I know that it’s tick season, but they seem extra plentiful this spring—the dogs and horses are covered. This is not solely a rural problem, Central Park has loads of them too. Just this week the C.D.C. announced that the number of people contracting diseases from ticks and mosquitoes is alarmingly on the rise. So I’m starting to think that, like using sunscreen daily, we should be putting on repellent as well. However, the thought of spraying myself with DEET each morning is not appealing. Many swear by rose-geranium oil as a natural alternative and I’m going to give it a whirl.
Rose-Geranium Oil. This essential oil was shown to be highly effective at deterring ticks in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Combine equal parts rose-geranium oil and coconut oil, and apply it regularly to your arms, neck, waist, and ankles.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Some research suggests that a 30% lemon eucalyptus oil preparation can be as effective as DEET in preventing both mosquito and tick bites. To make your own, mix together 30 drops of oil of lemon eucalyptus with 4 ounces of witch hazel (you can also use apple cider vinegar or vodka). Some people also add a teaspoon of vanilla, which may further repel ticks.
Citronella and Eucalyptus. These oils, along with lavender, juniper, oregano, and clove, compare favorably with DEET, but they must be reapplied more frequently than chemical tick repellants. Combine them with equal parts water or alcohol, shake, and apply
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