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Stop Summer Bugs with Essential Oils

As the weather turns nice and warm, many of us are itching to get outside and enjoy some time under the sun.

Unfortunately, the warm weather means there are also many little critters that have been waiting to take advantage of the season, too. And when they come out, you might still find yourself itching, but for a whole different reason.

Nothing ruins a summer picnic, evening stroll, or swim at the local pool like an invasion of unwanted pests, which is why many people go to extreme lengths to repel any and all bugs. Modern manufacturers have spent years trying to perfect their formulas for strong bug repellents, using a wide range of petrochemicals like aldehydes, benzene derivatives, and other substances that could actually be harmful to the users.

And this they do in an attempt to imitate the things that many plants do naturally.

The repellant characteristics of plants are created down in the volatile chemicals stored in certain plant structures. These are the things we refer to as essential oils, and many of them naturally repel these summertime pests. With a few simple recipes and a little knowhow, you can create your own summertime bug repellants.

Safety First

These essential oils are very potent, which means you need to always use them as intended to ensure complete safety. So as you create your essential oil repellant, be sure to keep these things in mind:

  • Never use an essential oil directly on the skin
  • Always use a carrier oil to dilute the oil of choice
  • Always follow the instructions on the essential oil bottle to dilute it properly
  • Always label your repellent and store it safely in a cool place where children cannot reach it
  • Take any precautions suggested by the label on the essential oil bottle
  • Check with your doctor before applying essential oils to children or pregnant women
  • Before rolling the repellant out for public use (well, use by you and your family), test the oil in a carrier on a small patch of your skin, and then wait for 24 hours to see if there is any reaction

The Right Essential Oil for the Right Job

Making your own natural bug spray can be done quickly and inexpensively. However, different oils can be more effective against different types of bugs. And it is also important to point out that most bug repellant recipes are generally only recommended for areas where bites are more of a nuisance than a health threat. Don’t take any chances if there is a serious concern in your area.

For Mosquitoes

It doesn’t get much more annoying than swatting at these little critters all through the night. Whether you’re out camping or you live near a body of water, mosquitoes can be a real problem. The best essential oils for a natural mosquito repellant include:

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Citronella
  • Cinnamon
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Rue
  • Rose geranium
  • Sage
  • Clove

For Flies

The most unwelcome visitors at your summer picnic. You can swat at them, but they just keep coming back. Instead, try keeping them at bay with:

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Rue
  • Tansy
  • Citronella
  • Thyme
  • Tea Tree

For Ants

Ants can show up in your home as easily as they do your picnic. Instead of attracting them with crumbs of food, you can repel them with a selection of oils, including:

  • Spearmint
  • Citronella
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Pennyroyal

For Fleas

Your pets are also looking forward to enjoying the summer months and playing outside. Fleas can be a real problem, but there are some oils that can keep them away. You can try:

  • Rue
  • Lemongrass
  • Tansy
  • Lavender
  • Citronella

For Gnats

These little pests are normally the last thing people worry about when they head out for their summer activities, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Try these oils for great results:

  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Rose Geranium
  • Eucalyptus Globulus

For Ticks

These are serious biters, and while they’re not as common as mosquitoes, they can definitely be a real problem if they’re encountered. Make them rethink their next meal with:

  • Tansey
  • Rose Geranium
  • Sweet Myrrh
  • Eucalyptus

Putting Essential Oils to Good Use

Using essential oils as a bug repellant can be done in a few simple ways.

  • Bug sprays – Combining the essential oil with a carrier and diluting it with distilled water in a small spray bottle is a simple and effective way to get the coverage you need.
  • Cotton wool – Sometimes just a couple drops of oil on a cotton ball is enough. Place the cotton in the corners of your home where you suspect the bugs are getting in (and where they’re still out of reach of children and pets).
  • Hanging strips/ropes – Take a ribbon, string, or rope and hit it with a few drops of essential oils. You can hang those ribbons in a window where a slight breeze can spread the benefits of the oil throughout the room. You may also try dipping a string or rope in an oil mixture and placing it along the walls where bugs are getting in.

These are some simple ways to keep the bugs away and – as a great side effect – get some of the other benefits of essential oils in your daily life.

Some Effective Recipes

Not sure how to get started? Try one of these simple recipes.

A General Bug Spray:

Choose an essential oil that works for several different bugs. Citronella, lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus are good choices, and you can feel free to mix and match 2 or 3 of them.

Choose the carrier. Many people have different preferences, but if you’re not sure what you like, it’s hard to go wrong with natural witch hazel.

Fill an 8oz. spray bottle half way with distilled or boiled water and then add the carrier almost to the top. Add 30 to 50 drops of your chosen essential oils. (The more you use, the strong the solution.)

A Simple Lotion Repellant:

Fill a 2oz bottle with an unscented lotion.

Add 5 or 6 drops of lemongrass oil.

You can also experiment with mixtures here. 3 drops of lavender and 2 of geranium will make a good topical mosquito repellant.

Enjoying a Healthy Summer

Essential oils are a great way to keep the bugs away from your summer fun. Follow the recommendations on the oil bottles and make sure you always have some on hand and you can get the most out of your summer activities.

Extra Resources

If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from mosquitoes and other bugs, be sure to check out these resources, too.


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