It's black fly season and if those little critters are taking chunks out of you, there are ways to fight back. Traditional chemical repellents don't always do the trick and are full of harmful toxins, but there are some natural ways to beat back those little beasties. Here are some natural recipes that will help you to enjoy the warmer weather without being bugged by black flies.
Shoo Fly! Black Fly Repellent Recipe
What you need:
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup of vinegar
- 10 drops of spearmint, mint or peppermint essential oils
Pour ingredients in a spray bottle and mix well. Spray pets, family members, strollers, clothing and around doors and windows. Babies have delicate skin that may react adversely to essential oils, so spray strollers instead.
Wear the Right Clothing
When in doubt, ask yourself: Would Indiana Jones wear this? Always opt for white, beige, khaki or other lightly colored clothing as biting bugs are attracted to dark hues. Use long-sleeve shirts and long pants and a hat to protect yourself from biting bugs.
A great way to prevent getting bitten is to cover up. If it's very warm, opt for cool organic cottons and other breathable fabrics.
Black flies have an annoying habit of swarming around the face. This is because they are attracted to the carbon dioxide you are breathing out. Wear a hat with attached netting if you are going to be spending a lot of time outside to jeep your face free of itchy bites.
Mint, spearmint and peppermint are great deterrents for black flies. Add a couple of drops of essential oil to your body lotion, to the final rinse of your laundry or just dab some on your clothing. Applying essential oils directly to skin may cause reactions or rashes.
Plant mint in planters around your deck and swimming pool to encourage black flies to stay away.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
This product from down under is also a great way to keep those flies at bay. Dab some on clothing or add 10 to 15 drops to a cup of water in a bottle and spray the flies away. Other oils to try include sassafras, pennyroyal, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon balm (also known as citronella) and cedar. Burning these in candles or diffusers will deter black flies.
If you are in the woods and forgot your bug stray, break off a young pine branch and rub the sap on your exposed areas. The smell of pine will help to repel black flies.
Notoriously itchy and achy, black fly bites are the pits. You can mitigate some of the discomfort by applying aloe vera or witch hazel to affected areas. If the itchiness persists, you may need to apply an antihistamine cream. Try to avoid scratching as this can break the skin and lead to an infection.
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