Make Your Own Bug Repellent
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🦟 Make Your Own Homemade Bug Repellent With Essential Oils

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Summer is a wonderful time of the year, but during that time we’re faced with the ever-growing population of insects.  Fight back against these pesky critters with your own, do-it-yourself blends of essential oils that repel insects.

Whether you want a spray for your plants, a candle to repel insects while you’re enjoying your evenings outside, or a lotion to soothe and repel, one of these recipes will fill the need.

What repels bugs naturally?

Essential oils made from garden herbs work in three ways to repel bugs

  1. Some herbs mask what the insect is seeking; they won’t even know you’re there.
  2. Some herbs’ scents are so bitter and unpleasant that the bug is driven away.
  3. Other herbs are toxic to insects.

Oils can be expensive, but a little goes a long way.  A couple of bottles of your most needed choices should last you the whole summer.

What essential oil is good for bug repellent?

Homemade Bug RepellentIt should be encouraging to know that most herbs are able to repel bugs, including chamomile, geranium, lavender, artemisia, pennyroyal, and many more. To make an herbal bug repellent, we use essential oils which are highly concentrated.

What repels bugs on the skin?

You can make your own homemade bug repellent for the skin.  This herbal mixture relies on two stronger repellents: eucalyptus and citronella, to which you can add other essential oils as you wish. Since both citronella and eucalyptus are on the smelly side, you may want to add lavender, geranium, or other essential oils to improve the fragrance.

  1. Make up the base in a tight-closing glass container.

The base includes either 2 oz. of vodka (a food quality alcohol) or 2 oz. of an oil such as grapeseed or almond oil.

  1. Then add the following:
  • 1/4 tsp. citronella
  • 1/4 tsp. eucalyptus
  • 1/8 tsp. each of up to three additional oils, such as pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, or cedar
  1. Shake the mixture thoroughly, and store the container in a cool, dark place.

To use, just saturate a cotton ball and apply to exposed skin. I often put a saturated cotton ball of the stuff into a plastic sandwich bag, to carry on walks in the woods or other outdoor events.

How do you keep bugs off you?

Here are a couple of recipes that should help.

Insect Repellent Lotion

  • 8 drops each of tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil, and lemongrass essential oil.
  • 6 drops each citronella and eucalyptus or lavender essential oil
  • 4 ounces of fractionated coconut oil

Mix essential oils together in a small bowl. Add the oils to the coconut oil. Put into a pretty container like a small glass jar. Allow the mixture to harden. To use, scoop out and spread it on your skin before you go outdoors.

Lemongrass Bug Repellent Lotion

  • 2-ounce jar or bottle
  • Unscented lotion
  • 5-7 drops lemongrass essential oil (you can add other oils for a different blend)

Fill the bottle with the unscented lotion. Add the essential oil. Mix thoroughly. Store tightly capped.

Insect Repellent Candle

  • 1 jar (mason jar, recycled pickle jar or any other pretty jar)
  • 1 floating tea light candle (can be unscented or citronella scented)
  • Sprig of rosemary plant
  • 1-2 slices each of lemon and limes
  • Filtered water
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil blends including citronella

Fill the jar almost to the top with water. Place 10-15 drops of your preferred essential oil blend. Stir to blend well. Add lemon and lime slices to the water. Add rosemary sprig to the water. Put the floating candle on the top of the water. If using tea lights, remove them from the container they come in, and set the candle on the water. Light when you are ready to use.

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Is vinegar a good bug repellent?

Yes, indeed.  Most bugs cannot stand the smell of vinegar, the only exceptions being fruit flies and aphids.

A combination of half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle works will repel pests.

Apple cider vinegar, white or brown vinegar works well with water.

What mosquitoes hate the most?

Surprisingly, mosquitoes are picky creatures.  They need their environment to be pleasant before they land on your skin and extract some dinner.

A dry setting

As you know, there are more mozzies after rain, or where there is standing water.  The female mosquito needs still water to lay her eggs.   After rain, it woul dbe a good idea to get rid of any stagnant water in your garden.

A smokey atmosphere

Mozzies are like a lot of us: they don’t like smoke.  You don’t even need to add any insect repellent – smoke naturally repels mosquitoes.

Clothes on the pale side

Lighter colors are difficult for the mozzie to see.  If you’re wearing dark colors, you’ll be marked as fresh meat.

Flowing or baggy clothes

Loose-fitting clothes are harder for mozzies to navigate their way into.  They find it harder to locate their target with all that fabric flapping around.  Baggy clothes will also keep you cooler and dare I say it, drier, which will be less attractive to them.


Mozzies aren’t the strongest fliers, so a fan or a breeze will hinder their progress.  They are also attracted to carbon dioxide, which moving air will dissipate, so they will go looking somewhere else.

Herbal essential oils

Eucalyptus and citronella are the most effective scents for discouraging mozzies.  We have included a recipe for a homemade mozzie repellent below.

Does Vicks Vapor Rub repel mosquitoes?

The famous strong smell of this rub will definitely put mozzies off, but the main ingredient to affect them is cedar leaf oil, which is a natural pest repellent.

If you’re caught without pest repellent and are bitten, the camphor and methanol also contained in Vicks Vaporub will relieve the itching.

What smells do mosquitos hate?

Mosquitos hate the following scents

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Orange
  • Cedarwood
  • Tansy
  • Peppermint
  • Rose Geranium
  • Eucalyptus
  • Blue Cypress
  • Cinnamon
  • Sage
  • Lemon
  • Clove

How do you make homemade mosquito repellent?

  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel or vodka
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil such as avocado oil or sweet almond oil
  • 20 to 30 drops of a blend of essential oils, choosing from citronella, peppermint, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, thyme, lemongrass, geranium or clove.
  • small spray bottle
  • 1.5 Tablespoons distilled water

In the small bottle, mix everything together and shake well.

As with all essential oil products, avoid getting in your mouth or in the eyes.

Enjoy your bug-free summer!

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