It's Insect Time - Are You Prepared? Essential Oils as Insect Repellents

12:25 PM Posted by Jo Pedranti

There are several ways you can use the essential oils to ward off insects. You can make a room spray, a massage blend, drop some oil on the collar of shirts, add to a diffuser, put on cotton balls and put around the house. Another idea is to soak ribbons in water with added essential oils and hang them where you want them. Perhaps hang them in the trees surrounding your patio or in the windows inside. You can make a room spray of an oil like lemongrass, and spray the beds before bedtime to make sure no bugs find its way into the beds.

Bites and stings

Lavender and tea tree has historically been used for bites and stings and can be applied directly on the bite or sting but please dilute if you have a sensitive skin. Drop one drop of the oil straight on the sting or bite.  According to Valerie Cooksley, you can also dip a cotton swab in fresh lemon juice, witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, and add one or two drops of essential oil to the swab.
 Valerie  Cooksley, R.N. also suggests that chamomile, lemon, tea tree, lavender, bergamot, and eucalyptus provide relief for pain, swelling, and itching from bites.

The insects' sense of smell  is very sensitive. In nature plants release certain aromatic molecules, which are essential oils, to either  attract insect for pollination, or to ward off specific harmful insects.

Insect repellent essential oils

For mosquitoes: 
Lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, geranium, rosemary, palo santo, Iday tansy

For moths: 
Patchouli, palo santo

For house flies: 
Citronella, geranium.

Horse fly repellent: 
Idaho tansy, citronella

For fleas:

For ants: 
All mints

Aphid repellent: 
Mix 10 drops spearmint and 15 drops orange essential oils in 2 quarts salt water, shake well, and spray on plants.

Cockroach repellent: 
Mix 10 drops peppermint and 5 cypress in 1/2 cup salt water. Shake well and spray where the roaches live.

Silverfish repellent: 
Eucalyptus radiata, Young Living Thieves blend

You can also use an Antibacterial Blend (Purification)  as a general insect repellent, it contains the oils of Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca,  lavandin, and myrtle.

Other insect repellent oils are tea tree, lavender, Cedarwood, thyme, rosemary and pine. Cedarwood and pine should not be used on infants or small children.

 The general rule is to use 1% dilution for children under two years old, (5-6 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil), After two years a 2% dilution may be used (10-12 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil). So for older children it will be about half of the adult dosage.

Use the dilution chart to adjust the amount for the age of your child. The dilution chart will also give you an idea what oils are appropriate for each age group.

As always experiment, make your own blends  using the oils you have available. 

Make sure you read the safety page and the dilution chart to make sure you are aware of what oils are suitable for your child.

Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives.  
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

This post is linked to:
Monday Mania hosted by the Healthy Home Economist
Domestically Divine
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  1. Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

    Last year our campsite was full of mosquitos! No matter what repellant we used, we still got bit! My boys had friends stay with us for a week and the poor kids got bit up something fierce! I offered them tea tree oil for the bites and they were amazed at how well it worked. I'll certainly try your ideas for repellants. If they work here, they'll work anywhere! Thanks for sharing!:)

  2. Jo's Health Corner said...

    Some years the mosquitoes are so stubborn and it doesn't matter what you use. It happened a couple of years ago in California. The only one that didn't get any bites was my oldest son. He was taking MSM and Vitamin B complex, so the they didn't like him..

    Tea tree is a a must have oil during this time of the year..

  3. thriftymomma said...

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  4. Debbie's L'Bri said...

    I will keep this around when bug season starts for us in a month or so.

  5. Fruitful Vine2 said...

    This is so good to know. We've been having lots of mosquitoes lately plus it's been extra hot. Closing up the house is an option that makes us very hot so thanks for this Jo.

  6. Crazy Mom of Four said...

    I gave you an award!

  7. Robin said...

    Which one is safe for pregnant woman and children two and under? Is it safe to apply and than go swimming in lake water later or is that going to attract all the nasty in the lake? lol maybe that's a silly question :P

  8. Jo's Health Corner/ said...

    Hi Robin,
    Here is a link to my dilution page and it has a list of what oils are suitable for younger children:

    Here is my pregnancy post which gives you an idea what oils to use:

    This is what young living says about purification:
    If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilution not required; suitable for all but the most sensitive skin. Generally safe for children over 2 years of age.

    I have never thought about if the oils would attract all the nasty in the water. Most things that are nasty are very sensitive to scent and essential oils doing well as repellent for bugs and stuff..