Natural Bug Repellants to Try This Summer

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Summertime is here and it’s everyone’s favorite time to be outside – including the pests! And this summer is going to be a doozy as far as mosquitos and ticks go. Experts agree that an especially mild winter with heavy rains are to blame since this combination is particularly ideal for growing bug colonies.

So what to do? You want to stay protected, but conventional bug sprays can be stinky and not exactly environmentally friendly – you’re just looking to get rid of mosquitoes and ticks, not the entire neighborhood!

Well, fear not: we’ve got a few natural bug repellants you can use to fully enjoy your time outside this summer!


Get Some Plants

We know what you might be thinking: “Plants? Plants are what bugs eat and where they live! How are plants gonna get rid of pests?” And you’re right…about some plants. But guess what? There’s a whole slew of plants that’ll fit right in with your yard or patio that actually repel the bugs you don’t want hanging around including:

  • Marigolds
    • Put ‘em near your doorways! Their distinct smell repels mosquitoes.
    • Or, put ‘em near your garden! They also deter insects that prey on tomatoes.
  • Citronella
    • You may recognize this plant as a bug deterrent: it’s one of the most common ingredients in commercially made insect repellants!
    • You can also try some citronella candles! Just light a few to keep the bugs at bay.
  • Basil
    • Basil has a strong enough scent that you don’t need to crush the leaves to get its bug-repellant benefits!
    • Lemon basil and cinnamon basil are the best options for repelling pests.


Get Crafty

Got enough plants on your porch? Try making these bug-repelling mason jars! When combined, the scents from the ingredients in these nifty little decorations create a mosquito repellant strong enough to clear the area of bugs so you can enjoy your evening! Here’s what you’ll need to get crafting:

  • 2 mason jars
  • 10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops citronella essential oil
  • One lemon and lime, sliced
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • Floating disc candles


Get Out Your Essential Oils

As you may have picked up in our last tip, certain essential oils can help keep the bugs at bay as well! Dilute any of the following oils in some water (as directed by our friends over at HealthLine), add your mixture to a spray bottle, and spritz on like you would with any other bug spray:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Greek catnip oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Neem oil


Get to Mixin’

If essential oils aren’t really your thing, one of our favorite bloggers, Wellness Mama, has got a couple all-natural bug repellant recipes proven to work that you can use too!

  • Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray
    • You’ll need distilled water, witch hazel (or rubbing alcohol), and some dried herbs.
    • For herbs, she recommends peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, or lavender.
  • Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellant
    • You’ll need a 32-oz bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons each of dried sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint, and at least a quart size glass jar with an airtight lid.



With all these natural bug repellant options, there’s no reason to let the mosquitoes keep you inside this summer! Know of any natural options for repelling bugs that we missed? We’d love to hear all about it!

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