Using essential oils to keep the bugs away

The last few summers have been among the worst for ticks.

Add to this, mosquitoes and gnats and a host of other bugs, and a nice summer day or night can turn from amazing to a disaster.

My girls went to sleep-over camp in the Pocono Mountains, but we protected them with bug repellent. Not the nasty chemical ones that are toxic to the body (think deet!), but an all-natural one we made ourselves.

In today’s video, Kellie Bach is going to show you how to make effective, all-natural insect repellent with safe, healthy essential oils…

Packaged or homemade?

Going to the store or looking online for natural bug repellent can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a grasp of what ingredients are truly natural or chemical. Kellie decided to go to a local supplement shop to buy some. The store brand was actually well made and included many essential oils. And since Kellie works with essentials oils, she decided to make her own.

After some additional research, she found that certain essential oils are better at repelling certain bugs; and so after deciding on the ‘need,’ she developed her own essential oil bug spray and lotion. Here’s how you can, too.

What you need

There are different essential oils for different bugs. Here are some basics for mosquitoes and ticks.

  • Citronella repels mosquitoes
  • Rose geranium repels ticks
  • Lemon eucalyptus confuses the bugs

Since Kellie was making bug spray for her girls going off to overnight camp in the woods, she needed to combine various essential oils to ward off mosquitoes, ticks and more. She combined geranium, lavender, lemon grass, citronella and eucalyptus.

Additionally, you will also need vodka, witch hazel, spring water and a spray bottle to hold it all.

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What to do

In the video Kellie shows how to measure and mix the ingredients for an 8oz spray bottle of bug repellent. Here are the basics:

  • Measure 1 tablespoon of vodka and add to bottle.
  • Add in 40 drops of essential oils, combined. If you have 4 different oils, then use 10 drops each.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with a mix of 50/50 witch hazel and water

Make it longer lasting

One thing you will find when using store-bought or homemade essential oil bug repellent is that they tend to be short lasting; about 90 minutes until re-apply. You can add more ingredients to make them last longer.

Adding some pure vanilla extract to the mix extends the life of the repellent by about double.

Making the base from oils, like soybean, almond or coconut, rather than the three above-mentioned liquids, can make a difference. Those would be more for a “roll on” than a spray. Kellie explains and shows in the video.

Another is mixing the essential oils to Skin So Soft lotion. This lotion on its own is shown to help repel bugs, and when you mix the essential oils, it’s even better.


There is much you can do with essential oils and ways to combine with other products for different types of bug repellent. Watch the video to see how Kellie combined essential oils with coconut oil to make small roll-on bottles and how she combined essential oils with a specific lotion to make a longer-lasting bug rub on lotion.

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Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.