image by housefly, xandert/morguefile.com
Summer is fly season, and with the concerns over DEET and other toxic chemicals in commercial insect repellents, making your own safer repellent from natural ingredients makes sense. Essential oils and herbs are key ingredients in homemade repellents. Customize your formula to target the specific offender.
Note: Wherever mentioned, the dilution ratio is 1 part oil to 3 parts water.
General Fly Repellent
Gather small tin boxes with lids. Wash and dry them.
Cut a new, clean household sponge to fit snugly inside the tins. Put a piece of sponge in each tin.
Place your choice of essential oils on the sponges in the tins. Keep tightly closed until ready for use.
Experiment with oils and combinations of oils to find what is most effective in your circumstances. If you plan to use your repellent tins on a patio table, use combinations of citronella and orange or lemon oils for a pleasant scent. Lavender or lavender with mint oils are also pleasing.
To use, simply open one or more tins and place nearby. Replenish oil as needed.
Other Repellent Methods
Place a few drops of essential oil of your choice in the puddle of melted wax in a burning candle. The scented oil will dissipate as the candle continues to burn. Add a few drops at a time to strengthen or prolong the effectiveness. Citronella and pennyroyal are particularly effective in candles.
Apply some lavender oil to exposed skin, especially warm pulse points of neck, wrists, and elbows to increase aroma from the oil. Lavender oil is the only essential oil that can be used full strength on your skin. Always dilute lavender oil, and test if you are unsure about skin sensitivity.
Mix essential oils in water in a spritzer bottle, and mist anyplace you want to repel flies. Use outdoors around trash cans. For areas where children will play, use lavender oil in a diluted spray on play equipment, around the swing set and sandbox. Spritz hats and clothing for extra protection.
Spritz or rub diluted oil directly on your skin, and spritz your clothing for the most effective repellent for biting flies.