The Sweet-Smelling Oil Trick That Helps Combat Ticks & Fleas

Green grass, leafy trees, wildflowers, and walks in the woods are some of the highlights of the growing season. Chances are that the typical smell of bug spray transports you to past outdoor adventures. The nostalgia can be nice, but really, the scent is not. Plus, there's growing evidence that the ingredients in many of these powerful products are harmful to us and the environment. Thankfully, non-toxic options exist! The right essential oils can keep various types of pests away. A safe bet for us and our furry friends is lemongrass oil. Its mellow, sweet fragrance is great even if it did nothing more than make us smell better. Lucky for us, there is research that backs up its biter-fighting power.

Fleas and ticks can give you more than the creeps. For humans and pets alike, these reviled bloodsuckers can pass on serious illnesses. Fleas can leave our pets with excessive blood loss, tapeworm, and lots of discomfort. Ticks put both us and our animals at risk of Lyme disease and can leave cats with deadly cytauxzoonosis. Don't give these tiny fiends a chance by adding lemongrass oil to your pest-prevention bag of tricks.

How to use lemongrass oil safely

Studies have shown that when it's applied often enough, lemongrass oil can protect us nearly as well as DEET but without the many risks associated with this powerful repellent. Research also indicates that lemongrass oil keeps away other pests, including house flies and mosquitos, making it a miracle ingredient for summer fun. However, the high concentrations in essential oils can be irritating to skin and even temptingly tasty for four-legged family members. PetMD cautions that we should never apply essential oils that haven't been diluted directly on our pets. Some dogs experience adverse reactions to lemongrass oil, so it's crucial that you start with small amounts that are well diluted, and that you monitor your pet for any side effects.

A few drops of neat lemongrass oil on dogs' or cats' collars or our clothing like hats and bandannas (items that you're not concerned about the oil staining) are safe ways to apply higher concentrations of the oil without touching skin or fur. You can also purchase wearable diffusers that allow you to benefit from the full-strength oil without irritation. There are also pet-friendly diffusers that you can clip conveniently to collars.

An essential oil diffuser is a must-have for your patio this summer. Make evening barbecues much more comfortable with the pleasant scent of lemongrass perfuming your yard, keeping you itch-free and happy.