a mosquito for post on essential oils for bug repellent

12 Best Essential Oils for Bug Repellent (plus tons of great DIY recipes!)

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From the beginning of summer until the leaves have changed color, insects are everywhere. They’re in your yard and they’re on you! As an aromatherapist, I’m always on the lookout for essential oils for bug repellents to make life outdoors more pleasant.

I don’t know about you guys, but mosquitoes love me.

What can I say? The blood of kings runs through my veins (or maybe it’s just that summertime scent). Mosquitoes buzz around like mad men looking for their next victim during those sweltering hot days in July or August when all we want is an ice cream cone on our porch swing without worrying if one will be biting us while enjoying this cool treat–but alas these bugs won’t let up

So, as I was on the hunt for a natural solution, I found all sorts of essential oils for bug repellent!

But there’s not just one perfect combo – you’re not limited to the recipes you find online or from word-of mouth, either. There are plenty out there so if your first choice doesn’t cut it, I have some options 🙂

An image of a mosquito and text that says Best Essential Oils for Bug Repellents Plus All Natural DIY Recipes

Protect yourself from these pesky bugs with some wonderful DIY recipes using essential oils for bug repellents including lotion bars or try using a few easy “Bug Away” candles to keep mosquitoes, flies, gnats and other pests away. That’s right! Essential oils for bugs aren’t just in sprays!

But if you do prefer a spray option for keeping mosquitoes , ticks, flies and other icky bugs off during those long months outside-of-doors this time around—try my bug repellent spray recipes – –they work great but unlike most recipes I could find online…these ones don’t leave any residue on your skin!

There are many different essential oils for bug relief.  You can find them here!

Protect yourself from these pesky bugs with some wonderful DIY recipes using essential oils for bug repellents including lotion bars or try using a few easy "Bug Away" candles to keep mosquitoes, flies, gnats and other pests away. Click To Tweet

Here are what is considered the top twelve:

12 Essential Oils for Bug Repellents

  1. Cedarwood
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Citronella
  4. Eucalyptus Radiata
  5. Lavender
  6. Lemongrass
  7. Peppermint
  8. Orange (and other citrus essential oils like lemon, grapefruit)
  9. Spearmint
  10. Tea Tree
  11. Geranium
  12. Frankincense

That’s a lot of options!  To make it simple, I’m sharing three of my favorite essential oil blends for keeping those bugs away. (These are great for repelling mosquitoes, flies, and ticks!)

You can add them to an outdoor diffuser, a roller bottle, a spray or even a lotion!

DIY Recipes Using Essential Oils for Bug Repellent

Bugs Be Gone!

Bug Out

No More Pests

  • Citronella essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Spearmint essential oil

Let’s start with some basic recipes using essential oils for bug repellents.

Mom and son use mosquito spray.Spraying insect repellent on skin outdoor. essential oils as bug repellent

DIY Insect Repellent Spray


  • 4 oz spray bottle
  • 2 oz Witch Hazel
  • 2 oz Distilled water (I honestly use tap water because we have good quality water here but if you don’t you’ll want to use distilled water)
  • Essential oils from the list above (20-25 drops for kids age 3 and up, 40-50 drops for adults and kids age 10 and up)

Be sure to shake the bug spray before you use it as water and oils.  Also, be sure to avoid spraying near eyes (I spray into my hand and rub on my face avoiding my eyes).

For young kids under 2, do not spray directly on skin, but rather spray onto their clothes.

Reapply as needed.

Insect Repellent Lotion Bars

What’s in my non-greasy bug repellent lotion bars?

Well, I have to say that there are a number of blog posts with pretty much the same recipe. And while they seem like great smelling recipes and all, personally it doesn’t really do anything for me because those types just end up being too oily or waxy.

My solution was adding a couple extra ingredients – but even then these stay nice and creamy without any greasiness!



Add first three ingredients to a heat-safe glass measuring cup or bowl.

Fill a pot about ¼ filled with water.  Place the measuring up in the water with the handle over the edge of the pot. Turn burner to medium.

Allow the mixture to melt, stirring occasionally.

Heat until everything is completely melted.  This could take up to 15 minutes.  Be sure that the beeswax is completely melted with no lumps remaining.

Once everything is completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

Then add essential oils of your choice (see above suggestions) and stir well.

Pour lotion mixture into silicone mold (like these cute bug-shaped silicone molds) and let them cool & harden completely.  This can take a couple hours at room temperature, or you can speed it up by placing the mold in the refrigerator.

Once lotion bars have cooled and hardened, pop them out of the silicone mold and store in an airtight container.

Infused water with fresh citrus fruits and ice.; essential oils for insect repellent

Bug Repellent Jar Candle 

This is one of my favorite recipes for essential oils for bug repellent. They are so pretty on an outdoor table, too!

  • 16 or 20 ounce mason jars (but any size you have on hand is fine)
  • Water
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • Rosemary essential oil OR a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 10 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice (see list above)
  • Floating candles or tea lights (without metal casing)


Slice lemon and lime into 1/4 inch slices and place in jars.

Add water to fill the jar between 2/3 and ¾  full.

Add essential oils to each mason jar.

Enjoy a bug-free night out using these amazing essential oils for bug repellent.

Anti-Itch Stick




Add beeswax, cocoa butter, and mango butter, to  a heat-safe glass measuring cup.

Fill pot with 1-2 inches of water and place the measuring cup in it with the handle over the edge of the pot.

Heat over medium high heat until all ingredients are completely melted, stirring occasionally.

Remove measuring cup from heat and add tamanu oil (or your substitute, as shown above).

Add Vitamin E Oil, raw honey, essential oils, calendula flower powder and colloidal oatmeal.

Stir well until all ingredients are dissolved and there are no lumps.

Pour into lip balm tubes (recipe yields 10-15 tubes).


Depositphotos 5924371 s 2019

Other Recipes with Essential Oils as Bug Repellent

General Home Insect Repellent

Keep pests from invading your home by adding about 20 drops of essential oil to 4 oz. water and spraying around the spots where you’ve seen bugs or entrances into your house (windows, doorways, any gaps in baseboards). Or put a few drops on cotton balls for placement wherever bugs are an issue.

Fruit Flies

The best way to get rid of fruit flies is by trapping them. Place about an inch of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of essential oil in a small bowl or mug. Cover the bowl/mug with Saran Wrap, then poke holes through which they will fly into but won’t be able to escape from due their size!

Bed Bugs

It’s best to get rid of pesky bed bugs as soon as possible before they spread. A simple way is by using essential oils in a spray bottle. Mix together 1 cup vodka, 20 drops lavender essential oil, 10 Eucalyptus essential oil and 10 drops Tea Tree essential oil then shake well until combined for the perfect solution! If you’re traveling take some along but when checking into your hotel room use this mixture around both the mattress area and near any belongings so it doesn’t hitch a ride home with you on top of everything else!


Roach infestation can be prevented by killing the roaches that are already in your home. While ants and spiders come into homes through windowsills, doorways or other openings, roaches usually get in via grocery bags, cardboard boxes or backpacks. To kill these pests more effectively use peppermint essential oils to create an 8 oz spray bottle with 20 drops of peppermint oil and fill remaining bottle with rubbing alcohol; shake well before every time you need it!

Pantry Bugs

Are you tired of those pesky bugs invading your pantry? Here’s a quick and easy way to keep them away! Simply wipe down shelves with a mix of white vinegar and essential oil. Citronella essential oil, Eucalyptus essential oil, Tea Tree essential oil or Peppermint essential oil all work great!

Ant Away

A recent study by the American Chemical Society found a clever way to keep ants away. All you need is some Cinnamon Bark essential oil in addition to powdered cinnamon! This messes up their pheromones and they get lost so they lose their way and don’t infest further.


We’ve all seen those pesky flies around. Doesn’t anyone want to just smash them? Well, it’s a lot easier said than done! But you can keep these insects away by making your own fly spray or diffuser blend with peppermint, lavender, orange and patchouli essential oils. For the spray, use 8 oz of water mixed in 10 drops each of the above oils.  It is recommended that this be used on windowsills and doorways where they are most likely to lurk so as not attract too many more pests into your home while keeping an already present one at bay!

Spider Repellent

Many people are afraid of spiders, but it’s important to remember that their bites can be deadly. One way to keep them away is by using peppermint essential oil! Simply mix 15 drops in a cup of water and shake well then spray around your house- inside and out where the spider might hang out or enter your home. Get on baseboards, doors windows porches corners rooms etc., you’ll have no worries about having these creepy crawlers crawling near any more with this great natural trick!

Box Elder Bugs

This is a great way to keep those pesky box elder bugs from entering your home. Fill up the bottle with 1 oz dish soap and 1 quart water, adding peppermint oil for extra potency! Spray around the perimeter of any area they’re getting into or across their path as preventive measure.

Lice Prevention or Treatment

Lice are a major public health concern for children. With the weather getting warmer, it’s important to be aware of this condition and take steps to prevent exposure in our own homes. Fortunately, there is an easy way that we can all do at home: mix some tea tree oil into your shampoo or conditioner!

The mixture doesn’t have any side effects but will kill lice before they get near enough to lay eggs on your scalp. So, make sure you’re prepared by following these steps when bathing – wash as normal first with soap and water then add a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with either shampoo or conditioned onto wet hair afterwards (both work!) Rinse well after ten minutes; repeat if necessary until no more live bugs

Garden Insect Repellent with Essential Oils

The solution to keeping bugs out of your garden is as close as the nearest 32 oz spray bottle. Simply combine ¼  cup liquid Castile soap, 1 tsp Orange essential oil, and 1 tsp Cedarwood essential into a clean container with enough water to fill up that size of a bottle and shake well before spraying directly at those pesky little critters.

Bug Repellent Bracelet

If you’re looking for a way to keep bugs away from yourself, make your own bug repelling bracelet! Simply braid cotton fabric or leather and wrap it around your wrist. Add Citronella, Lemongrass, or Lavender essential oils on the bracelets themselves with a few drops of each oil in order to help ward off pesky insects.

Which of these recipes for essential oils for bug repellent are you ready to try? Have any questions or need more suggestions for essential oils for bug repellent, just comment below or email me at [email protected]

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