Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Insect Time - Are You Prepared?

It is the time of the year when all the annoying flying and crawling insects are all over the place. Here in Texas we have lots of mosquitoes already, and my children are complaining that they are bugging them when they are outside. The dog is running frantically when she sees a bee on the patio, unfortunately for her we need the bees for our plants.

  So it is time to take out the suitable oils from the cabinet and make sure I am prepared for the insect invasion. It is of course a good idea to do this a couple of weeks before you need the oils, and not wait to last minute like I did this year.

There are several ways you can use the essential oils. You can make a room spray, a massage blend, drop some oil on the collar of shirts, add to a diffuser, put on cotton balls and put around the house. Another idea is to soak ribbons in water with added essential oils and hang them where you want them. Perhaps hang them in the trees surrounding your patio or in the windows inside. You can make a room spray of an oil like lemongrass, and spray the beds before bedtime to make sure no bugs find its way into the beds.

Bites and stings
Lavender and tea tree can be applied directly on the bite or sting. Drop one drop of the oil straight on the sting or bite.  You can also dip a cotton swab in fresh lemon juice, witch hazel or apple cider vinegar and add one or two drops of essential oil to the swab. According to Valerie  Cooksley, R.N. chamomile, lemon, tea tree, lavender, bergamot, and eucalyptus provide relief for pain, swelling, and itching from bites. To make it easy, you can also use Young Living's blend  Purification  for children over two years old. It is  best diluted for younger children and sensitive individuals.

The insects' sense of smell  is very sensitive. In nature plants release certain aromatic molecules, which are essential oils, to either  attract insect for pollination, or to ward off specific harmful insects.

Insect repellent essential oils
For mosquitoes: lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, geranium, rosemary
For moths: patchouli
For house flies: citronella, geranium.
For fleas: lemon
For ants: all mints
You can also use the Purification blend as a general insect repellent, it contains the oils of Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca,  lavandin, and myrtle. Other insect repellent oils are tea tree, lavender, Cedarwood and pine. Cedarwood and pine should not be used on infants or small children.

 The general rule is to use 1% dilution for children under two years old, (5-6 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil), After two years a 2% dilution may be used (10-12 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil). So for older children it will be about half of the adult dosage.
Use the dilution chart to adjust the amount for the age of your child. The dilution chart will also give you an idea what oils are appropriate for each age group.

For example here is an insect repellent recipe:
7 drops lavender
6 drops Melaleuca/tea tree
9 drops Eucalyptus radiata

 The easiest is to blend all the essential oils and then add the proper amount to a carrier. The total amount makes 22 drops, I cut it in half  for my 10 year old daughter and add it to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. This makes 11 drops of essential oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, which is roughly 2%.

Here is a Bug Off skin oil to apply on the skin. Avoid eyes and be careful not to put any oils on the face on very young children. Don't expose the skin to sun 12 hours after applying lemon essential oils.

2 tbls. vegetable oil
5 drops cedarwood
4 drops lemon
2 drops geranium
1 drop citronella

The above blend is a 2% dilution,  12 drops of essential oils to 2tbls. of carrier oil. 
As always experiment, make your own blends, or use the oils you have available, you don't need to follow the recipe if you don't want to. Make sure you read the safety page and the dilution chart to make sure you are aware of what oils are suitable for your child..

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