Essential Oils Make a Good Natural Insect Repellent

May 13, 2022

You’d better get ready! Blackfly and mosquito season is right around the corner. And this year, how about experimenting with natural insect repellants rather than chemical solutions? They’d be a far more healthy alternative, when you think about it.

Having done a little research, we’ve come up with some interesting alternatives which focus on the use of essential oils. Smells good, er, sorry…sounds good, right?

Early in July of 2020, we discussed the kinds of plants we could grow in our gardens or in our planter pots on the patio. Some of these were plants that would help keep the bugs at bay. This was with the knowledge that, at the time, almost all of us would be spending our leisure time outdoors in our own backyards or on our balconies and patios.

But bug season knows no boundaries! That being said, and just because none of us could travel out into the countryside or to the lake back then, it still meant we could get eaten alive right at home, too.

What’s New in the Bug-Off Department

Although not a new trend when it comes to holistic health practices and practitioners, many of us may still be unaware that certain essential oils do work as natural insect repellants.

This time around, we’re going to talk about the magic of essential oils and how we can employ them to thwart those nasty mozzies, blackflies and other biting insects. It may be early in the season now, but those bugs will come, no doubt about it.

Now then, let’s explore some new options when it comes to warding off those pesky bugs.

Essential Essential Oils

Bugs love me. They despise my partner. All my friends love me too, for nefarious reasons: they vie for a seat next to me when we have them over for a BBQ or some five o’clock cocktails on the patio. Why? Because they know I’ll be the one itching and scratching the day after an evening sitting outdoors – and not them – since those nasty insects seem to gravitate to my yummy flesh and chow down.

Well, I’ve got news for those bugs. This year I’m going to follow the advice of herbalists and essential oil concoctors! I’ve been looking into which oils in particular are recommended to keep the flying biters away without using harsh and unhealthy chemicals. My attitude is ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, so even if they don’t work. At least I’ll smell nice.

How to Apply Essential Oils as a Bug Repellant

There are several ways in which you can use them. You can apply them to your skin, clothing or diffuse them into your outdoor space.

Note: with small children, only apply spray to their clothing, not their skin.

5 Recommended Essential Oils

  • Arborvitae: This essential oil is derived from a type of cedar wood and has a lovely scent which bugs seem to dislike.
  • Citronella: Try to source candles made from pure and toxin free citronella oil. It’s known to repel mosquitos, ticks and fleas.
  • Geranium: Well-known as a repellent against mosquitoes and other biting insects.
  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: Not to be confused with lemon eucalyptus, it’s effective as protection against mosquitos.
  • Patchouli: Now there’s an old throwback to the hippie days! Many of you, like me, probably wore this scent back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Come to think of it, I can’t recall if I got mosquito bites or not. Do you? Did the bugs bug you? Could it have been the patchouli oil? It’s all a blur. One thing I do remember is its distinct aroma which, apparently, I’m finding out now, 45 years later, bugs can’t stand.

The bottom line is all of us want to get outdoors again after a long winter despite it being bug season. And we all want to stay bite and itch free in a healthy way, so if there are some non-chemical solutions that rival DEET, I’m all for them.

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