Tak­ing the bite out of sum­mer

Syd­ney com­pany makes chem­i­cal-free bug spray

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN CAPE BRE­TON POST nicole­j­sul­li­van@icloud.com

Bug sea­son is upon us and for many peo­ple the thought of spray­ing chem­i­cal-aden bug re­pel­lents on them­selves or their kids is a re­pel­lent in it­self. But what do you do to keep those crit­ters from bit­ing?

Am­ber Tap­ley and her com­pany Black­bird Heal­ing have a so­lu­tion — lo­cally made, chem­i­cal-free bug spray.

It is a com­bi­na­tion of rose­mary, worm­wood and rue that is pounded down then added to oil to in­fuse for two weeks. Af­ter that Tap­ley adds vine­gar and the bug re­pel­lent is ready. The recipe is from Juli­ette de Bari­a­cli Levy’s book “Trav­eller’s Joy” and Tap­ley, who is a folk herbal­ist and doula, says it is very ef­fec­tive.

“It needs to be reap­plied of­ten,” she ex­plains. “I like it be­cause it is safe for chil­dren and I can also make it a bit stronger with eu­ca­lyp­tus oil for adults.

“I find it re­ally great for mosquitoes and black flies.”

For Tap­ley, the quest to find a nat­u­ral so­lu­tion to keep­ing the bugs away started two years ago and was driven by the de­sire to find a safer op­tion to bug sprays with chem­i­cals like DEET for her­self and her fam­ily. Ac­cord­ing to Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can mag­a­zine, a study done in the 1980s on em­ploy­ees at the Ever­glades Na­tional Park, who used DEET-based bug sprays daily, found 25 per cent of the sub­jects had nega­tive ef­fects from the chem­i­cal, in­clud­ing numb or burn­ing lips, skin ir­ri­ta­tion and rashes, nau­sea and even dif­fi­culty con­cen­trat­ing.

The home­made bug spray keeps the bugs away with­out chem­i­cals be­cause they don’t like the scent of the herbs so they won’t bite you, a much bet­ter so­lu­tion to Tap­ley and she thinks more peo­ple are look­ing for safer op­tions to DEET.

“I think it is a grow­ing num­ber,” she says, “It is hard to tell be­cause I am sur­rounded by nice hippie types, but I do think there is a grow­ing mar­ket for it. All over the world peo­ple want health­ier food, health­ier choices for their makeup, their sham­poo, their bug spray.”

Tap­ley also says cu­rios­ity is one of the main re­ac­tions she gets from peo­ple when they learn about her bug spray but hap­pily re­ports that most of the peo­ple who have tried it have found it very ef­fec­tive for Cape Bre­ton sum­mers.

Tap­ley’s Black­bird Heal­ing bug spray will be avail­able for sale at the farm­ers mar­ket start­ing in July. You can also pre-order some through her Face­book page https://www.face­book.com/am­ber.dawn.3975 . A bot­tle costs $15 but you don’t need much and it lasts a long time.

“I used one whole bot­tle last sum­mer, for my­self and my son. Be­cause it is oil it doesn’t ab­sorb in your skin fast so you don’t need a lot.”


Am­ber Tap­ley holds a bot­tle of her home­made, chem­i­cal-free bug spray.

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