Knowing how to repel pesky insects is an important tool to have in your back pocket and will be crucial in any survival situation. Of course, you can prep your survival kits with over the counter insect repellents but you are also risking many possible reactions to your skin and respiratory system due to the very harmful chemicals within most bug repellents. Luckily, some of the very best bug deterrents and bite treatments are natural, safe and have a much longer shelf life than store bought products. Let’s chat about some easy, inexpensive and effective ways to keep those bugs away from you and how we can treat the annoying bites than do manage to find you!
Best Ways to Avoid the Sting!
A high quality and pure essential oil that is free of synthetic fragrances is a very effective and versatile tool for your survival kit, especially for warding off insects and soothing skin irritations and bites. Just a very small amount is needed (1-4 drops) and can be diluted in coconut oil (another natural bug deterrent) before applied to exposed skin. You can also use essential oils to make DIY bug sprays and skin soothing sprays with distilled water, a little witch hazel and essential oils. Here are some top oils you will want in your survival kit:
- Tea Tree
Essential oils are all derived from various parts of plants and trees so it would make sense that there are very effective plants to help deter insects. Keeping some potted plants and drying the flowers and stems are a great way to grow your stash. You can freeze dry them to keep the therapeutic benefits strong for many, many years. Allow them to soak in witch hazel and distilled water to create a gentle bug repellent spray. Some plants that are great for keeping bugs are bay:
- Bay leaf
Some other really great natural deterrents to consider:
- Garlic: peel and let sit out. You can also rub your skin with garlic cloves or even eat extra garlic to change the scent of your own oils in your body
- Cedar Blocks: natural cedar blocks are really great at keeping bugs away. Keep a stash of cedar chips or blocks and using them indoors or outdoors will keep bugs turning in the opposite direction. You can refresh your cedar blocks with a natural cedar oil from time to time.
- Vanilla extract: when it a pinch, dab some vanilla extract on your skin or where bugs enter to keep them away
To Soothe Pesky Bites
Herbs such as lavender, chamomile and calendula are very good for reducing inflammation and redness. Seep them in some hot water and make compresses and apply to the bite as often as needed. Make sure the compresses are room temperature and not too hot for the skin. To help with itchiness, peppermint and lavender essential oil can help do the trick. Tea Tree oil is a great antimicrobial and can be applied to bites to help avoid infection from brewing.
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When a big bite gets very inflamed or you feel other symptoms such as fever, chills or sweats, this is considered a medical emergency and you will want to seek medical attention. Bug bites can cause severe infections or allergic reactions and should be taken seriously. Avoiding these annoying little critters is not only helpful for your sanity but could very well save your life as well!