I love bugs. I do. Except for flies and mosquitos.

Inner-city living will present you with bugs, of course. The odd fly or bumblebee might find its way into your home. An evening stroll or drink on a patio might entice a stray mosquito, but rarely. But the country? Country living finds you surrounded, hounded and plagued. And like the racoons, these country bugs mean business.

I remember visiting my cousins’ farmhouse when I was a child and marvelling at how easily the family coexisted with the flies. Flies were everywhere: on the table, on the walls, on your face…suspended and motionless in the green Jell-O mould….

My cousins were oblivious to them; unfazed by these little creatures that I knew, even back then, were born of feces.

Now these farm flies have become my problem. What to do? I’ve been asking my neighbours about their strategies and was expecting some age-old magic cures passed along from generations of farm living, but to no avail. Short of hanging fly tape all over my house, or spraying my home with pesticide (which I’m not about to do), I’m going to have to learn to be at one with the flies. Something I’m not willing to accept.

Then there are the mosquitos. Sweet jeezus, the mosquitos! In my effort to maintain a healthy, functioning nervous system in my body and in those of my children, I’ve opted to forgo the DEET in favour of a more natural alternative. I have tried everything from dabbing vanilla extract to my pressure points (was skeptical-and no, I’m not crazy) to rubbing lavender leaves all over my body, but these approaches were not effective.

However, I have found a concoction that seems to be working!

I Googled homemade bug repellent recipes, and this one from Wellness Mama caught my eye.

My take on it was similar but I did make a few changes. And please note: This will sting if you get it in any cuts, and watch your eyes!

Here’s my recipe:

Fill spray bottle (I used 16 ounce bottle that I found for 2$ in the bbq section of my local grocery store) 1/2 full with cooled, boiled water

Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top

Add 1 tsp glycerin

60 drops (give or take) of essential oils. I used a mixture of

Clove, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint and Rosemary

Shake well and voila!

Bug Off
Bug Off

It smells amazing, and misted on your body, it’s quite refreshing on a hot day. You must SHAKE WELL before use and I re-apply it every time I go out the door. It won’t damage your clothes, and it can go in your hair, too. I even sprayed my dog (don’t use it on your cats because they’ll lick it and I don’t know if it would hurt them).

My daughter and I applied some and took a stroll through the trees – not a single bite. We fed the chickens – no bites. We did cartwheels and sat on the grass. I cracked my hip joints, but only got one bite on my upper inner thigh (where I hadn’t sprayed). It was incredible! I haven’t been able to stroll around my property and enjoy it like this in weeks because of these pests. This is a big deal!

As for the flies. I’m still working on that one. Fortunately, we don’t eat Jell-O.