Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 18:08:31 -0500
From: Maria Minno <afn10853.AFN.ORG>
Subject: Mosquito & flea bites
You might be able to sniff test the vegetation around your lagoon. Any very fragrant herb is likely to be an insect repellant. The chemicals in the plants that smell so nice are usually there to deter herbivores. The plants don't like to be eaten, so they undertake chemical warfare with hungry animals, hence the cornucopia of plant chemicals that are biologically active. Anyway, crushed leaves used like a broom or left lying around the house might help. Just a guess.
This may work with fleas, but I know it really helps with ticks and chiggers: Mix pennyroyal oil (just a couple of drops) with mineral oil (a bottle full), and spread it all over your skin. Since pennyroyal oil contains some very strong chemicals, you might want to rotate with, say, lemongrass, or some other oil, if you use it very often. That way you won't be exposed to it constantly. It's probably not that good for people if the ticks and chiggers hate it so much, but I'll wager it's a lot better than DEET.