It seems like every week I hear another local news story warning about ticks and the diseases they carry- Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc. Just today I heard about a new type of tick- the Lone Star tick- making it’s way to Minnesota. Ick! I already make sure to check my kids thoroughly after they’ve been outside. But I really don’t even want to see one crawling on them. Just thinking about ticks makes my skin crawl. However, it is summer in Minnesota and there is nothing better than letting the kids run around and explore outdoors.
So what’s a mom to do? The CDC has a list of ways to prevent tick bites, including using a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET. This may be necessary if you’re going into the deep woods, but for every day use? I know most of us are looking for safer, effective alternatives to chemicals. Essential oils are a great alternative for those pesky bugs and mosquitoes, and they work great at repelling ticks. The following essential oils are particularly good for repelling insects: citronella, rosemary, lavender, rose geranium, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, clove and sage. Basically anything with a strong smell.
I decided to try making my own repellent using rose geranium essential oil. My research found this oil to be especially good for repelling ticks. You can use a blend of different oils, but I wanted mine to be simple. Now, here’s my disclaimer: I am not an essential oil expert. I have a few that I like to use around the house, but really, I am a newbie. I looked at several “recipes” online for repelling bugs and specifically ticks. The following recipe is pretty standard and super easy. You only need two main ingredients: witch hazel and rose geranium essential oil, which can easily be found on Amazon. You’ll also need distilled water and a small spray bottle. That’s it!
Rose Geranium Oil Tick Repellent
80 drops rose geranium essential oil (therapeutic grade)
4 tablespoons alcohol free witch hazel
12 ounces distilled water
Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake together. Spray liberally on clothing before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours. (The spray is safe to use on skin, just make sure to do a spot check first!)
I’ve already used the spray a few times and it’s been working well. Time will tell how effective it is, but since we are in prime tick season, I didn’t want to wait any longer to share. As a bonus, it smells lovely and is refreshing on a hot day.