Essential Oil Bug Spray
As summer approaches, the emergence of different species of insects can put a damper on plans and activities. Mosquito bites can be painful and itchy, but easily avoided with preventative measures. With natural insecticide qualities, there are several essential oils that can be used to effectively repel insects. Making a homemade bug spray is also a cost effective, natural and simple solution to warding off any unwanted bugs.
Did you know: Essential oils are a growing, natural solution to control unwanted insects. Over time, some plants (that essential oils are derived from) have evolved to contain natural compounds that bugs hate – this prevented them from being eaten by the insects!
Commercial bug sprays may use harsh chemicals such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) that can cause skin irritation or severe adverse reactions when accidently inhaled or swallowed. The effects may be more pronounced and dangerous for small children.1
Using essential oils for bugs is a more natural approach to fending off pests. Bug spray with essential oils is gentle on skin, convenient and have a pleasant scent. A natural bug spray is simple to make and can be transported easily.
The Best Essential Oils for Bugs are:
There following essential oils can be used together or separately as an effective essential oil bug repellant.
- Cedarwood Essential Oil
- Vetiver Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Orange Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
Cedarwood Essential Oil for Bugs
One valuable benefit of cedarwood essential oil is its natural insecticidal activity. According to a study conducted in 2014, cedarwood essential oil was proven to discourage the presence of certain types of insects. When cedarwood essential oil was placed between ants and their food source, and they were repelled by the scent.
In the same study, cedarwood essential oil was shown to be 100% fatal to black-legged tick nymphs. These results show promise for using cedarwood essential oil as a homemade tick repellent and may be an effective bug spray alternative for ants.
Vetiver Essential Oil for Bugs
A notable property of vetiver essential oil is its insect repelling activity. In clinical trials, vetiver essential oil has been shown to deter ants, ticks, termites and cockroaches. With a potent odor, vetiver essential oil can be used for an easy homemade insect repellent. It can also be combined with other essential oils for an effective water bug spray.
Peppermint Essential Oil for Repelling Bugs
The beneficial properties of peppermint essential oil can be used as a natural mint spray to repel several types of pests and insects. Due to the high menthol content, peppermint essential oil has a natural repelling effect against a variety of pests including ants and cockroaches. It may be used as a water bug repellent, natural centipede repellent, and natural cricket repellent.
In a 2016 study, peppermint essential oil was shown to effectively repel gnats in a controlled garden environment.2 At home, peppermint essential oil can be used as a homemade gnat spray and is often considered a key ingredient in gnat repellent home remedies.
To use peppermint essential oil as a bug or pest repellant, add several drops of the oil to a cotton ball and place it at the bottom of a garbage bag. The peppermint essential oil will function as a natural deodorizer and keep pests away.
Orange Essential Oil for Bugs
Beyond its signature aroma, orange essential oil’s properties can help naturally deter insects. The strong scent of orange essential oil is an effective way to repel insects as a spray, and it also may keep insects away from valuable plants.
Rosemary Essential Oil for Bugs
Rosemary essential oil may be an effective tool in bed bug management. In a 2015 study, researchers noted that after five days, rosemary essential oil was the most effective essential oil for bed bugs, killing more than 99% of the bugs in an isolated container.3 Using rosemary in an essential oil bed bug spray may be a complementary method to eliminating bed bugs from your home.
Essential Oils for Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can be a particularly pesky bug when people gather outdoors – the bites can cause itchiness and redness, and be quite unpleasant. A great solution to fend off mosquitoes and avoid these types of bites is an essential oil mosquito repellent. There are many natural mosquito repellent essential oils that can provide chemical-free relief.
The Best Essential Oils for Mosquitoes are:
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Tee Tree Essential Oil
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Citronella Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Mosquitos
The leaves from Eucalyptus trees have a distinct odor that is pungent and easily distinguished.4 This scent has the ability to repel different types of bugs, especially mosquitoes. As a highly-concentrated form, eucalyptus essential oil’s properties carry this same natural mosquito repellency.
In a 2011 study, researchers tested how effective eucalyptus essential oil was in repelling mosquitoes. Data showed that eucalyptus essential oil provided between 92-93% protection from mosquito bites. Using eucalyptus oil mosquito repellent may be an effective, alternative method to keeping mosquitoes away.
Tea Tree Essential Oil for Mosquitos
While tea tree essential oil has several benefits, its ability to deter mosquitoes has recently been explored. A study conducted in 2002, investigated the efficacy of using tea tree oil for mosquitoes. The study concluded that mosquito repellents which contained tea tree essential oil as an active ingredient, were able to provide protection against mosquitoes for over 6 hours.5
Lemongrass Essential Oil for Mosquitos
Known for its strong citrus scent, lemongrass essential oil’s benefits include natural insecticidal activity. In particular, lemongrass essential oil has been observed to work as a natural bug repellent against ticks, fleas, dust mites, cockroaches and mosquitoes. Using a lemongrass mosquito repellent outdoors will help repel various types of insects.
Citronella Essential Oil for Mosquitos
A well-known benefit of citronella essential oil is its natural ability to repel mosquitoes. While originally used in the early 20th century to fend off mosquitoes in India, today, citronella essential oil is a common ingredient in commercial bug sprays and lotions. Using a natural bug spray with essential oils such as citronella, will offer a two-hour period of natural protection before they need to be re-applied.
Peppermint Essential Oil for Mosquitos
As a natural insecticide, does peppermint oil repel mosquitoes? Peppermint essential oil has also been studied for its mosquito repellent activity. When peppermint essential oil was applied to the skin in a laboratory environment, it was shown to repel adult mosquitoes and provided 84.5-100% natural protection depending on the mosquito species.
Homemade Bug Spray & Natural Mosquito Repellent
There are many bug repellent oils that can be combined together to repel insects. Use these essentials oils for bug spray: eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and citronella.
Natural Essential Oil Bug Spray Repellent
An Essential oil bug spray repellent can be made comfortably at home. For an easy, homemade bug spray, essential oils and witch hazel is all you need. Use the following recipe for a portable DIY bug spray remedy that will offer ample protection from insects.
For a convenient natural bug spray recipe, combine 5 drops of each of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and citronella with 4 oz. of water and 2 oz. of witch hazel into a spray bottle. Be sure to shake the mixture well, and then spray on to exposed skin.
Before applying the spray all over, it is recommended to do a test patch first in case an allergic reaction occurs. This natural mosquito repellent offers up to two hours of protection from insects and mosquitoes and then will need to be re-applied.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus. (2015, October 20). Bug spray poisoning. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002763.htm
- Diderot, T. (2016). Evaluation of a push-pull strategy against fungus gnats. Retrieved from http://stud.epsilon.slu.se/9700/
- Feldlaugher, M.F., Ulrich, K.R. (2015). Essential Oils as Fumigants for Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory, 50(2), 129-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.18474/JES14-27.1
- Beyerl, P. (1984). The Master Book of Herbalism. Blaine, WA: Phoenix Publishing.
- Thavara, U., Tawatsin, A., Chompoosri, J. (2002). Phytochemicals as Repellents against Mosquitoes in Thailand. Proceedings International Conference on Biopesticide, 3, 244-250. Retrieved from http://webdb.dmsc.moph.go.th/ifc_nih/applications/files/17_Entomo%20E.pdf
- Ansari, M.A., Vasudevan, P., Tandon, M. Razdan, R.K (2000). Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technology, 71(3), 267-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0960-8524(99)00079-6