Yes, it is getting to be that time of year again. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had an extremely rainy Spring season – so much so, we are calling this month, "Juneuary"! This unusual dampness will produce optimum conditions for mosquitoes to breed and multiply as the temperatures warm. Here is additional mosquito information on the website to learn more.
As you can see, we offer a fabulous ready-to-use mosquito repellent in a variety of product applications. However, many of you readers grow your own gardens and can easily make your own effective natural spray or oil to take care of those pesky mosquitoes or no-see-ums.
As you probably already know, DEET is currently the most common active ingredient in commercial bug repellents. DEET is a dangerous chemical, as discovered by Duke University researchers and can cause brain-cell destruction and has caused neurological damage in studies using rats. Additionally, the Iowa State University Research Foundation has proven Catnip, Nepeta Cataria, known as a cat-pleasing herb or medicinal tea, to be safe and effective to keep bugs at bay.
Catnip is a perennial herb, preferring well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. It is easy to grow but can become invasive. Best planted in the fall, it will get a boost for summer by forming a strong root system, increasing its natural drought resistance. If you choose to plant now, purchase a hardy plant from a nursery, making sure of the correct Latin binomial. Catnip doesn’t need much help once it is established and only needs compost, not fertilizer.
Here are the recipes for making your own bug repellents:
Catnip Mosquito Mist (makes approximately 3 cups)
- 2 cups catnip, stemmed
- 3-4 cups mild rice or white vinegar
Rise and pat dry herb, roll lightly with a rolling pin to bruise and open plant cells, place in a clean quart jar and cover with vinegar. Seal jar and store in a dark cupboard for two weeks, shaking lightly every day. Strain into clean jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months unused. To use, spritz on exposed skin and around outdoor recreation or dining areas.
Catnip and Rosemary Mosquito Oil
- 2 cups catnip, stemmed
- 1 cup fresh rosemary, stemmed
- 2 cups light vegetable oil (such as fractionated coconut)
Bruise catnip leaves; finely chop rosemary. Pack in a clean jar, cover with oil and place in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, shaking lightly every day. Strain into clean jar, seal and refrigerate unused for up to 8 months. To use, decant into smaller bottle for carrying and rub on exposed skin when outside.
Let us know if you try these ideas; we love to get feedback.