Earlier this month, we shared herbalist Juiliette Aibgail Carr’s herbal bug spray recipe included in the Heirloom Gardener (Spring 2019) issue. After following the recipe’s direction to infuse the five herbs specified in the recipe in olive oil in a cool place for up to three weeks, the finishing touches required by the recipe to turn the mixture of herbs and olive oil into useable bug spray were a simple exercise.
Carr suggested infusing the herbs in the olive oil for one to three weeks, but the maximum period of three weeks seemed as if it would result in a more pungent and effective bug spray. And a cool, dark basement was a good, out-of-the-way place to store the jar of herbs infusing in olive oil.
The final steps were a cinch. Using a recycled peanut butter jar with a tight fitting lid and a small strainer regularly used for straining tea leaves, I poured the mixture of herbs and olive oil through the strainer into the jar. While straining the oil, I used a tablespoon to press as much oil out of the herbs as possible.
After adding the two ounces of cedarwood oil and four ounces of witch hazel, the oils and witch hazel were combined by shaking the recycled jar with its lid tightly closed for a couple of minutes.
Using a pair of pliers, it was easy to remove the plastic spouts in the perfume rollers and in the little cedarwood oil jars. And a small metal spout made it simple to pour the herbal bug spray into the perfume rollers and little cedarwood oil jars. The plastic spouts were then reinserted into the perfume rollers and the cedarwood oil jars.
The homemade bug spray leftover in the recycled peanut butter jar will be refrigerated and used later in the season, if not shared with fellow gardeners and hikers. It’s tempting to get a couple more perfume rollers to fill with the leftover homemade bug spray. As the summer heats up, and bugs and ticks become more numerous, the homemade herbal bug spray would likely be appreciated by fellow gardeners and hikers.
(Frank W. Barrie, 6/27/19)