here in connecticut i've found that the woods become almost unbearable with bugs at certain times of the year. at some point in the summer the heat and the rains combine to create a mosquito bomb. most years i've retreated. but this year i found a natural way to fight back.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
1 tsp rose geranium essential oil
1/2 tsp lavender essential oil
1/2 tsp catnip essential oil ***
2 tsp rubbing alcohol/ or grain alcohol/ or vodka
7 ounces water
combine essential oils with the alcohol. add the water to a spray bottle (i like to use one with an atomizer spray nozzle). add the essential oil mix to the water, put nozzle on and shake. shake well before applying to exposed skin and clothes. reapply as needed. as with any sort of body product, do a test patch to test for sensitivity before using.
i found on really buggy days we usually had to reapply about an hour into our woods time. but that's just fine with me if it's a natural alternative to those icky chemical bug sprays that may work a bit longer. this summer i used this on myself and both boys with much success.
*** my favorite part of this recipe is the scientific data supporting catnip being a more effective mosquito repellent then DEET. however, if you don't have access to catnip oil, i've made this mix without it with good results as well.
and then there is the fall, when connecticut, which happens to be the lyme disease epicenter of the country, becomes over run with ticks. we have them all year long, but i've found personally that i have the most problems with them in the fall. and this year is no exception. in fact it's been the worst i can remember. this past weekend i had such a horrible experience as i traveled off on a less used trail with a friend and our dogs (thankfully sans kids). during the hike i easily pulled off a dozen or so crawling on my clothing and then i came home to realize our boy duke had become almost infested with them in a mere 2 hours in the woods. after many hours of baths, multiple vacuuming sessions, brushings, and going over duke and the house with a fine tooth comb so to speak, i managed to get the tick situation eliminated. but not without completely freaking out at the thought that those disease carrying parasites had literally taken over my dog and living room for a few hours. taken over MY space. the space that my babes play on. and with that i've decided it's in my best interest to avoid the woods for a few weeks until a freeze knocks those bastards down a bit.
but making a positive out of a negative, this forced us to find a new spot to enjoy for the next few weeks. and enjoying we are. this spot is a park built by the army engineers for flood control. after labor day they close it to vehicles so we have fun running down all the roads and visiting the birds on the beach.