Essential Oils

It’s that time of year again!

Kids are bouncing off the walls of their school rooms anxiously anticipating the end of the school year so that they can begin their summer fun. All of us in North America have already dipped our toes into the first long weekend of summer. Typically, long weekends are spent socializing outdoors on patios, family based camping expeditions, gardening, delicious BBQ’s and overall enjoying the “lazy days of summer.”

Unfortunately, as good as all the above mentioned activities sound there are some cons that coincide with each. One of the main being nasty, pesky, and unquestionably annoying BUGS! During the summer, it seems as though most people spend a considerable amount of their time figuring out how to rid and avoid them. In all honesty, there is nothing more annoying than the buzzing of a mosquito in the air, a bee buzzing around your beverage, spiders crawling across your kitchen floor and ladybugs basking in the sun on your windows.

Here are our tips of how to keep the annoying behaviour of bugs minimal:

1. Mosquitoes:

Mosquitoes love dark clothing, lactic acid (salty, high potassium foods), floral and fruity fragrances, cooler temperatures and moisture. Be sure to protect yourself while outdoors to avoid any bites from these tricky insects.

Natural repellents are: Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Castor Oil, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Cedar, Peppermint, Clove and Geranium.
Possible other oils to use are: Verbena, Penny Royal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybeans and Garlic.

Things that lower repellent effectiveness:

Many sunscreens, dilution: rain, perspiration and swimming, absorption into the skin, evaporation from wind and high temperature.

Tips: When making essential oil insect repellents keep in mind that it is necessary to dilute them. Since essential oils do not mix with water it is best to mix with alcohol or oils. The ratio should be approximately 5-10{2f217b6ef4e944ec449aa2c625e1f0e1f43c0ee840d0a16b8bf46c3ef1173473} essential oils (10-25 drops of essential oils per 2 tablespoons of carrier oil or alcohol.)

2. Black Flies, Ticks, Fleas & Spiders:

Essential Oils of Cinnamon, Lemon Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus, Citronella, Orange, Rose Geranium are all natural deterrents.

Other Notes:

  • Safe carrier oils and alcohols to use are Olive, Sunflower, Witch Hazel and Vodka.
  • Be careful of using essential oils in sensitive areas and around eyes.
  • For optimal protection it is best to apply mixture after each hour or in situations where perspiration has occurred (exercise etc.)
  • It is best to keep your natural insect repellent stored in a dark glass container.
  • For something different, try adding essential oils to Aloe Vera gel for a change in consistency.

Home Remedies for Insect Bites:

• To reduce areas of swelling and itching from bee stings and other bites make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to area where irritation has occurred. Be sure that you take note on any changes to health (i.e. problems with breathing, severe itchiness and swelling.) Seek medical attention immediately if you believe an allergic reaction is taking place.

• To remove a stinger, use a credit card or pair of tweezers. If you are using a credit card simply add slight pressure to area of contact around the sting and drag it slowly in that it will push the stinger out. Apply tea tree essential oil as an antibacterial agent. Lavender essential oil will calm and soothe.

The use of the above mentioned essential oils should help keep those pesky little insects of summer out of your way! Kick back, relax and enjoy the summer months ahead.


1/2 teaspoon citronella essential oil
1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
4 ounces distilled witch hazel

Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray bottle.  Shake well.  Spray onto exposed skin, avoiding eyes and mucous membranes. Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed.

Purchase everything you need to create this herbal insect repellant recipe on our quick-buy recipe page!

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  • Hi! Great post! Just curious if this recipe is safe for infants and toddlers? Also, what do you recommend as a safe percent dilution of citronella for babies and toddlers?


  • Hi Wendy,

    Personally, I would not use any essential oils on babies. If I were going to use any on toddlers it would be at a 2{2f217b6ef4e944ec449aa2c625e1f0e1f43c0ee840d0a16b8bf46c3ef1173473} dilution rate.



  • Just curious…at the beginning of your post you state that castor oil is an effective repellent, but then go on to say that it attracts mosquitoes.

    Also, have you heard of soybean oil being a natural repellent? What about butters?

    Thanks for your post! As always, great information!

  • Hi Natasha,

    Thank you for pointing that out! We have fixed it.

    Geranium oil and soybean oil

    A repellent called Bite Blocker ranks second.

    The New England Journal of Medicine study found that Bite Blocker provided 94.6 minutes of protection against mosquitos. This is slightly more effective than Off Skintastic for Kids (containing 4.75{2f217b6ef4e944ec449aa2c625e1f0e1f43c0ee840d0a16b8bf46c3ef1173473} DEET), which provided 88.4 minutes of protection.

    The study by the United States Department of Agriculture ranked Bite Blocker number two in effectiveness after Repel. Bite Blocker was rated more effective than a synthetic 7{2f217b6ef4e944ec449aa2c625e1f0e1f43c0ee840d0a16b8bf46c3ef1173473} DEET mosquito repellent.

    Bite Blocker contains the oils of geranium, soybean and coconut and is available as a spray or lotion.

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