Monday, August 11, 2014

What's with me and the bug spray obsession, you ask?

Ok, so what’s with me and the obsession with the bug spray? Well that’s an easy answer. When I was a kid, I found out the hard way that I was allergic to bees, and pretty much anything else that either bit or stung. For years, I spent Saturday mornings sitting in the doctor’s office getting a series of timed shots. I carried a bee sting kit everywhere. While I mooned over seed catalogs, gardening was pretty much out of the question. 

Thanks to all those shots, bees are no longer a threat to my life, however, I still have exaggerated reactions to bites. Like mosquito bites. They turn into large welts. But I love to be outside, hiking, gardening, or just hanging out watching the bees. My only solution was to carry the strongest bug spray I could find, with the highest concentration of DEET. I didn’t want it on my skin, so I had to hike in long pants and long sleeves. The same for when I gardened. Ugh. It was no fun on a hot day, but I just couldn’t put that crap on my skin. Then, if a mosquito would bite me anyway, I carried an anti itch stick. Which didn't actually work all that well. A wet summer meant I could easily go through five or six of each. 

Added to that, I don’t hike alone. I have dogs, and they need to be protected from ticks, fleas, and mosquitos as well. Every month, I’d buy the treatments and they’d run around with a greasy streak, which also creeped me out. Then my otherwise robustly healthy dog was diagnosed with lymphoma. She didn't last long and it was devastating. Of course, I can’t say for sure it was the monthly dosing of pesticides, but I’m positive it’s not the best way to go. 

Last year, early spring, I was determined to find a better way. I did some research, tried a few different mixes of essential oils, and finally mixed up the right amount of the right oils and it is completely effective! I spray them and rub it in about once or twice a week, or after swimming. Ticks around here carry Lyme disease. This stuff works against ticks. Mosquitos carry all sorts of nasty viruses, new ones every day, it seems. Totally works keeping mosquitos from biting. And fleas? No, our dogs have not had a single flea. I rub their bellies several times a day, and I would know immediately. 

It is not safe for cats - two of the oils disagree with them. 

I laugh when people are surprised it works! I understand we’ve been brainwashed that chemicals from super power corporations are the only way to go. They are not. B’Lou Bug Spray is a simple combination of oils from trees, leaves, and flowers.  And it smells pretty wonderful in a unisex sort of way. I named it after my handsome boy, Luther, whom I've nicknamed 'Bugga Lou', or sometimes, 'Lou Bug'. It  depends on the song I'm singing. 

Plus, the containers are easily recycled, unlike the chemical stuff widely available in pretty much all of the stores - read the label - any unused portion has to be disposed of as hazardous waste! Seriously. You are breathing and applying something considered hazardous waste to your clothes and your skin, the largest organ you have. So yes, I was willing to put a little effort in finding a better way. Then I sent a bottle to a friend in Georgia, where the mosquitos are as big as hummingbirds, and not only does it work there, too, she discovered it worked as an anti itch spray as well!! Holy cow. That was news to me. She was absolutely right. After hiking, I showered, and forgot my bottle in the car. I ran out to get it and was bitten no less than three times. It was dusk and they were thick in the air. I sprayed the welts, rubbed it in, and no kidding, it totally worked. The welts were entirely gone in about fifteen minutes. I can't even describe how happy that made me.

It naturally led to me ordering ten bottles to share with friends, then I quickly ran out and decided, why not order a 100 bottles and start a little business? I just ordered 400 more bottles, so yes, it works and people are sharing. I am having fun in my own little production space. And hiking with my dogs. It's my answer.