There are two things I hate: bugs and harsh chemicals. Exterminators everywhere are both cheering and cringing. At first glance, it seems like these two dislikes cannot peacefully coexist. Either one must engage in chemical warfare against the creepy crawlers or learn to live with them.
Nay! I have long since ditched most harsh chemicals even for home cleaning. There are many resources both commercial and home-made that work well for cleaning and keeping the bugs off you as the summer rolls around. Since this is the Trail Family blog, I’ll leave you to cruise Pinterest for home cleaning supplies and we’ll focus on the bug repellant and tick protocol here.
With more and more reports of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses on the rise all over the USA, and more dangerous mosquito-borne diseases making their appearance, keeping these bugs off of us and our family is no joke!
The tick population here in the Northeast USA has also seen a boom of sorts the last few years. And with this last winter having been very mild, we are in for it again this summer. There must be sustained freezing temperatures to kill off eggs that are wintering over and decrease the tick population. So while we enjoyed the warmer winter for a time, it does have its consequences.
Here are 3 ways to keep your family safe from ticks and mosquitoes this summer
Disclaimer: This post is not intended for medical advice. Always consult your physician before using essential oils or other homeopathic remedies. See our terms and conditions. This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure.
Checking family members for ticks
Practice tick protocol every time after you have been outside. This is a tough one, I know, especially if you have small children. After an outing, they are hot and tired and will have no patience for a tick check. And honestly, I’m usually hot and tired and am in no mood to fight that battle either. Luckily, older kids and teens can usually handle checking for ticks on their own. But you as the parent need to make sure that each family member is thoroughly checked.
If someone does have a tick or ticks, the best thing you can do is remove it within the first few hours of picking it up. While tick checks are a time consuming drudgery, they are worth it! I’m preaching to myself here too, trust me. There were times last summer that I was lax in tick checks. Then I found one crawling across the carpet in my son’s room! I have no idea how it got there, but that was a wake-up call to not be lazy about this.
Here is a great tick removing tool
Stay on the trail and out of the brush
This might seem like a no brainer to some people and a ridiculous guideline to others. I realize that some trails also have side brush overhanging the narrow path and is not possible to avoid. So let’s say that, whenever possible, stay out of the brush where ticks are more likely to hide trying to hitch a ride on whatever warm body walks by.
Wear bug repellant
Here I’m going to share a homemade bug repellent recipe I like. If you have never used essential oils, you have probably heard of them. There are several oils known to repel insects. Among these are peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus. (You can use citronella too, of course, but I just don’t like the smell of it)
Last summer I made roller ball bottles of this bug repellant. Supplies needed:
Peppermint essential oil
Tea tree essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil
Roller ball bottles
With essential oils, dilution is important. About 2% EO to carrier oil for adults and 1% for children. For the 10ml roller ball containers, that is about 12 drops for adults and 6 drops for children and the rest carrier oils. I used the EO’s in equal parts and 60/40 of Apricot to Jojoba oils to fill the rest of the bottle. Shake it up and make sure you label which bottle is for kids and which if for adults.
This is the guidebook that I have for safe use of essential oils. I recommend that you do lots of research before using essential oils in any capacity. I’ve seen some unsafe practices all around the internet.
If you are not into making homemade EO blends, Eden’s Garden sells already mixed roll-ons. I like this company for their quality products and also their great prices compared to other companies.
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