No, this isn’t about lining up our home-school curriculum for the spring. However, now that I think about it, I probably should be putting some energy that direction real soon. (I have been neglecting that chore for a bit now, halfheartedly hoping that kiddo will step up and do it herself.) And this post really isn’t asking you to stay away, although until I do get that spring quarter curriculum lined up, you may just want to stay away.
Right now, I am prepping for the spring onslaught of mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and biting flies. Yep…all this rain is going to bring a boat-load of buggy biters to our property. I can already hear the faint buzzing of the little bugger’s wings, and I know they are going to bee-line it straight to me. (btw- I would greatly appreciate it if my family would refrain from making faint humming noises while around me…it isn’t funny, and I am pretty sure I will pull a muscle running from the room each time you do this!)
So, again, lets get back to my prep. First, I had to go round up all the amber bottles of our homemade Stay-Away-Spray from wherever they were stashed. Found one in the medicine cupboard (I really need to come up with a new name for that cupboard since there is very little “medicine” in it). Found one by the workshop door (yep, kiddo would use a quick spray on her way out to the chicken coop), and I found one still packed away in our camping stuff (I really need to clean out those camping tubs).
Once I rounded them all up, I washed them all thoroughly and then gave them a final rinse with boiling water. As they all air dried, I proceeded to gather the ingredients for our Stay-Away-Blend. (I turn the concentrated blend into a spray, but I also like to keep a little of the blend on hand for other applications)
I had already checked the “distilled on date” of the oils I had records on, and I verified the purchase date of my other oils to make sure they were still good. I find that putting a sticky dot on the bottom of each bottle to record the month and year helps this process go quicker. (Despite many claims, essential oils will not last forever. Well, maybe they could last forever if they were never exposed to air or light, but lets face it we buy oils to use them, and very rarely do we have unopened bottles hanging around) Check out the facts at American College of Healthcare Sciences.
“Oxidation requires oxygen, so it’s important to store your essential oils in a cool, dark place (away from light sources) with a tightly closed lid. Oxidation occurs much faster at higher temperatures and upon exposure to light. Shelf life varies for different essential oils, with citrus essential oils being more prone to oxidation (nine to 12 months of shelf life), so I recommend keeping those oils in the fridge.
In general, it is not recommended to keep essential oils for more than three years. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as patchouli P. cablin, sandalwood S. album, and vetiver C. zizanioides, which actually improve with age. Because oxidation can lead to the formation of potent allergens, using spoiled or oxidized essential oils can cause adverse reactions.” ~ Oleg Maksimov, ACHS Health and Wellness Blog
Here is a list of the ingredients used to make our Stay-Away-Blend. Simply combine all the oils into a small dark mixing bottle and store in a cool place until you are ready to use it. This makes 4.25ml of blend (85 drops)
Terra Shield is comprised of many essential oils that are known to repel mosquitoes, ticks & fleas
Citronella 1.5% 4.5 drops in 15 ml
Cedarwood 1.5% 4.5 drops in 15 ml
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Skimmia Laureola oil
Nepeta Cataria (catnip)
Amyris Oil (amyris balsamifera)
Citrus Sinensis – nonphototoxic expressed not distilled
Spartium Junceum (Broom)
So, now that you have the Stay-Away-Blend, you have some choices to make. Do you want a spray or a lotion? Do you want to use this on children or just adults? No matter what you decide, I have included the breakdown for several options below, so you can use what suits you and your family best.
If you want the most potent repellent you can make, you can use neem oil as a carrier along with the Stay-Away-Blend, and make a lotion or salve. Be prepared though, neem oil is obnoxiously rank smelling, and it may take more lemongrass or lavender to cover the scent. Play with the ratios until you find a happy balance between protection and acceptable aroma.
Please note: If you have sensitive skin then only use diluted in the 2% Lite-Stay-Away-Spray or the 1% Lotion.
If you would like to read about even more oils that can be used to repel bugs, check out the link here:https://www.naha.org/naha-blog/repel-bugs-not-humans