I think summer is by far the best season of the year. With warm weather, sunshine, backyard barbecues and beach vacations, what’s not to love? To me, nothing—except maybe the bugs. Thanks to the heat and humidity, mosquitoes, gnats and those dreaded horseflies come out in droves. And most of us resort to coating ourselves in chemical-laden bug sprays to get rid of them. But this summer I’m determined to take care of them naturally—with bug repelling plants and essential oils.
Here are 8 essential oils that can help keep the bugs at bay so you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors.
8 Essential Oils That Repel Bugs Naturally
Neem oil has long been used as a natural pesticide for plants, but most people don’t realize that it can double as a non-toxic bug repellent for people too. When mixed with coconut oil and applied to skin it can protect against mosquitoes and various other biting insects.
Peppermint oil, with it’s strong scent and tingly sensation, is great for repelling lots of different types of bugs. For the creepy crawly variety, put a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place in areas where you find spiders, ants and ticks. For flying insects, make a peppermint bug spray by combining 4-5 drops of peppermint oil with ¼ cup water in a spray bottle. Give it a good shake and spritz on exposed skin before spending time outdoors.
Cedarwood essential oil is extremely helpful at protecting against ticks and various other crawling insects. Simply mix 10 drops of cedar oil in ¼ cup of a carrier oil and rub the mixture on your skin.
Obtained from the leaves and stems of lemongrass, citronella has been registered as a plant-based insect repellent in the U.S. since 1948. Whereas most essential oils repel insects with their scent, citronella works by masking other scents that are attractive to bugs, making it difficult to locate their targets.
Geraniol, the active ingredient in geranium oil, has been proven effective in repelling a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, ants, fleas, gnats, and ticks. Mix a few drops with water and spray liberally in areas where bugs tend to hangout.
Lavender isn’t just limited to calming nerves and promoting restful sleep, it’s also effective at preventing bug bites. Diffuse lavender oil to keep bugs away from your home or wear it directly on the skin to keep flying insects away.
When diffused into the air, vetiver oil acts as a natural mosquito deterrent in the house. As an added bonus, it helps promote a calm, relaxed environment.
8. Tea Tree
We all know that tea tree oil is a green cleaning powerhouse, but it is also capable of suppressing the growth of parasites such as fleas, leeches, lice, and ticks. Diffuse it around the house or dilute it in a carrier oil and apply directly to skin to keep the critters away.105