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Eco-Justice Team - June 2024

Ah, summer! Picnicking, hiking, gardening, relaxing near some body of water, or on the porch or deck, all are favorite pastimes. Unfortunately, all are often afflicted with pesky insects, ever more so as climate change becomes more and more obvious in our daily lives. While we want to encourage pollinators, most of which don’t sting anyway, we don’t want to be covered in welts from other insects.

The website Earth911, which is cited here often, has two interesting recipes for DIY bug sprays. Barring any allergies, as common sense would tell you, they seem very safe, unless you drink the vodka before using it!

DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray

Essential oils - choose from citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, catnip, lavender, or mint

Natural witch hazel or vodka

Distilled or boiled water

Vegetable glycerin (see below)

Fill an 8-oz. Spray bottle half-way with water. Add the witch hazel or vodka almost to the top. Add one-half teaspoon vegetable glycerin and 30-50 drops of the essential oil of your choice. The more essential oil, the stronger your bug spray will be.

Vegetable glycerin is available on line as well as Michael’s and GNC, and Rite Aid. according to Vegetable glycerin has several uses. The most popular are cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs and food products.

Bug Spray from Dried Herbs

Distilled water

Witch hazel, vodka, or rubbing alcohol

Herbs- choose from peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, or lavender

Boil one cup of water and add 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbs. Mix well, cover, and let cool. Once solution has cooled, strain herbs out and mix with one cup of witch hazel, vodka, or rubbing alcohol. Store bottle in a cool place, such as the fridge, and use as needed.

The website has recipes and suggestions for all-natural remedies for stings, bites, scratches, and sunburn, as well as links to similar sites. See them all at

Have a safe and happy summer!


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