One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Friday, May 1, 2015

Natural Insect Repellent Oil for People ~ Pet Flea Protection?

Now I'm taking the herbs to a different level.  There are so many uses for herbs (and oils) it's so much fun to research and try them.

To make the insect oil, I used a 1/4 cup to measure my "parts."  You can see in this quart jar, how much it fills the jar.  We've have good luck with homemade basil mosquito spray, but so far nothing has worked for flies or gnats (or fleas on our dogs and cats).
In my tall stack of recipes, I found a recipe for a natural insect oil that is safe on humans and some animals.  We make an oil for repelling ticks for the dogs, but only ticks (and it does work).  

So, in curiosity, I gathered the ingredients and made the oil.  I used a good quality, organic, olive oil. 

1 part bay leaves
4 parts pennyroyal
2 parts rosemary
1 part eucalyptus leaves

Enough olive oil or other high-quality oil to completely submerge herbs.  Top off with another inch or two of oil.

I placed waxed paper between the lid and jar.  I have never made an infused oil, so I wanted to make sure the oil had no reaction to the lid (I gave the jar a good shake every now and then).

To Make:  Wilt fresh leaves, or used dried herbs.  Cover with enough oil to completely submerse herb, plus one or two inches more.  

Allow jar to sit for at least six weeks in a warm area (but not direct sunlight).  I started mine on March 26th.

Strain.  Add a drop or two of essential oil of pennyroyal and/or eucalyptus essential oil.    The recipe did not recommend shelf life for this oil.  Any ideas how long it would last?

I'm told this is safe for pets as well as humans, but I just read that pennyroyal is not safe for cats.   And cats do lick themselves often.  They say to use Neem for cats (or other recommendations). 

I think I will mix up some neem spray for our cats.  I found recipes for mixing the neem oil to make a shampoo for cats, but Jasper hates water.   He'd have to be sedated to give him a bath, so spray it is.

As for the dogs, I have already placed a mixture of pennyroyal and eucalyptus (these recommendations are found at Rapid Home Remedies) on their collars.  I think I have lavender oil too, but I read pennyroyal works well.  The only problem, is that all of us do not like the smell of pennyroyal.  In a week or so, I'll see if the dogs are flea free, and maybe try lavender (smells much better).

Update:  Placing the above mixture on the dog collars was not effective.  

Have any of you tried these, or other natural remedies, on their dogs or cats for fleas?  After losing Sadie and Mattie to cancer, and Jesse having tumors removed, and some returning, I'm not a fan of chemical-laden flea meds.  They used to dry Sadie's skin so badly too.

In the meantime, I'll be using the insect repellent oil and see how it works.  I'll be giving you an update, after we experiment with mosquitoes, gnats, flies and other pesky bugs.


Laurie said...

I've never made any home-made repellents, but sure could use one for knats and Mosquitos. I'm interested in seeing how yours work. I'll stay tuned. 😀

Lady Jane said...

I like the sounds of that mosquito spray. I am going to make some of that magic elixir and try it. LJ

Susan said...

Oh, my goodness! You are such a wealth of information - a true treasure trove! I had just been thinking about insect repellents and keeping it natural. Even though my cats do not go outside, they are sometimes afflicted by 'rider' pests. This is great information!

Kristina said...

Laurie, I am sure we will be trying it soon. After this next rain, we'll see more mosquitoes.

Kristina said...

Lady Jane, I think I took the basil spray camping one year. I feel much better knowing it's safer on my skin too. I can't wait to see if the oil is good for all bugs.

Kristina said...

Susan, our two cats are kept indoors, however, the dogs can bring in the critters. We do keep all of the animals brushed daily too. It will be interesting to see if what we try will work.

Mary said...

Be careful, pennyroyal oil is highly toxic

Kristina said...

Thanks Mary, I did read that about it. I think I may try lemon (better smell and less toxic), or lavender.

RB said...

Just this morning, I found two ants in the house, one cruising the kitchen counter and one on a living room window sill. Because I found them singly, they must just be scouting. When Bro Tom came in the house, I told him, "I found two ants in the house!"
He said, "Ummm hmmm."
And then I added (cause with that answer, I wasn't sure he'd really heard me, "I think they're planning on bring Uncles with them next time." (LOL)
That perked him up and he said, "Rose, that's really an awful joke."
I said, "No, if I'd added 'And Brothers, and Sisters, and Nieces, and Nephews and Grandchildren. Now that would have been an awful joke." ;o)

I've put bay leaves in kitchen cupboards and drawers to repel ants and weevils (nasty little bugs that hatch in flour, corn meal, even sugar and such in the moist heat down south). I read that somewhere and don't know why it works, but it did seem to keep ants and other insects away.

A long time ago, I remember someone putting a line of cayenne pepper across a window sill ants were using for house access. I asked them if it worked. They said it did. I said, "I wonder why." And they said, "Well, would you want to crawl on your belly through cayenne pepper?" Uhmmm, nope!
Now you couldn't put that in anything you'd dose people or animals with, cause it would eventually get in the eyes (you know it would), but I am wondering, if added to a neutral oil, if it could be sprayed around the foundations of a house to keep insects and even critters at bay for a while.
Gonna try putting the powdered cayenne on the next fire ant nest I see in the yard. (Then I'll RUN cause they are MEAN boogers!!!) I'll let you know how that goes when I do it.

God bless.


Kristina said...

Never heard of using cayenne for fire ants. I remember when I was in SC for the kids and I was waiting for Daughter to be released for family day, and all the sudden I was jumping up and smacking my feet. Nasty bites.

RB said...

The cayenne was used for black ants that were invading her kitchen around a window somehow. It worked for them. Gonna try it on the fire ants.

I have scars all over my legs below my knees from walking through a nest when I was preparing the critters for a bad storm one day. Bad!!! And from what I've heard, the scars last forever. Course, I'm 68, so that's probably not going to be as long as for some people. LOL

God bless.


Synnove said...

I've been following your blog for a week now and came back to search for your tick oil. I have two dachsens and would an organic option to the awful poisons that seem to be the craze among people these days.

We used to have sugar ants (small black ones) in the kitchen cupboards in the countryhouse. Mom used to sprinkle cinnamon and that kept the small buggers away. Non-toxic and nice smell :)

br Synnöve from Finland

Kristina said...

Thanks Synnove. I have posted the "tick oil" recipe on the top left portion of my blog as a "featured post" so you could find it easily. Here is the link also:

We use it on our arms and legs when we are outside as well. My son used to get ticks often from walking the dogs. It will work for ticks but not fleas.

Also, update on this post, using oils on the collar: it did not work. I will update that on the post too.