Natural Bug Repellents

With the outdoor season just around the corner and Arizona temperatures already hitting 90+ degrees for the year, I am thinking about three things, planting my garden, keeping it watered, and bug repellents for evenings around a fire or chatting on the patio.  Now I’m not a big fan of all of that chemical stuff on my skin.  It smells terrible and makes me feel like I’ve doused myself in some toxic muck awaiting the inevitable superhero or villain mutation to occur.

Additionally, many people like more commercial products like Avon’s skin So Soft, which is a good product.  However, Avon and many other beauty companies engage in animal testing and other cruel practices that I am staunchly against and refuse to spend my money to further their inhumane practices.

My preference is for a more natural route but also something that is effective both for me and my furry friends.  So my plan of attack is three fold:

  1. Plant herbs and flowers that bugs and especially mosquitoes don’t like
  2. Make a wonderful essential oil bug repellent.
  3. Crafty Repellents


First, in your garden, you can plant these herbs and flowers as natural bug repellents.  Mosquitoes hate them and will naturally avoid the area. Plus you have the added bonus of the benefits of fresh herbs for eating and using in all of your magical workings and healings.  I can’t imagine a more complimentary way to go!

I like to plant my garden with crystals around it and create a crystal grid as well to enhance the plant’s natural energies and add another layer of protection. I use clear quartz crystals in a square pattern with  a central stone, activating the entire thing with my specific intentions.  However, you can use whatever you are drawn to or even just skip this step.  Here are some benefits of these plants besides just bug repellents:

Lemon Thyme:

anti fungal, anti-septic, controls blood pressure


arthritis, stress, circulation

Lemon Balm:

calming, relaxing


anti-aging, anti-bacterial, headaches


headaches, nerve pain, and cold sores


calming, relaxing


promotes healing, increases memory


boosts immune system


(calendula) anti-septic, heals skin in infused oil, cuts scrapes,


2. Essential Oil Bug Repellent Recipe:

I make this every year and can’t keep it around.  My friends love it and we go through it like crazy.  I find it particularly effective during drum circles.  I think the raising of the vibrations during drumming enhances the oils overall effectiveness.  If you try this during drumming let me know if you experience the same results!

In a 16 oz. Spray bottle.  (I paid a dollar for mine at a .99 cent type of store)

Mix 20% or 1/5 of the bottle with alcohol. (I use Brandy, but you can use Vodka, grain alcohol, whatever that is odorless and high proof.  This is your preservative and helps to evaporate off the skin.)

1/16 cup of castor oil (castor oil is the only oil that will penetrate every layer of the skin and is very healthy for you with great healing properties and will facilitate the essential oils to be absorbed better into your skin.)

Combine the following therapeutic grade essential oils:

18 drops of Citronella

2 drops of Clove oil

6 drops of Patchouli oil

20 drops of Lavender oil

6 drops of Bergamot oil

2 drops of Virginia cedar wood oil (use any one you have)

Shake well and as needed.  Spray on Skin and rub in.

You can spray on your hand and rub your pet down as well.  I don’t recommend dousing them with it; it is enough to apply to your hands and just coat the fur that way.


3. Making some simple, but easy crafty citrus poms

Pomanders are an old Victorian tradition of spiking oranges with cloves and adding beautiful ribbons to hang around during the holiday season.  This is a various on that for the summer time that works great to keep bugs at bay.

All you’ll need is some citrus, lemon or limes work best and some whole cloves.

Cut the citrus in half and stick 8-10 whole cloves in each half. Place them on little plates around your patio or picnic area to keep bugs at bay.  They don’t care for the smell, but you will.

I hope this helps you to think about some natural alternatives to keeping pesky bugs out of your outdoor spaces as well as some bonus in herbs and flowers for your everyday uses. Try one or two or make a lovely space using them all.

**Please watch for allergies, consult medical advice for any medical issues or reactions**

2016 copyright by Katie Pifer available at

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