Using Essential Oils as Insect Repellents

The last few days here have been unseasonably warm. I’ve seen bugs flying and crawling around that we usually wouldn’t see for at least another month. I don’t want to be bugged by bugs but harsh chemicals aren’t my first choice for battling them. If you don’t like using chemical weaponry try using essential oils as insect repellents instead.


  1. Lavender: Tuck lavender pillows and sachets into linen cupboards and chests of drawers to keep away moths and other insects while leaving that lovely, soothing scent. Lavender oil can be sprayed from an atomizer or left in a saucer to help keep away ants and insects while making the air smell sweet.
  2. Basil: I live near a river that has an extensive number of tributaries. In heavy rain or snow melt the high water table prevents the water from soaking deep into the ground so the surface stays wet longer. And wet land means mosquitoes. If you live near a body of water you’ll love basil oil. Combine a few drops of basil oil with water in a spray bottle and use as a natural mosquito repellent outdoors. Basil oil also helps control mosquito larvae growth. If you suffer from indoor allergies dust mites can be controlled with basil oil. Other than spreading diseases and causing misery when trying to enjoy the great outdoors I can’t think of a reason for their existence so offing the little wretches is fine with me, even in their larval state.
  3. Thyme:  Houseflies are filthy little creatures. Did you know that flies don’t have teeth so they vomit on their food to cover it in a substance that liquefies it. If that weren’t disgusting enough when they do that they’re also up-chucking a little of their last meal be it steak or dog droppings. Although they serve a purpose in nature they spread dirt and disease. Thyme is highly effective against houseflies and it works to repel mosquitoes as well.
  4. Pine:  This oil is a natural mosquito repellent.
  5. Vetiver: This essential oil also acts as a natural mosquito deterrent in the house.
  6. Bergamot: The fruity scent of bergamot is delightful but the oil shouldn’t be used as a topical insect repellent because of its phototoxicity (a toxic response that is elicited after the initial exposure of skin to certain chemicals and subsequent exposure to light).Instead, use it as an insect repellent spray. The oil can be used topically for insect bites and stings. Just don’t go out in the sun with the oil on your skin!
  7. Peppermint:  I hate spiders. I know they serve a purpose in nature but I’m convinced they’re all in violent gangs. They carry knives and fully automatic weapons. They try to eat you while you’re sleeping. I don’t want them in my house. Spiders don’t like peppermint oil. Dab some oil where you find spider webs and spiders run for the hills. Peppermint is a natural insecticide that doesn’t just repel mosquitoes, it kills them. Mosquito larvae exposed to peppermint oil in water are killed within 24 hours. Use it in standing water to prevent larvae from hatching into blood suckers. For insect bites and stings try this recipe: 10 drops tea tree Australia Oil + 10 drops peppermint oil. Apply to stings and bites undiluted.
  1. Tea Tree Australia: This wonderful oil is an anti-parasitic. It destroys or suppresses the growth of fleas, leeches, lice, and ticks.  Applied topically it’s also good for insect stings and bites.
  2. Eucalyptus:  This oil is more effective against blood-sucking sandflies than other natural products.
  3. Lemon eucalyptus: If you love a citrus scent this is a natural insecticide with a pleasant lemon scent. Distilled it is very effective against many insects and is not as volatile as the essential oil making it great for kids and pets. Essential Oil Insect Repellent Spray:
  • 15 drops of Lavender oil
  • 10 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus oil
  • 10 drops of Tea Tree Australia oil
  • 6 drops of Lime Citrus oil
  • 6 drops of Bergamot oil
  • 2 ounces of distilled water
  • 2 ounces of white vinegar

Blend ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Note: Both bergamot and lime are photosensitive oils. The spray should be diffused into the air but is not meant for topical or internal use. This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you and is not intended for topical or internal use.

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your physician before making any changes to your health routine. 

Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

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