I’m calling myself out here because we’re super new to the South and have a huge learning curve ahead of us. However, with that being said, we as a family are already finding ourselves seeking out and grabbing a few items we’re calling our summertime essentials over and over again that help us throughout the day. What are those items you may ask? Some of them are plants, some oils, and a few natural sprays. Because sun and bugs.
The Sun and Our Skin
We left Washington in what was still considered late winter, early spring. When we got down here though, in West Tennessee it was basically late spring, early summer! What a change! We went from sweatshirt weather to teeshirt season. Our skin was like, hold on, it hadn’t seen the sun in five months and suddenly it’s not only seeing the light of day but full, hot sun.
We are trying to be good and not overdo it, but well, we have a lot of projects outdoor and time simply slips away from us. For that reason, we’ve loved the lavender roll-on from NOW®, it’s been helping to soothe all our sun-kissed skin. It’s also great help for calming bug bites! While I’m not apposed to mixing my own oils and I do have several roll on bottles and all the ingredients, I’m all about quick and easy right now, and the roll-ons that NOW® has have been a huge help around the homestead!
You can check out their whole line here. Travis loves the peppermint and I enjoy using Mind that Energy when working on the computer to help focus.
Oh my, the Bugs!
I knew there were more bugs here, with the shorter and milder winters. You’ve got to make a trade for all good things. Harder winters like at home in the PNW, make fewer bugs. Still, I’ll take the shorter winter and bugs, and try to deal with them as best I can.
Bugs in and around the house
I’ve done a ton of research online for bug repelling and what they don’t love, especially when it comes to ticks, fleas, spiders, and mosquitoes. Many of these smells they dislike come in the form of plants you can utilize around your home in the gardens and landscaping. I am already implementing several of these and can’t wait for them to grow and flower. We like to be fairly natural in our home, and nature is great at providing checks and balances for problems like insects.
So, what smells do which bugs generally not like? See below for detailed charts.
Smells for which bugs
Ones that discourage fleas:
- Rose Geranium
- Peppermint oil
- Citrus: orange, lemon, and lime.
- Eucalyptus oil (or spread eucalyptus leaves)
- Tea Tree
- Clove bud
- Red thyme
- Lemon eucalyptus
Oils that discourage mosquitoes:
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Tea Tree
- Clary Sage
For most of the bugs listed, peppermint and lavender kept coming up as smells they all seemed to avoid.
I’m a huge proponent for use of essential oils. If you’ve been around for a while you’re very aware of this. An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing chemical compounds from plants. Plants are so amazing, I never get tired of researching them and finding all their uses.
Not all essential oils are alike though. Make sure you’re using a reputable company because many place artificial scents and ingredients into their oils, thus taking them from amazing, to toxic. Find my favorites here.
Bugs be gone
To help keep the bugs at bay, I’ve been placing 10 drops of peppermint essential oil into a glass sprayer, the filling it to the top with water. I go around once every couple days, and spray around all the doors and windows, and anywhere else there is exposure to the outdoors. (Sadly, our house is not sealed well at this point, and there’s lots of areas for the buggies to crawl in. Slowly but surly, we’re taking care of these issues as we find them.)
I love these glass sprayers.
Another must over here is the Bug Ban repellent.
We keep a “Bug basket” in our house right beside the kitchen, and in it is:
- Bug repellent for us
- Bug repellent for the dog.
- Salve for when we get bit
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Bug Ban essential oil (We grab and diffuse this outside beside the table when we enjoy meals on the porch)
I also spray and use the lavender essential oil around the house similar to the peppermint essential oil. Again, I can’t say for sure if it works or not, but it’s non toxic and easy to use, I enjoy the smell, and hope it deters the bugs a bit.
And those are our summertime essentials (so far). I’m sure we’ll add to that list as the year progresses.
What are your summertime essentials? Bonus if they help a girl out in the South!