WITH the onset of spring and warmer weather we are besieged with insect pests that not only annoy and irritate us, but often spoil outdoor activities.
Natural alternatives are a better way of dealing with those creepy-crawlies that invade our living space.
Insects have a very short life, and come and go in waves at particular times of the year.
During spring and summer, flies, mosquitoes, midges and sand flies can become extremely bothersome, especially on warm summer evenings outside.
You can discourage pests by using an insect repellent light, repellent candles, or by simply applying a couple of drops of lavender oil to exposed skin.
One of the easiest ways of dealing with these unwanted visitors, and deterring them from biting, is to use the appropriate essential (herbal) oils. Essential oils are not only useful as body repellents, but can also be used to spray inside the house without the fear of polluting the air we breathe or endangering the health of our family or friends.
You can make a personal body repellent by dissolving 10 drops of lavender oil in 5ml of vodka and then blending this mixture with three-quarters of a cup of water.
Store in a tightly sealed bottle or one of those handbag-size plastic perfume atomisers. The latter makes it very simple to use - just spray onto exposed skin and rub well in.
If you find you're one of those individuals who seem to overly attract biting creepy-crawlies, you can adjust your repellent by increasing the amount of essential oil - an extra 10 to 15 drops should be sufficient.
This all-purpose repellent will discourage flies, mosquitoes, midges and sand flies from attacking you.
An extra strong repellent that is effective when used as an indoor household spray consists of 30 drops each of lavender and citronella oils dissolved in 10ml of methylated spirits and mixed with half-a-litre of water. Add the mixture to a pump-spray bottle and use on a fine mist setting.
In outdoor entertainment areas, install red lights where you eat and cook, as they will help to repel insect pests; a white light some way off will attract pests. Avoid electric "zappers" as they will also kill large numbers of beneficial insects.
Burning eucalyptus leaves in the barbecue will repel mosquitoes, flies, gnats and midges.
A far simpler solution is to burn insect repellent candles, such as citronella and lavender. Repellent candles are also just as effective when used indoors.
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