Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes and Other Ways to Deter Biting Insects

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I was outside listening to my boyfriend play the guitar on Sunday and kept getting bitten. It was enough remind me that it’s mosquito season even though I’m not outdoors that often anymore. So I thought it fitting to share a natural bug repellent recipe that I found on Wellness Mama blog.

(photo credit: Good 4 You Herbals)

There are a handful of widely recognized essential oils that possess properties that naturally repel biting insects. These oils include: cedarwood, lavender, lemon, patchouli, neem, peppermint, rosemary, basil, thyme, citronella, lemongrass, pennyroyal, tea tree oil, geranium, catnip, and eucalyptus.

While the recipe from Wellness Mama doesn’t include all of these ingredients, you can use any combination of essential oils you like based on availability or scent preference. Her bug spray calls for including an essential oil blend, boiled water, and witch hazel though you can also make a repellent using an essential oil blend and a carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or even rice bran oil which I like because it’s light but effective.

Wellness Mama Essential Oil Bug Spray


  • Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint  (Natural, organic essential oils available from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
  • Natural Witch Hazel
  • Distilled or boiled Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (optional)


  1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
  2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using
  4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!

Be sure to visit Wellness Mama for other terrific recipe ideas including how to make bug repellent from fresh or dried herbs, a super strong insect repelling recipe, and other simple insect repelling ideas. There’s also an article for making your own natural homemade sunscreen!

If you’re not a fan of spray on insect repellents, you may want to try a handmade soap that contains essential oils known for repelling biting insects. While soap is a wash off product, my brother always takes a bar of my Lemon Mint Soap with him camping as it contains lemongrass and peppermint and claims it works great for keeping biting insects at bay.

You can buy natural essential oils for your homemade soap recipes from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also find a simple handmilled soap recipe for Bug Away Handmilled Soap on Soap Deli News if you prefer to make your own.

(photo credit: Green Girls Market)

If you plan to be outdoors on a patio or garden area often, there are plants you can grow that naturally repel insects as well. These cultivated plants include: citronella grass, catnip, rosemary, peppermint, marigolds, lemon balm, garlic clove, eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. Naturally having an herb garden that contains these plants by your favorite outdoor spot will mean fewer biting insects.

If you’re looking to harvest wild plant varieties, you can rub vanilla leaf on your skin to deter mosquitoes. This also works with mugwort, sagebrush, wormwood, wild bergamot, sweetfern and pineapple weed.

Note that the applications will only last up to one to hours and will then need to be reapplied. Looking to buy natural, organic essential oils for your own bug repellant? Be sure to check out the quality selection of organic essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.


Don’t let August bite.

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The school season and the lovely fall colors are right around the corner, but right now we’re stuck in the hottest part of the summer season. Temps here in Southwestern Virginia have already been in the high 90’s and low 100’s through most of July, so I’m leery of what kind of heat August will bring. I’m also not looking forward to the mosquitoes that seem to thrive in this kind of hot, humid weather. Seeing as how my son is involved in soccer and spends much of his time outdoors I’ve been seeking a natural alternative to chemical bug repellents like Off.
While in the past I’ve used the lemongrass essential oil that I always have on hand for my soapmaking, I recently came across a better alternative. Good 4 You’s End of Time Bug Spray is an all natural catnip based bug repellent that is ten times stronger than DEET. Combined with essentials oils of lemongrass, lavender, cedarwood, red thyme, eucalyptus,  and rosemary, this dry non-greasy spray provides the protection you need for biting insects all summer long. It’s reasonably priced at $5.95 for a 2oz. bottle from Good 4 You. Also be sure to check out Good 4 You’s other quality items including salves, herbal baths and loose leaf teas.