Bug and Pest Help
As the weather gets warmer and sunnier, we naturally gravitate to being outside more. This can bring us into contact with pests like ticks and mosquitoes. These bugs are part of nature and necessary (though I do sometimes question the role of mosquitoes in the great scheme of things), but they can also bring dis-ease in us, our families, and even our pets.
In general, the role of these pests in nature is to break down the sick. So the healthier you keep your body, the less likely you are to be troubled by these buggers. In general, a healthy diet consisting of plenty of essential fats, probiotic-rich foods, an array of fruits and vegetables, and appropriate, grass-fed or wild meats will help to strengthen your system so pests are less attracted to you and the diseases they carry cannot take hold.
However, not everyone is at that point of health all the time. So here are some repellents and tricks I use in my own home to combat the bugs and the parasites they can carry.
One of the first things is to have a deworming plan you use for both your family and your pets and know when to use it (hint, it isn’t just a one-and-done thing). I will share my basic protocols in the Summer 2019 issue of Holistic Pathways, so be sure to subscribe!
Mosquitoes are an example of what is called a vector for parasitic infection. This means they can carry parasites and inject them into a host (ie us or a pet) when they bite to feed upon blood.
Some parasites mosquitoes can transmit include:
- Malaria (Plasmodium)
- Botflies (Myiasis)
- Dog heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis)
- Filarial worms (Elephantiasis)
Mosquitoes can also carry several viruses, including:
- Yellow fever
- Dengue fever
- Rift Valley fever
- West Nile fever
- Eastern and Western equine encephalitis
Yikes! I get itchy even reading about some of these.
So what can you do about mosquitoes? First, don’t panic. Only specific species of mosquitoes can transmit certain illnesses. Further, the mosquito that bites you has to have bitten someone infected with said ailment to even have a chance of infecting you. Now, obviously, this does happen. But it isn’t a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination. So, don’t fear too much! In addition to the diet and the deworming plan, there are effective methods for repelling them from being in your vicinity.
Essential Oil Formula
- 15 drops clove essential oil
- 15 drops citronella essential oil
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops bergamot essential oil
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1 tbsp vodka (or rubbing alcohol, if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp vinegar (it may be a little less since you just want to top off the bottle with this)
Combine all the above into a 4 ounce spray bottle. Be sure to shake well before each use.
Herbal Formula (my favorite)
- 1 32-ounce bottle of raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp dried sage
- 2 tbsp dried lavender
- 2 tbsp dried peppermint
This recipe is based on the four thieves vinegar remedy that, legend says, allowed four thieves to rob the sick and dying during the black plague without getting sick.
Combine all the ingredients in a quart mason jar and allow to sit in a cool, dark place for at least 10 days and up to 4 weeks. Be sure to check it and shake daily. Strain it and put it in a spray bottle to use. Extra can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.
- Take 2-4 garlic extract capsules along with a good B-vitamin complex (especially B1 and B12) about 1 hour before going outside
Ticks are another example of a vector for transmitting parasites. Ticks are small arachnids from the order of Parasitiformes. They feed on blood and can carry parasites and diseases including tapeworms, bacteria, viruses, and more.
Some of the infections ticks can carry include:
- Protozoans (Babesiosis and Cytauxzoonosis)
- Viruses (Meningoencephaliits, Powassan virus, Colorado tick fever)
- Bacteria (Lyme disease, Typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Bartonella)
As I said about mosquitoes, it is important to remember only specific types of ticks carry each potential disease and not every tick is infected with every possible parasite/virus/bacteria.
Normally, I just combine my tick repellent into my mosquito repellent. To do this, simply add 5 drops of Cedarwood, 5 drops of Rose Geranium, and 3 drops of Vetiver essential oils to either the essential oil or herbal formulations above. Note, make sure to add the essential oils after you’ve strained the herbal mixture.
Also, the Internal Support from above works with ticks too! So it is beneficial to take 2-4 garlic extract capsules along with a good B-vitamin complex (especially B1 and B12) about 1 hour before going outside.
What to Do After a Bite
For any insect bite, here is the homeopathic protocol that is extremely helpful to avoid issues. There are two ways to approach it.
The first is to simply use Ledum 200C. After the bite, begin taking Ledum 200C twice a day for a week, then twice a week for a month, and finally once a week for a month.
The other method of approach is to take one dose of Ledum 200C on the first day. On the second day, take one dose of Hypericum 200C. On the third day, take one dose of Borrelia Burgdorferi Nosode 30C. If you have trouble finding these, I do have them all available.
Essential Oil Approach
Lavender and helichrysum essential oils are both beneficial to apply to any insect bite. Lavender, specifically, can be applied right after removing a tick. It is recommended to apply 1 drop every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.
If you find a tick on yourself, your loved one, or a pet, it is important to get the tick out. However, this must be done carefully. Here are some notes of dos and don’ts.
- Do not apply Vaseline, mineral oil, or anything else to remove the tick. These can cause it to inject potential spirochettes (bacteria) into the wound.
- Remove the entire tick. Use a magnifying glass to be sure you’ve removed the entire tick.
- Do not handle the tick.
- Save it in a jar for identification should it become necessary.
I hope this helps to give some ideas on how to naturally avoid some of our most common pests and how to treat any bites that do occur. Knowledge is power.
Also, let me know if you have any requests for natural suggestions for other conditions!
Note: Everything here is for information only. This is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Seek a qualified medical professional.