Bug bites are one of the worst ways to ruin your summer. Whether camping, enjoying a backyard barbecue, or enjoying a sunset stroll, mosquitoes and other biting bugs can put a damper on your mood.
Worse yet, most commercial bug repellents not only make you smell like you work in an insecticide factory, but also contain dangerous chemicals like DEET.
While manufacturers, marketers and other DEET proponents insist that it’s safe and highly effective, the facts say something different.
Thankfully, there is a better way to keep bugs and mosquitoes away using essential oils instead of dangerous chemicals.
There are various plants which naturally repel mosquitoes and other bugs due to certain scents or chemicals that cause irritants to various species of insects.
Essential oils drawn from these plants contain an even higher concentration of these irritants and are extremely effective when it comes to keeping pesky pests away from you, your camping spot and your home.
Some of these essential oils serve the dual purpose of driving bugs away and healing the bites if they have already gotten to you.
11 Best Essential Oils For Bug Bites & Mosquito Repellent
Naturally Made Essentials
Naturally Made Essentials
Naturally Made Essentials
*The companies chosen above are based upon my personal opinion based upon me giving them a try and testing their quality.
Though there are at least two dozen of these oils, this article will present 11 best essential oils for bug bites and mosquito repellant.
We’ll show you how to keep the biting bugs and mosquitoes off of your skin, how to keep them out of your home, how to keep them from bugging you when you have an outdoor barbecue or go camping, and how to heal bug bites using essential oils.
In addition, we’ll provide you with some oil blends and recipes for mixing your own repellents at home, advise you on which oils will take care of itching best, and wrap things up with 9 natural remedies you can use to heal bug and mosquito bites.
Banish Those Bloodsucking Buggers from Your Skin
Keeping biting bugs and mosquitoes off of your skin can be accomplished through using various essential oils.
These oils are typically diluted by mixing them with other oils applied by rubbing them on exposed skin or mixed in a water-based mixture and sprayed on using a mist.
Thyme Essential Oil
Extracted from the common cooking herb, thyme, this essential oil is very safe to use and research shows that it is very effective at discouraging mosquitoes from sticking around.
It's combination of chemical compounds including: thymol, linalool, and myrcene were shown by a study in Thailand to be among the effective ingredients for driving mosquitoes away.
Neem Essential Oil
Another essential oil that can be used on your skin to keep biting bugs at bay is Neem oil.
Also known as Indian Lilac, the oil extracted from the leaves of this evergreen tree has a history of being used as a natural pesticide by organic farmers, but it is a safe alternative to harsh chemicals to apply to your skin as well.
Cedar Essential Oil
If you prefer more of a woody scent applied to your skin, then cedar or cedarwood essential oil is a bug repellent solution to consider as well.
This oil is extracted from the wood of cedar trees. It contains cedrol and cedrene, which are both irritants to biting bugs.
Cedar oil is also proven to be extremely effective at repelling malarial mosquitoes.
Evict All Unwanted Bugs from Your Home
Mosquitoes and biting bugs can even get inside your home or your summer cabin by the lake during those balmier months and do their damage when you least expect it.
There are a number of essential oils that double as natural household cleaners and bug repellent. So, you can accomplish two purposes with one oil.
These oils are typically mixed with natural soaps or vinegar to create a cleaner.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
One of the best essential oils to use in your home for cleaning is lemongrass essential oil.
Besides having excellent antimicrobial and disinfecting properties, this oil also contains C. Nardus from which the citronella mosquito repellent is derived.
Lemongrass oil also has a fresh lemony scent that makes your home smell clean and fresh.
Pine Essential Oil
Another powerful essential oil for repelling bugs and mosquitoes is pine oil. This oil is extracted from the stumps, cones, needles and twigs of the pine tree through steam distillation.
Besides having powerful disinfecting properties for cleaning, but Indian researchers in New Delhi determined that it “showed strong repellent action against An. culicifacies (malaria vector) and Cx. quinquefasciatus (pest mosquito).”
Should we mention how wonderful your home smells when you clean with pine oil?
Catnip Essential Oil
If you clean with catnip essential oil, you are bound to make your cat very happy.
However, even if feline felicity is not your goal, you can enjoy the fact that it is an excellent repellent for mosquitoes. Whether they are irritated by it or simply don’t like the smell is unknown.
Though catnip oil does not seem to have any cleaning or disinfecting properties of its own, adding it into other natural cleaners contributes a minty scent that drives away mosquitoes.
Oh, and it’s also an excellent repellent for cockroaches.
Prevent Unwanted Pests from Ruining Your Backyard Party
There are few things that can spoil a backyard barbecue faster than a throng of biting bugs.
Obviously, you could douse all your guests in your essential oil repellents, but you can also make use of either of two powerful essential oils, mixed into burning candles and set in strategic locations around the perimeter of your party as well.
Citronella Essential Oil
Everyone has heard of burning citronella candles at a backyard barbecue and you have probably tried this method too. It is a popular solution because it works.
Citronella is similar to lemongrass oil; in fact, it is made by extracting oil from several different species of lemongrass in order to make it.
Citronella has been proven to be specifically effective against the types of mosquitoes which transmit yellow fever, Dengue and Zika viruses.
Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This essential oil is not quite as well-known as its non-lemony cousin, but it is a very potent mosquito and bug repellent.
It is extracted from the leaves and bark of the lemon eucalyptus tree and has nearly 80% citronellal in its chemical makeup as well as significant amounts of eucalyptol, linalool and limonene, which are all known to have bug repellent properties.
This oil is such an effective and safe repellent that it is used commercially in the repellent known as PMD, considered a safe alternative to repellents containing DEET.
Sooth Those Bug Bites Using the Power of Essential Oil
If you were too late at repelling those biting bugs, you can still fight back against the itching, burning and irritation they caused using essential oils.
There are a number of essential oils that can help, but the three we are about to list are among the most effective.
When mixing essential oils for topical application, it’s almost always recommended to dilute them with a carrier oil. That is especially true with the first oil on our list, but not necessarily true with the second two.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil, when diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the skin provides a cooling sensation that is exactly what you need after a bug bite.
Besides providing cooling relief, it is also effective as an analgesic as well as an anti-inflammatory. In addition, peppermint oil is acts as a natural antimicrobial agent, which reduces the risk of infection in and around the bite.
If that wasn’t enough, peppermint oil will also deter other bugs from getting a piece of you as well.
Lavender Essential Oil
Relaxation and headache relief are the most well-known uses of lavender essential oil, but lavender oil is also known to be effective for treating bug and mosquito bites.
It works as both an analgesic, anti-inflammatory agent, and as a wound healing compound. Lavender essential oil can often be used without the necessity of a carrier oil.
A topper to it all is that lavender oil can also work as a mosquito repellent. That’s good news if you desire a more pleasant scent when it comes to your mosquito repellent.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is a powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial agent. It has been used by Australian aborigines for hundreds of years to treat skin irritations and heal wounds.
A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology notes “that tea tree oil can reduce histamine‐induced skin inflammation.”
In such manner, it helps to relieve itching and swelling and limits any allergic reactions that also might be present. This oil is another that can typically be used without being diluted with a carrier oil.
Essential Oil Blends & Recipes You Can Make
Bug Banishing Repellent Spray
To make an effective bug repellent spray that will stay on your skin and keep those buggers at bay, you can follow this recipe:
Essential Oil Candles for Your Backyard Barbecue
To make essential oil candles to burn at your next backyard barbecue, you will first have to learn how to make candles, which can be accomplished by following the direction.
In the place where this guide tells you to add in scents, you can use the following combination of essential oils for a “green” scent:
Essential Oil Recipe for Cleaning Your Floors and Repelling Insects
Cleaning your home using essential oils is another way to help naturally disinfect as well as repel mosquitoes and other bugs from taking up residence along with you.
Add in 1 gallon of hot water and stir it all together before mopping.
There are numerous blends and recipes to discover and try out throughout the web if you are looking for cleaning and repellent solutions which utilize essential oils as part of their components instead of harmful chemicals.
Which essential oil is good for itching?
Among our discussions above, we talked about how to heal bug bites, but a question that is often asked about bug bites is how to get rid of the itching.
The oils we discussed above will help with the itching, especially, tea tree oil. However, there are some others that are also very effective against itching, and, well, we feel bad about that lemongrass and citronella thing, so you will get the added bonus of two more essential oils from our list.
These anti-itch essential oils have sort of a Christmassy sound to them so they should be easy to remember:
9 Natural Remedies Bugs and Mosquitoes Bites
Though essential oils can certainly take care of healing bites from bugs and mosquitoes, there are other natural remedies that utilize the power of various foods, herbs, spices and common household items in order to relief the symptoms of bug and mosquito bites as well as promote healing.
Here is a brief list of those nine natural remedies:
1. Banana Peel: Banana peels are high in calcium, which helps heal the bites. You use it by rubbing the moist side of the banana peel against the affected area and allowing it to dry in place. It does have a drawback though; it might attract more biting bugs.
2. Honey: Honey has both natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties to promote wound healing. It also helps prevent the venom of the bite from spreading.
You simply smear it on and go, but it might also attract more biting bugs as well.
3. Basil Leaves: Basil leaves have anti-inflammatory properties to help bring down the swelling around the bite.
You need only boil a few basil leaves until they are tender, allow them to cool a bit and then place the moist leaves over the bite in order to get relief. Unlike the two sweeties above, basil leaves have a tendency to repel bugs.
4. Aloe Vera: The gel of the aloe vera plant is one of the most potent wound healing compounds found in nature.
Not only does it promote healing, but it soothes burning and itching while reducing swelling. You simply cut open a shoot, scrape out some gel and smear it over and around the bite area.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is well-known for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, ACV also helps to balance out any acids from the bite and helps to sooth the burning in the area.
Dilute ACV in equal parts water and use a cotton ball or gauze cloth to apply the solution over the affected area.
6. Oatmeal: The vitamins, minerals and other phyto-nutrients found in oatmeal help to sooth itching and burning as well as promote healing.
You can either make plain oatmeal without flavors and additives and apply the cooled paste over the affected area, or soak in a warm bath with 1 cup of ground oats mixed in to get relief.
7. Baking Soda: This common household item helps to balance out the acids in and around the affected area in order to promote healing and bring relief to itching and burning.
Mix just enough water into 1 Tbsp of baking soda to create a thick paste. Apply this paste over the bite and allow it to dry in place before rinsing off.
8. Onion: This one is probably a surprise, but it cannot be left off the list because it is one of the best remedies available in your pantry.
The sulfides of onions, which are also found in garlic, are extremely effective at soothing the sting, burn and itch of bug bites while reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
Place ¼ to ½ of an onion in your food processor and puree it into a paste. Apply this paste to the bite and cover it to hold it in place for 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Witch Hazel Extract: This is a natural astringent extracted from the witch hazel herb. It has tannins that help to draw down swelling and remove toxins from the area in and around the bite.
Simply soak a cotton ball in witch hazel extract, gently dab it over the bite area and allow it to dry out on its own.
In combination with using essential oils, these home remedies only add more to your arsenal when it comes to dealing with bug and mosquito bites.
These nine are a good start, but there are plenty of others to discover and try out as well.
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Final Thoughts About Essential Oils for Bugs
There is no point in allowing bugs and mosquitoes to spoil your summer fun and there is no reason to put your health or the health of your family at risk by using dangerous chemicals to repel insects and mosquitoes.
Fight back against the insect invasion by making use of the 11 best essential oils for bug bites and mosquito repellent.
With these essential oils you can:
Essential oil blends and recipes can be particularly helpful in achieving all of these goals. Besides essential oils, there are also lots of other natural remedies to help bring relief whenever bugs and mosquitoes get a piece of you.
Don’t let your summer fun be spoiled by bug bites. Arm yourself with the best essential oils for bug bites and mosquito repellent by adding a few to your arsenal before the summer is over and be certain to have plenty on hand when summer returns and the battle begins all over again.