Perhaps you’ve forgotten about mosquitos, but even in their strange and alien winter hibernation, they haven’t forgotten about you. Scary, no? Is it working? If so, read on. Try and tweak these recipes so that when summer rolls around, you’re ready. What I really like about using these rather than buying a bug spray (other than the ingredients being way safer) is you get to choose the scent. If you’re one of those people who lines things up obsessively on desks, you could even make an array of repellents with different herb bases and match them to your socks. Go crazy, friend.

[divider]Recipe #1[/divider]

Insect Repellent (Oil Version)

  • 1 to 2 ounces herbs (suggestions: basil, bay, chamomile, citrus, cloves, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, sassafras, tarragon, tea tree oil, thyme)
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • ⅔ teaspoon grapefruit seed extract

Infuse the herbs and oil in a crock-pot or slow cooker over low heat for about 4 or 5 hours.

Let it cool, then strain. Stir in grapefruit seed extract.

Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.

Makes 2 cups

Preparation Time: About 10 minutes, not including infusing time
Shelf Life: About 6 months; discard if you see mold
Storage: Glass jar with a screw top

[divider]Recipe #2[/divider]

Insect Repellent (Non-Oil Version)

  • 1 to 2 ounces herbs (see above for suggestions)
  • 2 cups boiling water or organic apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ teaspoon grapefruit seed extract (for water infusion only)
  • ¼ cup aloe vera gel (optional)

Infuse the herbs in a pint mason jar with the water or vinegar.

Infusing. Credit: ahamodernliving.com

Infusing. Credit: ahamodernliving.com

Let set overnight for a water infusion or 4 to 6 weeks for a vinegar infusion. Strain completely.

Add the grapefruit seed extract and aloe vera gel.

Stir to blend. Dab on your skin.

Makes 2 ½ cups

Preparation Time: About 15 minutes, not including infusing time
Shelf Life: Indefinite for vinegar, 1 to 2 months for water (discard if you see mold!)
Storage: Glass jar with a screw top

Recipes inspired by Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond