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The water was deep, dark and still. Tall green trees stopped at the shoreline making a picture worthy border between land and lake. Off in the distance Mt. Rainier made an impression from every angel. 14, 410 feet tall and around 70 miles away it looked like a painting Picasso made that morning and placed in my line of vision that day while kayaking. The view could not be captured as well on GoPro compared to our eyes, trust me we tried from multiple different angles.

My husband and I were trying to be relaxed, peaceful and take in the surreal before our flight back home to Minneapolis, Minnesota where we reside in an apartment downtown. But because we forgot to apply bug spray before going out on the lake, all we could think about was covering up and swatting every little thing that flew our way.

Wherever I go, whether it’s out West, down to Florida or Texas or out East to New York the bugs are prevalent especially in the summer months. They can get a little out of control which can cause anyone to not enjoy themselves even with views as beautiful as Mt. Rainer.

Last weekend my husband and I went camping for the first time together since we got married. We such a fun time and adventured up to Itasca State Park which is where the Mississippi river starts! The views were outstanding, the hiking and biking trails were endless, but the bugs… they were a little too much.

I have respect and understanding for the eco system. But I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand the significance of ticks and mosquitos, which in my opinion are the worst two bugs when trying to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Before we adventured Northwest, I did a little research of my own and made homemade bug spray, and I am so thankful that I did!!

Overall it worked very well and we were pleased with the results. My husband found 1 tick crawling up his leg and I found 1 on my pants the entire 3 days, while our friends that we went with us found 2-3 on themselves and on their kids daily. Their dog had over 20 ticks pulled off of him our second night there!! He was a little dog and very close to the ground. But it didn’t even occur to me that my bug spray was helping keep the ticks off of me and my husband, mainly because I searched how to keep mosquitoes and other little bugs away. Ticks didn’t even cross my mind until we were there and facing the reality of their bite.

I highly encourage you to make your own bug spray because the store bought, name brand kind has many harmful chemicals. One of these chemicals is DEET. DEET has been controversial for years, and many mainstream bug spray brands are proclaiming that they’re DEET free now. DEET still exists, however, and the reasons to avoid them are powerful.

“Each year approximately one-third of all Americans spray and slather on insect repellents containing central nervous system toxin DEET. And this is in spite of the fact that previous studies have warned of DEET’s dangers. For example, earlier research by Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, who has spent 30 years studying the effects of pesticides, found that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain and could result in problems with muscle coordination, muscle weakness, walking or even memory and cognition.” (Baker)

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the best ingredients with the most beneficial properties for your skin is to make your own!

Start with a base, use distilled water and witch-hazel and/or organic, non-GMO vegetable glycerin.

I personally used just witch-hazel and water which did work very well, but next time I’m going to try and use vegetable glycerin too because it is a great vessel to help the essential oils in your bug spray bind together and stick to your skin!

Next, adding the right scent from pure essential oils will do the trick to make sure you don’t get bit.

Rose & Geranium

I read a testimony from a lady who lives deep in the woods and she swears by these two essential oils to keep ticks away. She used them on herself and her dog and for 8 months she hasn’t had to pick one tick off of either of them! In my homemade bug spray I used Geranium, but I didn’t have any rose essential oil on hand. If I had it I definitely would have added it!

Other great essential oils especially for mosquitoes are Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Thyme, Lemongrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Cedar, Clove and Citronella.

Adding a couple tablespoons of almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or grapeseed oil can also help keep bugs away. These oils have insecticidal properties.

Homemade Bug Spray Recipe For Mosquitoes & Ticks:

Step 1: Take a 40z glass or stainless steal bottle

Step 2: Fill half the bottle with distilled and/or purified water

Step 3: Add 1-2 tablespoons of organic, non-GMO vegetable glycerin

Step 4: Add 1-2 tablespoons of almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or grapeseed oil

Step 5: Fill the remainder with witch-hazel (leaving a little room at the top)

Step 6: Add 5-10 drops of the essential oils in which you choose (I recommend doing at least 4-6 different types from the ones mentioned above) You can get CPTG (certified pure therapeutic grade) essential oils from Doterra by clicking here.

This homemade bug spray is the safest and most effective way to keep ticks and mosquitoes off of you, your family, friends and animals. Don’t let the mosquitoes and ticks keep you from enjoying the beautiful mountains, trees, and lakes. Take time to relax and feel content in knowing that your homemade bug spray is good for everyone’s health instead of questionable. You’ll know exactly what’s in it, and you’ll be surprised with how well it works too!

Recommended Reading: There is Now Proof That Bug Sprays Can Contribute To Childhood Cancer