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Simple & Safe Bug Spray

Nobody wants a home full of creepy-crawly bugs, but it has been well established that exposure to toxic chemicals increases our cancer risk, and pesticides are a prime culprit. Switching to natural alternatives is often good answer; homemade products can also save money & are much better for the environment.  This recipe for a simple & safe bug repellent is one that I've used for many years.

Many bugs are very sensitive to odors and they won't hang out in a place that doesn't smell pleasant to them.  The strong vinegar/mint concentration in this spray will (slowly) kill bugs, but it is more of a deterrent than anything.  And that's really all we want to do is to keep critters out of our living spaces because as hard as it is to accept, bugs really are our friends.

Mamó's Simple Bug Spray

Fill a 32 oz (1 qt) jar 1/2 full of white vinegar (a mason jar works good)
Add:
 1 Tablespoon of mint extract (from the spice isle)
 2 whole Cinnamon sticks (broken in pieces, or 1 Tblspn ground)
 1 Tblspn Cloves (ground or crush whole colves)
 6 whole Bay leaves (broken in pieces)
 1 Tblspn Thyme
 1 Tblspn Rosemary
 1 Tblspn Sage
 1 Tblspn  Marjoram, Oregano or Italian seasoning
 1 Tblspn Cayenne Pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

Crush the dried spices well before adding to the jar.

Add 3 cloves of crushed garlic (or 1 Tblspn of Garlic powder, fresh is better)

If you don't have all the herbs, just add as many as you can, the vinegar & mint add potency.
Fill the jar the rest of the way with water, put a lid on it, shake gently and let sit for 24 hours. (a warm place is best)
Using a funnel, strain the mixture through a coffee filter into a 32 oz spray bottle. (label the bottle!)
Spray around baseboards, window sills, doorways, in cabinets or wherever you see bugs.

CAUTION! Vinegar is caustic!  It will kill plants!

Variations:
* omit the vinegar & use only water for a less caustic spray (safer for fabrics & pets)
* add several drops of cedar, lavender or eucalyptus oil in addition to (or in place of) the mint

More Tips to Repel Bugs:

* Blocks or chips of cedar can be placed in all sorts of nooks and crannies to keep bugs at bay; or place aprox 10 drops of cedar essential oil in a 32 oz spray bottle of water; can be used as an air freshener, or spray around doorways, windows, carpets, furniture and closets, etc.

* Crush Bay leaves and periodically sprinkle them in corners and cupboards.

* Make small sachets to place around your house to deter pests; use the same herbs listed above, crush them finely and put a couple tablespoons in a scrap of cloth, tie it with a string and place in closets, cupboards, etc.  About once a week mash them up to freshen the scent (without untying it)  Spritzing them with water will also freshen the scent.  After a few months replace the old herbs with new ones. You can also dab the sachets with essential oils (lavender or cedar are good choices)

Planting mint around  your home's foundation will repel many pests, especially ants.

* Most aromatic herbs are excellent bug deterrents; plant them close to your house.

* Sprinkle pet bedding with finely crushed Rosemary to deter fleas

* Pots of fresh Basil will repel many flying bugs, especially flies and mosquitoes. (inside and out)

Marigolds are excellent bug deterrents; plant them everywhere around the house and garden! (and you'll only have to buy seeds once because they are so easy to collect off the dead  flowers and then save for next year!)

* Encourage birds to visit your yard by providing fresh water & safe nesting areas

Here's a link to Wikipedia's very handy  List of Plants that Repel Bugs and other pests.

Learn more:
Avoiding pesticides at home

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