I am pretty sure we are all happy to be enjoying the warmth and sunny days of summertime, but perhaps are not so thrilled with the accompanying return of the insect population. Insects are an annoyance at best and a source of serious health concerns at worst.
Ticks are a major concern here in the Coulee Region because they are carriers of Lyme disease and its co-infections. Many herbal insect repellents include Rose Geranium, as it is known to repel ticks. At the Co-op you will find these repellents which contain essential oil of Rose Geranium: Badger Balm Anti-bug Shake & Spray, Bite Blocker, Buzz Away Extreme and All Terrain Herbal Armor. Melissa Farris of Veriditas Botanicals recommends Rose Geranium essential oil as the only safe and effective oil to use on your dog for ticks and fleas, (for small dogs under 20 lbs, 1 drop between shoulder blades 1-3 times per day depending on exposure (woods, high grass) for medium dogs of 20-60 lbs use 2 drops and for large dogs of 60-100 lbs use 4 drops applied as recommended above). More is not better and do not use on cats.
Essential oils which are useful to repel mosquitoes, gnats, flies and no see-ums are lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove and cedarwood. I have never met a no-see-um in Wisconsin, but if I do I am heading straight for the repellent as no-see-ums have a knack for taking the fun out of being outdoors especially at dusk. Should you decide to make your own insect repellent, we have most of the essential oils needed. Essential oils should be diluted in a base of a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, castor oil or grapeseed, also available at the coop.
A new item at the Co-op is a plastic wrist band impregnated with Peppermint oil. They come from Canada where the mosquitoes can be quite an issue and are reported to work very well. The band can be placed on belt loop, stroller or backpack as well and work up to 120 hours and is non toxic.
As always read the ingredients to make sure you are getting the repelling properties to target your insects of choice, and use according to directions.
Carol Willis, Wellness Manager