With the summer sun heating up we’re all ready to get outside and have some fun. But while you’re enjoying the sunshine and the beauty of nature, it’s important to protect yourself from pesky bugs and critters that are lurking among the grass or flying around your home. 

While the quick and easy solution may be to run to your local store and pick up a bottle of bug repellent or bug spray, these common household products are full of nasty chemicals that come with a long list of warnings and precautions. However, there are other natural and organic alternatives to these commonly used sprays that not only protect your health but also keep you and your home smelling fresh. We’re here to share our favorite six essential oils for keeping the summer bugs at bay as well as a few of our favorite recipes for bug repellent spray and bug bite solutions.

CEDARWOOD
Cedarwood essential oil is known to drive away pests, especially fleas, ants and ticks. You can diffuse it around your home or use it in a spray to apply directly to the skin. One of our favorite ways to use cedarwood essential oil around the home is to put a couple drops on cotton balls and place them in drawers and around the closet to help keep away moths as well as give you fresh smelling clothing.

EUCALYPTUS
In a 2010 study on the benefits of eucalyptus against sandflies, it was found that eucalyptus essential oil is more effective than other natural products at repelling, making it another great option for those looking to repel insects. 

LAVENDER
Lavender is a great essential oil to use as a bug repellent because it can be safely sprayed throughout the home and on plants without being diluted. It’s also very versatile and helps with mosquitos, flies, spiders, moths, ants, ticks and bed bugs. Not only does it repel bugs, but it also smells great and promotes relaxation. In addition, lavender’s analgesic, anti-fungal, and antiseptic qualities make it great at not only preventing bites, but also soothing and calming bites. 

LEMONGRASS
The grassy and fresh scent of lemongrass essential oil is one of our favorites, but thankfully it’s not a favorite scent of most bugs. Similar to citronella, lemongrass works to repel a variety of pests including mosquitos, ticks, fleas and flies. Because of its high citral and geraniol content along with its antimicrobial effects, lemongrass oil is known as a herbicide and as an insecticide.

TEA TREE
Tea Tree essential oil has anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that make it great for use as a natural insecticide and bug repellent. If you do happen to get a bite, Tea Tree essential oil is great for soothing and healing too. 

PEPPERMINT
Peppermint is a great natural alternative to help drive bugs away. A wide variety of bugs including ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fruit flies, spiders, wasps, and gnats can’t stand the smell. 

Bug Bite Treatment Options

Option 1: Essential Oil Roll-ons

Apply Tea Tree, Peppermint and/or Lavender roll-ons directly to bite to soothe and heal.

OPTION 2: CREATE A BALM 

½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup grated beeswax
15 drops each of organic lavender and lemongrass essential oils
glass jar

Add coconut oil and beeswax to jar. Place jar in a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium low heat. Stir to melt/combine. Cool slightly before adding essential oil. Mix well. Allow to set in a jar or pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers to share with friends and family.

Natural Insect Repellent Recipes

INSECT REPELLENT LOTION

Fill bottle with a nice unscented lotion Recommended: GoToob+ Silicone Travel Bottle Add 5-6 drops of organic lemongrass essential oil for every 2 oz of lotion.

INSECT REPELLEnt Spray

½ cup witch hazel
½ cup apple cider vinegar
40 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
8 oz glass spray bottle

Mix witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and lemongrass essential oil in a glass spray bottle. Spray over all portions of the body but avoiding eyes and mouth.

If traveling, pack your Tea Tree, Lemongrass or Eucalyptus roll-on
and apply to areas of exposed skin before going outside.
Make sure to reapply throughout the day. 


SCHOLARLY ARTICLES

Maciel, M V et al. “Chemical composition of Eucalyptus spp. essential oils and their insecticidal effects on Lutzomyia longipalpis.” Veterinary parasitology vol. 167, 1 (2010): 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.09.053

Shah, Gagan et al. “Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass).” Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research vol. 2, 1 (2011): 3-8. https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F2231-4040.79796

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