Thursday, 27 September 2012

Essential Oils for Protection Against Insects

I read an article recently about Japanese mothers using essential oils as home-made insect repellents for their children instead of the sprays you can buy at the supermarket. The bugs around our new house are full on, and the aerosol sprays and mosquito coils I’ve relied on up until now just don’t work at all. I hadn’t thought about using essential oils on myself, which is silly, because we’ve been using them in preference to flea treatments on the dogs all year. Shiba have notoriously sensitive skin, and the monthly drops we used to prevent fleas and ticks made their skin red and itchy. When it came time to apply it the poor puppies would run and hide under the nearest piece of furniture and snarl furiously at the sight of the packet. We tried all the brands we could find and the only other option seemed to be a powder you brush in; not much use for dogs who don’t get brushed, ever, and who walk through tick infested grass quite often.

We now use a mix of geranium and lavender essential oils diluted in a carrier of jojoba oil, applied to their collars with a small spray bottle every few days. I love the scent of geranium and unlike the gross commercial flea liquid I am happy to carry the dogs against my skin right after applying the oils. So far we have had no problems, but I am not sure how effective the oils are against ticks so I still examine the dogs after walking through longer grass or forest.
I bought the oils and spray bottle from Muji because I wanted to make sure they were 100% essential oils (not "perfumed oil"). The initial outlay was quite expensive, but since we only need a few drops of each essential oil in the carrier it should work out cheaper in the long run. With any luck the height of bug season is past, but next year I will try using the oils on myself as well as the dogs.
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