You aren’t the only one who loves the warm weather and outdoors. Bugs do too. And since West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes are now flying around Utah, Zika has been found in Florida, and Lyme Disease-transmitting Deer Ticks are expanding their territory across the country, it’s important to protect yourself and loved ones from biting, stinging, and disease-ridden insects. Instead of spraying yourself and your children with toxic bug spray that can harm your bodies, the environment, and other creatures (kind of counter-intuitive!), try these six natural and safe essential oils and blends to keep the bugs away.
Pure Essential Oils
Citronella is one of the most common bug deterrents. You’ve probably seen and smelled citronella in candles while camping or at the hardware store. However, many citronella candles can’t effectively combat mosquitos and other pesky bugs because they’re not concentrated enough in an open area. That’s why citronella essential oil is a better option because you can administer it directly to your skin, hair, and clothes (once diluted in water, of course.) Use citronella on its own or combine it with witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, rosemary essential oil, and lavender essential oil to repel flies, ants, fleas, and mosquitos. You’ll smell wonderful, but the bugs won’t agree!
Citronella is a derivative of lemongrass, so this essential oil in its pure form is a potent mosquito repellant! Mix a few drops of lemongrass oil with distilled water and mist it all over your extremities to keep blood sucking insects away. While lemongrass has a refreshing citrus aroma, it’s also revered in its raw form as an herbal ingredient for many recipes. You might see lemongrass in household cleaning products and perfumes and as an anti-inflammatory agent in some eastern medicine too. It almost goes without saying, but never ingest lemongrass essential oil. Use it on your body to protect yourself from bites, stings, and irritations.
Ticks are becoming a huge issue as the summers stretch on for longer and the winters stay mild. Deer ticks which carry Lyme Disease are of greatest concern. In recent years, these ticks have migrated from the Northeast to half of the United States. This is where geranium essential oil (specifically rose geranium) can help keep you and your family safe. Apply geranium oil liberally before camping, hiking, and hanging out in lush vegetation. If your dogs don’t have sensitive skin, you may even be able to apply diluted geranium oil to their fur to repel ticks too. Whenever you’re done enjoying the outdoors, do a tick check along the backs of your knees, nape of your neck, and underarms to ensure you didn’t attract any unwanted guests.
Sick of flies and mosquitoes buzzing around your ears? Have a problem with fleas where you live? Hate getting painful bites from midges and sand flies while at the beach? Eucalyptus oil can help keep these maddening insects away. While eucalyptus has a pleasant herbal smell to humans and it’s used in many wreaths and home decorations, this plant messes with the ability for mosquitoes to smell the carbon dioxide humans emit—therefore, making them blind to your whereabouts. Eucalyptus has been used for decades as a natural insect repellent and is approved by the CDC.
Blended Essential Oils
Bugs are an important part of our ecosystem; providing meals for bats, birds, mammals, fish, and other creatures. They’re just not so fun when they’re feasting on you. To protect yourself from mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and more biting bugs this summer, we hope you’ll experiment with these essential oils. If you’re looking for safe sunscreens to go along with your natural bug repellents, learn more about our favorites for the whole family.