house- removing leaves, wood piles, overgrown grass, vines, and trees, and discarded all debris and standing water.
Curating the proper recipe
Once I had the landscape under control, I was like a mad scientist ready to start experimenting with my bug spray recipe. I originally tried diluting a myriad of essential oils (rosemary, cedar, mint, and lavender) in a spray bottle with white vinegar and apple cider vinegar at different concentrations- to no avail.
I get so frustrated when I’m trying a holistic remedy that doesn’t work for me. I strive to live by example and show my loved ones that you don’t need toxic, poisonous chemicals (like DEET or other harmful commercial bug repellents) to enjoy the outdoors. So, I began my mission.
I then planted organic lavender, mint, catnip, lemongrass, and rosemary around the perimeter of my patio space. I thought this would do the trick, so I sat back to bask in my success just to realize I was still a bug buffet. This was not enough to deter the sheer volume of bugs I was trying to repel.
A Vodka Spritzer
Frustrated, I had to up the ante even further. I remembered an old bottle of organic vodka chilling in my freezer that I’ve been saving for a patio party that we were going to throw at our new (old) house until we discovered we couldn’t host anyone outside for more than few minutes without feeling like contestants on Naked and Afraid.
So, I also added a couple ounces of vodka to my spray bottle and went outside to test again. This time, I was able to make it 20 minutes before I got hot enough I had to go back inside- without a single bug bite!
While I was inside cooling, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I also added some SPF and nourishment for my skin in this bug repellent?
Once again, I went outside to test, and I remained bug bite free all the while feeling like I was doing my skin a favor!
Now, I did say in the post title that you could drink this concoction, but I actually don’t recommend it. If you decide you want to drink it, instead use your favorite herbal sprigs to infuse your vodka and enjoy separately. My point is, don’t put anything onto your skin that you wouldn’t put into your mouth.
Do you have any natural non-toxic bug repellent remedies that work for you?