Green Sanctuary Green Tip of the Month: Make Fleas and Ticks Take Off!

Every spring and summer, fleas and ticks cause misery to people and animals. On pets, they can spread disease and parasitic infections. Then, once bored with frolicking in fur, they may decide to feast on you! With the sudden spike in cases of tick-born illnesses like Lyme Disease, it pays to be prepared.

How do you get rid of fleas and ticks with harm to your pet, your family or the planet? Here are some tips:

~ Most commercial flea and tick sprays contain carbaryl, which works by attacking pests’ nervous systems. But carbaryl also can harm developing fetuses in both animals and humans.
~ Fortunately, there are less-toxic alternatives. Natural bug repellents often contain essential oils like geranium, citronella and lavender. Check out the recipe below from Wellness Mama to make your own.
~ Prevention first: remember to wear long sleeves, pants and socks when hiking or gardening and do a “tick check” after to make sure you haven’t picked up any unwanted stowaways.
~ Take a shower after spending time outdoors to wash off any un-embedded ticks and use only unscented deo-dorant, soap and shampoo.
~ To keep fleas off pets, add garlic and brewer’s yeast to pets’ meals, which makes pets taste bad to bugs. Many such products are sold in pet supply stores. But pets may need to take these remedies for several weeks before they work.
~ Don’t overlook the basics. Keep your pet clean. Use a fine-toothed comb or lint-roller on your pet to remove existing fleas. And don’t forget to dust and vacuum regularly. Fleas simple hate clean homes.

NOT SO FUN FACT: for every flea found on your pet, there may be as many as 100 more lurking nearby!

And now the recipe:
30 drops geranium essential oil
30 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
1 TBSP vodka or rubbing alcohol
1⁄2 cup natural witch hazel
1⁄2 cup water (or vinegar)
1 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
Place essential oils in a glass spray bottle. Add vodka or alcohol and shake well to combine. Pour in witch hazel and shake to combine. Add vegetable glycerin, if using. This is not necessary but helps everything stay combined. Add water (or vinegar) and shake again. Shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate some over time.