Bug Off!

I fondly remember my younger days of playing outdoors for hours on end and running through the woods like a little maniac.  A person could pretty accurately tell how long I’d been outside by the number of mosquito bites I came home with.  What I don’t so fondly remember is my mom then dragging me to the bathroom and dotting me with pink Calamine lotion.  

To this day, I swear those dots were intended to do nothing more than rat me out.

Mom: “What happened to the Calamine lotion I put on your mosquito bites?”
Me (mostly covered head to toe in pink dots): “What mosquito bites?”
Mom: “I put lotion on your arms 15 minutes ago.  What happened to it?”
Me (glancing at my dot-less arms while picking the pink flecks from under my fingernails): “I dunno.”

After a quick scolding, it was back to the bathroom for another application.  That lotion bottle was like a child-proof lie detector.  Worse yet, I hated pink.

Fortunately, I’m old enough now that my mom no longer covers me in pink dots.  Unfortunately, bug season has officially returned.  I’m sure most of us would prefer that it didn’t, but we’re not in control of Mother Nature last I checked.  As the temperatures continue to climb and the days of rain lessen, the air will be plentiful with mosquitoes, flies, No-See-Ums and others of their ilk.  

Rather than remedy a bug bite, try using a bug repellent that can be whipped up in no time at all.  

Bug Off! Spray Recipe

  • 1/2 Cup distilled water
  • 1/2 Cup witch hazel
  • 1 Tablespoon of each of the following dried herbs: peppermint, lavender, lemongrass
  • Spray bottle


  • Boil the distilled water and place in a bowl
  • Stir in the dried herbs and cover the bowl, letting it sit for 30 minutes
  • Strain the herbs, saving as much water as possible, and discard the herbs
  • To the bowl of herbal water, stir in the witch hazel
  • Pour the herbal water into a spray bottle
  • Shake the bottle prior to applying. Avoid the eyes, mouth and mucous membranes

In a pinch you can pick a few leaves of fresh peppermint, lavender or rosemary and rub it on your skin.  The oils in these herbs will repel bugs just the same as the spray.  But, your plant will probably prefer if you make the spray rather than stripping the plant bare over the course of the summer.  

Mom – I know you’re reading this.  The pink stuff doesn’t work and I still don’t know what happened to the dots on my arms.

Kitchen Cupboard Underground is a weekly blog on home remedies and natural wellness. Find 100% natural, wellness and personal care products Made for You and delivered to your door at BotanicalTherapy.com.
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