The Essential Oil Combinations To Make Those Bugs Back Away

No matter where you are in the world, pesky bugs are most likely encroaching on your space, whether in your house or outdoors. With the warmer temperatures, the abundance of flowers, and eating al fresco, you're sure to encounter some creepy crawlers during the spring and summer months.

Mosquitos are an especially irritating insect, but a simple bite now causes concerns beyond an inconvenient itch. According to the CDC, the West Nile virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria are all diseases transmitted through mosquitos. Lyme disease is another insect-borne disease making headlines lately. The disease is hard to diagnose, but the CDC estimates that 476,000 people become infected with Lyme disease every year, making it the fastest-growing insect-borne illness in the United States (via

Of course, you can turn to conventional bug sprays and pesticides, but they are often harmful to our health and the environment for everyday use (via Made Safe). And once kids and those with sensitivities are added to the mix, a natural alternative becomes a better choice. But it's important to note that if you're in an area known to have disease-carrying insects, it may be best to stick with an EPA-approved repellent, says The New York Times. But for everyday backyard hangs and pesky insects in the home, the answer may be as simple as combining a few specific essential oils. 

The best essential oils to keep bugs at bay

Essential oils are extracts from plants found in our ecosystem. Therefore, it would make sense that bugs react to the compounds of plant oils, whether they are attracted to them or repelled. Research is limited on the effects of essential oils as an insect repellent; however, the studies that have been done and anecdotal evidence are promising.

You may be thinking that only practices found in alternative medicine utilize essential oils, but the United States Environmental Protection Agency actually recommends the oil of lemon eucalyptus and catnip (or catmint) essential oil as EPA-registered skin-applied insect repellents. In fact, studies show that the odor emitted from catnip essential oil, called nepetalactone, is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET, reports Science Daily.

Other essential oils that help keep bugs away in and around the home are peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, lavender, cedarwood, and neem essential oils (via Family Handyman). You may already be using these same essential oils to help alleviate anxiety and help you sleep, so why not try them out in some new combinations to naturally repel bugs too?

How to use essential oils to repel bugs

There are several ways to utilize essential oils as a bug repellent. Whether you're in need of a body spray, a solution for your home, or a diffusing blend for the air, there's an at-home remedy for you that's easy, affordable, and natural.

The first option is making a bug spray that's safe to use on your skin and clothing. But before heading out into the forest, it's important to remember that essential oil-based bug repellents don't last as long as their chemical counterparts. We love this DIY recipe from Living Well Mom for mosquito repellent. Combine the following in a 4 oz glass spray bottle: 2 oz witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, 2 oz water, 10 drops catnip essential oil, 10 drops litsea essential oil or lemon eucalyptus, 8 drops citronella essential oil, 8 drops lemongrass essential oil, and 8 drops arborvitae or patchouli. 

A great option to repel bugs either indoors or outdoors is with a diffuser. Add a few drops of peppermint or cedarwood essential oil, which almost all insects hate, into your diffuser and enjoy the pleasant scent and peace (via The Free Range Life).

Lastly, if you have bugs making themselves at home in your kitchen or closets, here is a solution from Healthline you can spray along doorways and baseboards. Combine the following in a glass spray bottle: 10 drops lavender essential oil, 10 drops oil of lemon eucalyptus, 10 drops citronella essential oil, 2 oz distilled water, and 2 oz white vinegar