Avoiding the Bite of Skeeters

You have prepped the peppers, decorated with sprigs of fresh flowers, and hauled all of your chairs outside; you’re having a patio party. As you hang the last string of lights, the tell-tale sound of disaster flies near your ear…mosquitoes.

Repelling these pests doesn’t require a hazmat suit and toxic chemicals, however. Honestly, you may have some of these natural repellents inside your fridge or already in your garden. Check out this practical guide on how to apply eco-friendly bug sprays to yourself and your guests before the bites begin.

To create your own tinctures, in addition to the herbs listed below, you’ll need a carrier oil like neem, grapeseed, olive, or jojoba oil and a preservative such as witch hazel or vodka. Use roughly 20-30 drops of each scent you want to create to create a mixture of essential oils that add up to 100 or so drops. For example, to make a simple spray-on bug repellent, I would use 2 TBSP neem oil, 1 TSP Vodka, 30 drops lemongrass, 30 drops rosemary, and 30 drops of peppermint. Shake well, spray on exposed skin areas, and re-apply every 3 hours.

1. Eucalyptus

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Eucalyptus is known to repel all sorts of bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks. Rub the oil on your pulse points such as your wrists and temples. If you have an empty spray bottle, eucalyptus can also be mixed with other essential oils like peppermint and rosemary to pack a triple punch. Do not use Eucalyptus oil on children or pets as it can severely irritate their sensitive skin.

2. Bergamot

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This gorgeous garden addition repels mosquitoes effectively, but be warned, it can irritate the skin, so make sure to dilute it with water before spritzing.

3. Basil

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Effective when it’s grown in your garden and when you extract the oil from it. Keep some around for Italian and Thai dishes, as well as fighting off the pests.

4. Citronella

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Citronella is probably the most famous bug repellent, but beware, it may irritate your skin. This bright smelling herb comes in various shapes and sizes, ranging from a stringy bush similar to lemongrass, to something that sort of resembles cannabis.

5. Neem Oil

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Slightly pricier, but incredibly useful for a myriad of skin ailments. Dab a few drops on your skin before heading outside to the barbecue.

6. Lemongrass

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Lemongrass contains citronella, so it naturally keeps the buggers away. This herb is equally useful for many Asian, Indian, and Thai dishes and adds a fresh citrus scent to your patio.

7. Peppermint


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Useful for teas and tinctures alike, peppermint can be found as an essential oil or grown in the garden. If you don’t have time to make your own tincture, just crush the leaves in your palm and rub it on exposed skin. The bugs can’t stand it!

8. Lavender

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Lavender repels most flying insects and even fleas! It doubly acts as a natural anti-depressant,  can be grown indoors or in the garden, and worn as a roll on oil or in a spray.  Another helpful tip; sprinkle some lavender essential oil  in your car for stressful commutes or summer traffic. You’ll smell great and stay sane.

9. Rosemary

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Robust rosemary; an herb useful for focus of attention, clearing sinuses, and perking up a tired mind.  If you’re grilling, sprinkle them on your food for a savory taste and repellent, all at the same time. Or, craft a DIY rosemary scent in a roller applicator or spray bottle.

10. Garlic

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Eating lots of garlic can actually create a sort of barrier on your skin that’ll repel the mosquitoes away. Just be sure you don’t end up repelling your date away, too.

Give your feet something to smile about