The WNY Bug Population is Booming! Here Are Some Natural Repellents
On Monday, during my little mini kayak adventure, we were rounding the turn near where the canal meets the Niagara River, getting close to Niawanda Park, and the amount of sandflies was astounding! It looked like it was snowing, there were so many! The birds were happy, the fish were happy....we were not.
As you know, the sand-fly and mayfly populations have exploded over the past week. (The official name for them is "caddisfly".)
They're tiny, harmless little creatures, but when they swarm, they're as annoying as a papercut. They're the kind that always seem to land on the INSIDE of your sunglasses, make their way up your nose, and somehow manage to get up the leg of your shorts.
Our recent rainy weather is to blame, since they feed and breed near bodies of water. They don't bite, but they are incredibly annoying.
I'm not a fan of putting chemicals on my skin, though sometimes it's a necessary evil. Most store-bought bug sprays contain DEET, which some studies suggest can be extremely toxic. Some homemade, DIY bug repellents may be a better bet for you.
Here's a few I found:
General Bug Spray
1/2 c witch hazel
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
40 drops essential oil (eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, tea tree or rosemary)
Mix all and apply using 8 oz spray bottle
1-1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon castor oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
8 drops lemongrass essential oil
4 drops geranium essential oil
Mix well, apply with spray bottle (shake up ingredients often).
2 oz. apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka
2 oz. water
20-40 drops of either geranium bourbon essential oil, citronella essential oil, lemon eucalyptus essential oil, or catnip essential oil
Optional -- 1/2 tsp glycerin to help scent last longer
Mix together and spray (an oil mister may work best for this one, as they're less likely to clog). Should last 2-3 months.