I seem to always get bitten in the garden. The Plantain Anti-Itch Balm seems to be working on those. Hubby even reported he used it on his tick bites and it has helped heal them.
Well, in a perfect world, I’d like not to get bitten in the first place so I wouldn’t need the balm. When I go out to work in the garden or even harvest the blueberries when they come in season, I usually spray myself with the regular bug sprays but I am concerned about what I’m putting on my skin.
I recently attended a seminar with Pam Jones of Nature’s Glory of Hazelton, Indiana. She had several recipes for “bug busters” so I just had to make one of them. I found out later they are from “The Creative Herbal Home” by Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox, a book I’m currently reading.
This is really easy and made with stuff you probably have around the house. So let’s get started!
I harvested a bowl of lemon balm which I crushed and stuffed into my quart jar. I added some of my Grosso lavender from last year’s harvest. Then they were covered with apple cider vinegar.
Shake or stir every day for 7 days. Then strain out the herbs. I used a knee-hi stocking. My old supply of them from dress up days sure come in handy.
Now pour this strained liquid into a spray bottle.
And there you have your Lemon Balm Lavender Bugs Off Spray.
But now to test it. This was pretty scary. What if it doesn’t work? I will be all eaten up again! But I had faith and for the past two days I sprayed my clothing and my exposed arms. I even had Hubby spray the back of my shirt.
The first day I went down to the slope garden to work. Due to all of the rain we’ve had, this is a place for potential bug bites more than some of the other garden beds I work in. I noticed that a mosquito thought about landing on my arm but then left. I had another land on my shirt and then quickly jump off. After that I was alone in the garden. Yesterday I worked in a bed out front and no problems.
I can’t guarantee it will work for you, but it looks like it does for me so far. It does need to be reapplied often so I sprayed myself again after an hour of garden work. For me that’s a good thing since I really have a hard time taking a break. Now I’ll have to take time out.
If you try this, I’d love to hear your results. Or you have a homemade recipe for keeping the bugs off, I’d love to hear it.
Check out other interesting frugal days, sustainable ways blog hop for other great ideas.
This stuff sounds awesome! You are just full of goodies to make at home. Love it.
It smells pretty strong but not any more than the other stuff. This morning was my third day with it and I’m still bug free. Need to make some more so I have enough to last me all summer.
I am enjoying perusing your blog. I like these herbal infusions and balms. You make it sound really easy to create these recipes. I am going to try the bug spray, I have all these ingredients right at hand!
Julia, Thanks for dropping by. It is really easy. Let me know how it turns out. Lynda
I love the idea, but wonder if it would stain white clothing?
Shannon, I wear white clothing when I work in the garden and I’ve sprayed it on my clothing three days so far and it hasn’t stained them.
Thanks for the recipe! I was wondering though, could you substitute the lavander for some essential oil, or is it essential to keeping the bugs away? Got lots of balm, but no lavander! thanks and God bless!
Kelly, You could make it all lemon balm or any of the other herbs listed. I just added lavender because I had some. So mix up a batch with all of that lemon balm you have! Let me know how it turns out. Lynda
I have the opposite issue, tonz of lavender but no lemon balm! not even sure where to get any near me. I think am going to try it with one of the other lemon ingredients listed and see how it works, probably lemongrass or eucalyptus. (wondering if there is a lemon balm essential oil I can use and if it would be as effective, what do you think?)
Jenn, If you are going to use essential oils, I’d make a skin oil instead of a spray. I’m not sure how the essential oils would react with the vinegar.
very very cool. we use the burt’s bees herbal spray for mosquitos which works for about an hour and makes a bit of an oily mess. i’ve been looking for a homemade recipe; i’ll have to give this a go!
This looks great Lynda! We thankfully don’t get very many bugs where we live but I am wondering if I could use this on our horses during the summer. They get bitten awfully when we go on trailrides… I planted lemon balm from seed this year so I’ll have to wait til it’s big enough anyway.
Thanks for sharing!!
Mandy, I can’t guarantee how long it works. I’ve been applying it about every hour to hour and a half but it seems to be working. Thanks for visiting and enjoyed our visit yesterday.
This sounds great. Can’t wait to try it and see if it works for me. Thanks for the post and recipe.
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Love this idea, I have a lemon balm plan that I have had growing for 7 years now and it is gorgeous and HUGE 🙂 I find myself walking past it and running my hands over the leaves and smelling my hands for a long time after. The smell is so wonderful and it makes me smile. Thanks for posting. If you do not mind I would love to re-post this on my site. I cannot wait to try this. Have you noticed any staining on your clothing from this spay? How is the vinegar smell or does the lemon balm and lavender infuse it so much that you do not notice the vinegar smell. Thanks again, Liz
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Liz, I too love lemon balm and it’s so easy to grow. You are welcome to repost with a link to my site. It doesn’t stain my clothing but if it did, I wouldn’t care since I use this on my gardening clothing. You still smell the vinegar, but the lemon balm and lavender come through too. It’s not the kind of spray I’d put on and then go to a garden party. But for working out in the yard, cutting the grass or whatever involves being outside, it does great. Thanks for commenting and dropping by. Lynda
Kay, Hope it works for you. Remember it needs to be applied every hour or so. Thanks for dropping by.
Kristina, I never answered your question. I’m sorry! I’m not sure I’d use this on your horses. I just don’t know if it would harm them or not. Glad you’re growing it. Great to add to your green tea!
I would like to know if anyone has tried this on horses? I have made homemade concoctions before for them, but they don’t seem to last the day. I have to get to the herb lady before I can try this.
Tina, Any of the homemade recipes have to be reapplied every couple of hours. I have no idea if it works on horses.
Thank you soooooooo much for this recipe. One of my members, Brenda, of my garden forum posted your recipe and link. Now I know what to use my TONS OF JEWELWEED for…your bug spray. I also have alot of lemon balm that I use for my tea BUT now I will also have another use…Lyndah’s Bug Spray. Thank you for sharing. Smiles, Lark
You are soooo welcome!! We also use lemon balm for tea but have enough for the bug spray. I used this all summer, as did my hubby, and it really works! I was afraid at first since I really get bitten, but it worked great. So glad Brenda gave you a link. Thanks for letting me know and dropping by. Lynda
PS. If you happen to get bitten because you didn’t put on the spray, the plantain salve works wonderful even on tick bites.
I too love lemon balm and it’s so easy to grow.
this is very interesting and I’m looking foward to trying it. We have loads of lemongrass, so that’ll be the main ingredient. One thing I’m wondering is, what would you recommend as an alternative to apple cider vinegar? It’s a very expensive import here in Thailand. We normally take it in water as a tonic.
Colm, Lemongrass is also good for this spray. I am sorry that I don’t have any idea of an alternative to apple cider vinegar. Maybe one of my readers has that answer. Thanks for dropping by and again, I’m sorry I don’t have an alternative for you. Lynda
Anyone have issues with bees chasing you with lemon balm or lemongrass bug sprays? I did this recipe last year and had a few chasing me till I showered. I had two chase me the other night when I used lemongrass.
Michele, I used this bug spray all last summer and for the past couple of months this season and have not had any bees chasing me. I put this on every day that I go out in the yard which is almost every day. We have lots of bees due to our hive and also lots of bumble bees with all of the plants including lavender and I’ve never had that problem.
Love this recipe, going kayaking in Virginia and will take some with me. Have you found anything for keeping fleas, ticks & mosquitos off dogs? I would be super interested in that. I use K9 Advantix for my Sierra and would LOVE not to have to use these toxic chemicals on her
Diane, No don’t have anything for dogs since we don’t have dogs. Sorry I can’t help with that. Thanks for dropping by.
The bug spray sounds interesting. I am going to try growing herbs ths summer so I will try to make some.
Annette, Lemon balm is so easy to grow and comes back every year. You don’t have to use lavender. I listed some substitutions. You also could probably use essential oils instead of the real thing. It really works.
Glad I found you here !
Jenn, Glad you are here! Thanks for dropping by.
I just harvested my first batch of lemon balm so my leaves are already dried and jarred, do I have to use fresh leaves or would dry leaves be ok?
Erina, I always just harvest from the yard and put into the jar. I would think the dry leaves would work, but have never worked with dry. You might add one of the other herbs I mentioned or their EO for added protection. Thanks for dropping by.
Did you used lavender blooms or leaves?
Debra, I use the lavender buds not the leaves.