If you enjoy being outdoors you may sometimes find your joy dampened by the annoyance of dealing with flies and other insects. If you're a nature lover, spraying yourself or equipment with chemical repellents may seem an unattractive solution. Thankfully, eucalyptus oil provides a more eco-friendly way to repel flies and other bugs.
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As a fly repellent, eucalyptus oil can be used in a variety of ways. You can spray it on yourself or your pets to keep flies away. Spraying with a solution containing eucalyptus is a tactic often employed to repel flies from horses, and it can also be burned to create a field or area distasteful to flies that they will then avoid. Finally, you can treat an area of your home that attracts flies, or use it in your garden, so you can enjoy its beauty undisturbed.
No studies exist on just how effective eucalyptus oil is at repelling flies or other insects or how it compares to other types of fly repellents. However, countless websites tout its effectiveness as a natural alternative to using chemical solutions that are harmful to the environment. One thing is clear: Flies do not like the smell of eucalyptus oil, and thus tend to stay away from it. Lemon eucalyptus, in particular, is thought to repel flies by also confusing them, because it masks the carbon dioxide and lactic acid naturally emitted by humans.
Eucalyptus oil is often diluted with water or other types of oils such as lavender and sandalwood and placed inside a spray bottle. It’s then sprayed on like any other spray-on fly repellent you’d buy in a store. For creating a fly-free area, you can burn eucalyptus oil like you would any other aromatherapy oils. For long-lasting relief from flies, apply oil to a small cloth or rag and leave it in an area plagued by flies.
Homemade recipes that use eucalyptus oil vary in how much of this oil they use. Recipes that also use other essential oils known to repel flies may require smaller quantities of eucalyptus oil. Keep this in mind if you’re not so fond of the smell of eucalyptus yourself. If you choose to go for a simple water and oil solution, remember that the more oil you use, the more likely flies are to stay away. On the opposite end of the coin, remember that eucalyptus is still oil; if applying to your clothing or pets, you don’t want to end up with an oily sheen. Like any oil, it can leave stains on clothing. Always patch test first.
Conventional wisdom may tell you that, just as people who consume large amounts of garlic are less attractive to flying insects, consuming eucalyptus orally may have the same effect. Not so. In fact, while eucalyptus oil may be better for you and the environment than powerful chemicals, its safe only if used properly. Taking eucalyptus oil orally can be fatal, even in quantities as small as 3.5 ml.