Chem-free bug spray. Me likey. So did KB when I said I was going to give it a try. We both hate the smell of the insect repellents you can buy at the supermarket, and the fact that they're full of things that frankly we'd rather not have on ourselves, let alone on the kids. There are some fantastic natural bug sprays available out there - Goodbye Sandfly is a great product and found in most supermarkets and even superettes in insecty, holidayey areas. It is, however, fairly pricey, especially if you go through a fair amount of the stuff. The price difference between Goodbye Sandfly (and I mean this as no disrespect to the product, and kudos to the folk in Kerikeri who make it) and the product we made at home was $25.98/100ml and $1.52/100ml.
Needless to say, we're stoked that this natural homemade bug spray has been effective. I mean, there's no guarantee that they will be. But we've gotten onto something good here, so time to share it and hopefully you'll be able to keep yourself and the fam bite-free without having to worry about nasty DEET etc, or about how much the kids are wasting, spraying up and down their legs a million times.
Incidentally, this is also an effective fly-deterrent - we spray it around the area (ie, the table) of where we're sitting. Doesn't last forever, but at the price of making this we just keep on spraying/reappying as required. We're going to make up a separate spray of vinegar and pyrethrum (the daisies are planted, so hopefully will have flowers next summer), but for the moment, this spray works double duty.
Anyhoo, here we go...
1 litre apple cider vinegar (this is more effective against biting insects than white or malt vinegars, due to the fermentation process, so I have discovered in my researches)
60 drops each of tea tree oil and citronella oil
packet of cloves (the more the merrier)
spray bottle (150-250 ml is ideal)
slightly bigger than 1L bottle (washed-out 1.5L water bottle or something)
- Pour vinegar into your 1.5L bottle. Add all other ingredients.
- Leave for 2+ weeks (the longer the better), if possible, but you can start using straight away. Once all mixed together, I'd decant as much as will fit into your spray bottle, start using that, and keep the rest in the pantry to do its thing, until you're ready to refill the sprayer.
NB: This is a strong smelling spray - the oils, let alone the vinegar. But the smell dissipates fairly quickly, and to be fair, it's no smellier than its chemical counterparts. Enjoy guys!!