Another plant becoming common in landscaping is beauty berry. Birds spread the seeds of this all over Texas and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

My family would take handfuls of the leaves and stuff them under the yokes of the oxen or mules to keep the bugs from biting them as they worked. Chemical analysis showed that it’s as, if not more, potent than deet. Beauty berry is exceptionally good at repelling mosquitoes, biting flies, chiggers, fleas, some ticks, and FIRE ANTS! Seriously! We have something that works against fire ants.

Now note that it is the volatile oils in the leaves that work. So if you boil or cook them in any way, you’re getting rid of the useful chemicals. Put the leaves through a food processor and make a tincture.

Now speaking from experience, we tried this and the only thing it didn’t work on was seed ticks. I would add lantana or ragweed to the tincture to provide complete protection. And as a bonus, if you use lantana, it will make any bites you have already gotten, go away.

ALSO, those beautiful berries all our mothers told us were poisonous and to never ever eat, makes some of the best jelly in Texas. Use 20% more pectin than normal.

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