There’s a joke that the state of Maine’s bird is the black fly. Starting around the end of May until early July, roving gangs of black flies harass the good people of Maine and our multitude of visitors. Because this glorious time of year comes just as Mama’s Forest School is getting underway (and it’s getting kind of buggy out there already!), I mixed a couple of concoctions together to help ward off the little buggies and also help soothe some of the bites we will inevitably get.
Potion #1 – Bug Off Spray
This is an adaptation of a recipe I found here. Admittedly, what I’ve put together is likely not as potent, because I just don’t have as many essential oils, but I have done seems to do the trick, though we haven’t hit the height of bugginess just yet.
So, I filled a 2 fl. oz. spray bottle from our local food co-op with witch hazel (happened to have it on hand since I use it as a skin toner) and added 8 drops each of citronella and peppermint essential oils and shook it up. It smells awesome, and, as I said, seems to be effective, though talk to me after our Memorial Day weekend camping trip.
Potion #2 – Itch Begone
For lack of a roller ball, I took a dropper bottle I got from the same co-op and filled it about 3/4 of the way with aloe vera and then ten drops each of peppermint, lavender, and lemon essential oils. This is a combo I’ve used before and it definitely makes a difference with those especially obnoxious bites (I’m somewhat more allergic to bug bites than the average person and have a really hard time not scratching). Both lavender and lemon help reduce inflammation and can work as anti-histamines, while peppermint has that nice cooling sensation, helping to get rid of that urge to itch, itch, itch!
And just a bit of advice – I’m not a doctor or chemist or professional in this area at all, just someone who likes working with essential oils and ingredients that aren’t so harsh on my and my children’s bodies and the environment. This is simply what’s worked for me and it might not be right for others. 🙂
However you choose to bring yourself comfort in the outdoors, make sure you go out and have fun!