In Florida, the two most prevalent afflictions are sunburns and bug bites. One, you acquire through being outside in the sun too much, and the other is acquired at any time you try to avoid the sun. The mosquitoes are merciless at dawn and dusk. They are bred and born in the numerous, man-made, drainage lakes that prevent southern and central Florida from turning altogether into swampland. Aside from the mosquitoes, biting flies, and fire ants, there are ‘No-See-Ums.’ When I first heard a native Floridian say the word, I walked around calling the miniscule, biting bugs (smaller than fruit flies), ‘Nah-zee-ums,’ (as in ag-nosium), thinking I had just picked up a new specie-specific insect name- Not so. Ceratopogonidae, biting midges, and/or No-See-Ums, terrorize hunters, fishermen, campers, picnickers, hikers, gardeners, walkers, and anyone who just wants to stand outside in the shade. Popular bug sprays and citronella are sometimes not strong enough, and are ridiculously expensive when considering how much you need to reapply in Florida.
All the natural and homemade recipes I found are comprised of two basic components: A carrier, acidic liquid, vodka, rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, Listerine, etc. Plus, a list of strongly aromatic essential oils such as, citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, cedar, pine, lavender, or rosemary. I tried a few different mixes, and the no-see-ums would not yield! After three different combinations, I found a mix that is strong and not (nauseously) caustic-smelling.
• Witch Hazel
• Tea Tree Oil
I bought a handful of spray bottles at the dollar store to give as gifts before our annual group bike-ride that ends in a picnic across town. Start by mixing together two parts witch hazel to one part Listerine. Next, add 10 drops of tea tree oil per cup of your desired amount.
This mix is not harmful if you spray it in your hair, on your clothes, or accidentally in your mouth (not to mention, tragically, on your food). However, be sure to close your eyes, spray your face, and wipe away drips before opening them again. Dress the bottles with your own message, spray all over your body, and go outside to play!
- Tall Bottle Labels • I chose the “Persimmon Flower” style in Tuxedo.