Now that every bug is coming out with the warmth that’s setting in, I’m thinking more and more about my family’s walks in the parks and methods of making sure my little boy and husband don’t get bitten by them. Myself as well, of course.
For this reason, I started mixing up my own homemade bug repellent and I’m doing this for a few years already. I prefer it to the store brought ones because I know exactly what I add in it. Plus… it works, as the past few summers proved it!
Everyone knows ticks are nothing to joke about, especially considering the diseases they can carry, and the other bugs are dangerous too. Not really a reason enough to run away scared and avoid spending time outdoors, but still…
Take my husband for example: he developed an allergy to bug bites in his mid 30s, after living his entire life without any problems. But now if a mosquito bites him, the area gets red and swells like a golf ball.
If he doesn’t treat that, he risks complications, like infections or who knows what. So it’s best to prevent these bites – especially if you can do so with a solid home made bug repellent.
In order to protect my family against these annoying bugs and their bites, I did my research over the internet for something more natural than the solutions I found in pharmacies, that I don’t doubt they work, but they are far from natural and probably they only repel just a limited amount of bugs.
I wanted something with a larger area of effect and fortunately, since you’re adding the ingredients yourself, this can be done easily. And over the years I perfect my concoction that acts as a natural spray repellent against mosquitoes, fleas, lice, ticks and bed bugs.
In other words, the most important bugs that can… well… bug you when you’re outside, are covered and you are protected. It all happens thanks to essential oils.
Best essential oils to keep the bugs away
The essential oils against mosquitoes, flees, lice, ticks and bed bugs are: Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Cedar, Catnip, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine.
You can buy these online or in dedicated brick and mortar stores. I prefer to get mine online from Amazon (affiliate link).
Fortunately, you don’t have to use them all in a super potion. Mixing a few of these will still work: I recommend adding at least the firs three on the list above, as they are the most important and potent in keeping the bugs away.
Citronella and Lemongrass also have a very good effect on bugs, so add them if possible. The others are more for a pleasant smell as they are not as effective at keeping the bugs away. At least not on their own.
If you want to only target specific bugs, unlike me, you can definitely do so. Here are some indications on what oils go well against particular bugs:
- Mosquitoes – citronella, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, catnip, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, rose geranium, lavender
- Fleas & Lice – cedar wood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lemongrass, lavender, orange, pine
- Ticks & Bed bugs – rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit, oregano, lavender
My Homemade Bug Repepllent Spray Recipe
If you are curious to check out my own recipe, here are the essential oils and ingredients that I use for my personal homemade bug repellent:
- Lavender oil: 15 drops
- Tea tree oil: 10 drops
- Eucalyptus oil: 10 drops
- Rose geranium: 6 drops
- Citronella: 5 drops
- Distilled Water: 60 ml
- White vinegar (or alcohol, even vodka works, I bet the flavored one gives it a nice spin haha): 60 ml
Just mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle and you’re all set! Just spray a few puffs and you’re all safe. Ideally, spray it over clothes as much as possible in order to prevent the oils from getting directly on the skin. Shake well before each use.
BIG quantities of essential oils can be harmful to pets and even humans, so use with caution and no more than a few drops.
You can always add more oils to the mix but make sure you use just a few drops of the final solution as applying too much on your skin can provoke irritations. Also make sure to use high quality oils and add the water and vinegar to keep it as friendly for the skin as possible.
Attention: This spray does NOT kill bugs, it prevents them from coming close to you as they hate the smell.
If you forget to use the spray and got bitten, these are some ways to prevent itching or pain:
• Apply lavender or tea tree essential oil directly to the insect bite.
• Apply apple cider vinegar to the bite
• Rub the affected area with a lemon slice
• Dip a chilled, already brewed chamomile tea bag to the bite to soothe or reduce inflammation.
• Hold an ice cube on the bite.
• Create a paste of water and baking soda and apply directly on the area
• A slice of onion has been known to immediately remove pain when applied to insect bites
However, if you are allergic to insect bites or if a tick bites you, it’s recommended to seek immediate, professional assistance. But this hopefully will never be the case, now that you have my recipe for making a really potent bug repellent at home.