Imagine that it’s a warm, beautiful day, and you’re out on a picnic with your loved ones. Your food hamper is packed with delicious food, but you let it sit for a while before you dig into it. Finally, finding the smell of the food too irresistible, you dig into your basket, only to find that it’s now home to a small colony of ants. Even worse if you open it and have a cockroach run out! If this situation sounds all too familiar, you, like the rest of the world’s population, have been a victim of unwanted infestations and the resulting consequences!
Insects and bugs have long been abhorred by many of us and understandably so. Though they may be essential to Mother Nature and many of her processes, let’s face it – there’s absolutely nothing delightful about finding ants in your pants or bugs in your bed! Or, cockroaches in the kitchen and mosquitoes in your garden. The list can really be quite endless when it comes to these critters and where we don’t want them. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re endorsing chemical bug sprays and the soles of your boots, so hear us out before you start lecturing us on how all life is valuable. We’re completely with you on that one. Often, these poor, unlucky creatures are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, to save a lot of lives and ease a lot of consciences, we tell you how exactly you can use Mother Nature against herself without any negative consequences.
Oil Is of the Essence!
Well, oil really is of the essence, because this article is going to tell you how you can use essential oils as successful bug and insect repellents. Yes, you heard us right! Essential oils are good for more than just adding to your bath or massaging yourself with.
A contraction of the term “quintessential oils”, essential oils are natural oils obtained by extracting naturally occurring aromatic compounds that can be found in many different parts of plants. These aromatic compounds are what really make roses smell so good and mint so powerful. If you can smell a plant, it’s because of the aromatic components in it. Essential oils are a more concentrated version of these natural aromatic compounds, obtained through methods such as distillation, cold pressing or oil isolation.
In plants, these oils are responsible for a range of functions such as defending the plants against insects, attracting pollinators and in allelopathy.
The Many Hats That Essential Oils Don!
Chances are that 99% of the world has encountered essential oils in some form or another. This is because of the wide variety of uses that essential oils can be put to. Whether topically applied, consumed through a meal or used in cosmetics, essential oils are everywhere! Some of the specific uses of essential oils include:
In Cleaning and Housekeeping
Essential oils such as lemon and tea tree oil are great disinfectants. Other oils such as citronella are great bug repellents (more on that later!), and the antimicrobial properties that all essential oils contain, make them great air purifiers. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your washing machine to have naturally great-smelling clothes! Essential oils can also be used with water to wash your greens and veggies as well as get rid of mold.
In Beauty Products
Essential oils, as we all probably know, are great massage oils. They are also great natural perfumes, resulting in their use in a wide variety of soaps, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and cosmetics.
In Health-Related Aspects
Essential oils are also incredibly healthy. Oils like lavender oil can reduce anxiety and stress, which is why spas and therapy centers always smell so good and “lavender-y”! Oils like coriander seed oil can do wonders for your body by inducing weight loss, supporting your immune system, synthesizing vitamin D, keeping your digestive functions on track and getting rid of bad body odors.
So How Can I Use Essential Oils to Repel Critters?
Now getting to the point of the article, we tell you how you can use various essential oils to get rid of the “creepy-crawlies” around your home:
Though this oil is a great cooking ingredient, it also a great repeller of pests that are generally more abundant during the summer season. Basil oil is a great oil to have especially if you live around water bodies or in a place that experiences frequent wet weather. Studies have shown that basil oil is a great mosquito repellent and inhibits any larvicidal activity. It can also help in dust mite control, reducing indoor allergies.
Lavender oil, as mentioned earlier, is a great mood uplifter, reducing stress and anxiety. However, lavender is also equally effective in battling bugs, especially moths and silverfish. Keep a lavender-oil-scented sachet in your cupboards and drawers to keep away the bugs as well as have great smelling clothes. You can also spray lavender oil or leave it in a small dish around your garden or kitchen to keep away ants and other insects. By doing so, you also get to breathe cleaner air, as lavender is a great air purifier.
Vetiver is such a popular plant that it even has bands named after it! Vetiver roots are used for a variety of purposes such as in craft work and cosmetics production. However, vetiver oil is also a great mosquito repellent, so keep away the mosquitoes by diffusing a few drops of the oil around your house.
Thyme in itself is such a great herb, and its oil is no different. If you’ve ever had a housefly sit on your food or “accidentally” fly into your mouth, you know the mental trauma that follows! Well, turns out, thyme oil is a great repellent of the common housefly. They’re also an equally great mosquito repellent, so all you need is a little bit of this all-in-one wonder oil to keep both insects away. If you live or frequently visit countries with hot, humid conditions, a bit of this oil on your skin is a godsend. You can thank us later!
Who doesn’t love citrus? Just the smell of citrus conjures up images of happy summers and bright colors. (If you’re one of the few who doesn’t like citrus, we really have no words for you!) Bergamot oil, a kind of citrus oil, is a great natural insect repellent as well as a great aromatic, so it’s a win-win all around! However, bergamot oil is highly phototoxic (meaning that it reacts when hit by sunlight, possibly causing irritation and inflammation), so ensure you only use it to spray away bugs, rather than on yourself.
Peppermint is one of the more popular oils, used commonly in a wide variety of products ranging from sweets and mouth fresheners to perfumes and shampoos. Peppermint oil keeps away the mosquitoes and inhibits larvicidal activity. It’s also a great soothing agent when applied to insect bites and stings.
Tea Tree Oil
Few oils are as multifaceted as tea tree oil. A great antiparasitic, it can repel and inhibit the growth of parasites like fleas, lice, ticks and leeches. Like peppermint oil, it can help soothe insect bites and stings, and can be diffused or applied topically.
Easily one of the most recognizable smells, eucalyptus oil is not only a great medicinal agent, but an amazing insect repellent as well. This oil has proved particularly effective against blood-sucking sandflies. Lemon eucalyptus oil is even better as it lets you enjoy the smell of citrus as well as drive the critters away. It’s highly effective against mosquitoes, and also a wide range of other insects. Lemon eucalyptus oil is especially great for children and pets, as its insect-repelling qualities are long-lasting, acting over several hours.
A Great Natural Way to Get Rid of Pests
Essential oils are indeed good for more than just massages. These gifts from nature are a complete package, helping in keeping you healthy, beautiful and safe! Though most often insects can be completely harmless, sometimes, they can be carriers of disease such as malaria and dengue, or give you toxic bites and stings. If you want to protect yourself against this but completely hate the smell and use of chemical insecticides and sprays, essential oils are the perfect solution. Combine a few drops of your favorite oils and use them as insect repellents. Along with giving you a whole range of benefits, they keep the critters away and keep your house smelling great, so as we mentioned earlier, it really is a win-win situation all around.