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10 Essential Oils that Naturally Repel Insects

10 Essential Oils that Naturally Repel Insects

By: Jami Oles, HHP, CNT, CCNS

Ah, summertime! It’s that time of year to relax out on the porch, sip some lavender iced-tea, and watch the sun slowly dip behind the tree line. But if there’s one thing that can snap you straight out of that soothing summer bliss, it’s mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies found around your home!
Instead of slathering DEET a known neurotoxin, here are ten fabulous essential oils that are effective natural insect repellents backed by science:

  1. Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

When you think of lavender, relaxation and restful sleep are usually the first things that come to mind. But along with its lovely floral aroma and soothing qualities, lavender is also effective at battling the bugs.

Lavender pillows and sachets are wonderful in linen cupboards and chests of drawers and will keep away moths and other insects while leaving a fresh scent. Lavender oil can be sprayed from an atomizer or left in a saucer to help keep away ants and insects, and to disinfect the air.

  1. Basil Ocimum basilicum (L.)

Not just a zesty addition to your tomato sauce, basil essential oil is ideal for summer pest control, especially if you live in a wet climate with lots of lakes and ponds. One study showed O. basilicum exhibiting both mosquito repellent and larvicidal activity.

Basil is an uplifting oil, so add some to an atomizer and spray outside for a natural mosquito repellent and a well-deserved mood boost!

Additionally, if you suffer from indoor allergies on those rainy, summer days, a 2014 study also concluded that practical dust mite control can be achieved with basil oil. Yet another reason to clean green with versatile essential oils!

  1. Thyme Thymus vulgaris (L.)

I think all of us can agree that the common housefly is one of the most aggravating creatures on the planet. If you’ve ever lived on a farm, these pests are even more of a headache! Lucky for us, thyme has been found to be a highly effective insecticide against houseflies. A 2005 study also found thyme to be an excellent mosquito repellent as well.Win, win!

  1. Pine Pinus sylvestris (L.)

If you love camping but despise using Deet or other chemical bug sprays, pine is your perfect companion. A natural repellent against mosquitoes, pine will also keep you smelling fresh as the forest!

  1. Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides

In Java, Indonesia, sustainable vetiver essential oil production has produced a viable vetiver craft industry with items such as aromatic mats, baskets, candles, and soaps—all being produced from the spent root. The added benefit is vetiver acts as a natural mosquito deterrent in the house. Diffusing a few drops of this oil will help repel the mosquitoes and also create a spicy, Balinese ambience for summer.

  1. Bergamot Citrus aurantium (L.)

Is there anything more “summery” than citrus? Bergamot is one of my favorite oils to use for cleaning, and it’s also the perfect addition to your natural insect repellent spray as it adds a mood boosting, fruity lift. It’s important to note that bergamot is very phototoxic, so you should not use it outside as a topical insect repellent, but rather an aromatic insect repellent spray for inside or to spray around you outside.

If the bugs happen to make a meal out of you on those long summer evenings, bergamot is a wonderful oil for topical use on insect bites or stings (just keep out of the sun)!

  1. Peppermint Mentha ×piperita (L.)

If you would rather a fresh and minty clean aroma in your bug spray than that icky chemical smell, peppermint is the perfect choice. Peppermint is a natural insecticide that kills as well as repels mosquitoes. In one study, M. ×piperita  showed repellent action when applied to exposed body parts. It also displayed significant larvicidal and mosquito repellant action: Larvae of Culex quinuefasciatus were completely killed 24 hours after exposure (in water) to 3 ml of M. ×piperita per square meter of water.

Peppermint is also useful on insect stings and bites!

Here's a great recipe for insect stings and bites:
Tea tree Australia Melaleuca: 10 drops
Peppermint: 10 drops

Apply to the area undiluted as often as needed.

  1. Tea Tree Australia Melaleuca

Will the wonders of Australian tea tree oil ever cease? Tea tree is not only a green cleaning powerhouse, but it is also an antiparasitic, capable of destroying or suppressing the growth of parasites such as fleas, leeches, lice, and ticks. Use diffusion or direct topical application. Like bergamot, if those nasty critters do make a meal out of you, Australian tea tree can help beat the irritation from bites or stings.

  1. Eucalyptus globulus

A standard in any essential oil kit, your eucalyptus essential oil can also be used as an insecticide.

In a 2010 study, three species of eucalyptus (E. staigeriana, E. citriodora, and E. globulus) were tested for use with the blood-sucking sandfly, lutzomyia Lutzomyia longipalpis. Researchers found the eucalyptus essential oils were more effective against L. longipalpis than other natural products.

  1. Lemon eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora

As mentioned above, lemon eucalyptus E. citriodora can also be used as a natural insecticide—especially for those who love that citrusy smell for summer! It was also discovered that the distillate or hydrosol was very effective against mosquitoes and not as volatile as the essential oil. This could be a great essential oil mosquito repellent option for use around children and pets, since the hydrosol still provides very high protection from a broad range of insects over several hours.

Now that you have your oils ready to arm yourself against the bites and stings of summer, here is my favorite natural insect repellent recipe for keeping those bugs at bay. Happy summer!

Natural Insect Repellant Spray:

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia oil: 15 drops
Lemon eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora oil: 10 drops
Tea tree Australia Melaleuca alternifolia oil: 10 drops
Lime Citrus aurantifolia oil: 6 drops
Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia oil: 6 drops
Distilled water: 2 ounces
Vinegar from your kitchen: 2 ounces
Blend all the ingredients and put into a spray bottle. Shake well before using.

Note: Both bergamot and lime are photosensitive oils. This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you and is not intended for topical or internal use.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.


Jami Oles, CNT, HHP, Holistic Nurse and Health Educator

Jami is a mother of three and a Holistic Health Practitioner with a 10 year background in Nursing and Emergency Medicine. She is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, Holistic Nurse, EMT, Certified Child Nutrition Specialist, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Naturopathic Medicine. Jami is also a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and regular guest and host on WNDB radio’s “Sunrise Today Show”. She is available for seminars, education workshops and consultations.

You can reach Jami via email -

Facebook Page: Jami Oles, Holistic Nurse

Disclosure: Some posts may contain links that compensate me. Please read the disclosure.

HypnoBirthing® Testimonial and Classes in Port Orange

HypnoBirthing® Testimonial
By Heidi Gagliardi

I would like to give a little insight as to why I chose this type of birth twice.  I was fortunate enough to be my younger sisters birth partner in 2010.  She chose a non-medicated birth.  She followed HypnoBirthing®: the Mongan Method and began researching and studying all about it.  I was concerned for her because I was not knowledgeable, but supportive nonetheless.  I did not read the book at this time.  I was really quite freaked out and afraid that she was going against the norm for birth.  I didn’t understand why someone would want to feel discomfort and pain.  I talked to several people close to me about this and they also shared my same thoughts.  Although I did not understand at that time, I felt a strong, raw woman energy and power from her as she spoke about it.  I trusted her intuition as a woman about to become a mother for the first time.  I was in amazement at her strength and lack of fear, it drew me in and I was addicted to that energy.  After seeing my nephew born into the world in a birth center with no medicine that solidified it for me.  It was amazing, it was peaceful, it was beautiful, it was nature at its finest and I was hooked even more than before.  My sister did an amazing job and I was honored to be able to help her through it.  She labored peacefully for 17 hours and birthed an 8lbs 13oz healthy baby boy with no medicine.  She did it and I was there right by her side every step of the way!  Now I wandered, could I also succeed at a non-medicated birth or did I even want to?  Hmmm, that was the question.

After actively trying, we became pregnant in March 2012 with our first daughter Giana Marie.  I started planning my natural birth by calling Crystal Fedele, AP, DOM to see when I should sign up for HypnoBirthing® Classes.  She was kind and chuckled because I was only 12 weeks pregnant at that point. My sister and I had gone to her class together and I was excited to share this experience with Mike.  Choosing this method wasn’t easy, especially with a husband in the medical field.  He did not understand why I would want to feel discomfort and pain (sound familiar?).  He said to make sure that I wasn’t just trying to compete with my sister.  This was a good point because I am extremely competitive in everything that I do.  After doing some self checks, I assured myself that I at least wanted to try and attempt this non-medicated birth.  If I wanted, I could always change my mind.  Yes, yes, I could always change my mind and get the epidural if I wanted.  I am also terrified of needles so this helped in my efforts to try this type of birth.  Through my research and discussions about a non-medicated birth, I learned many things.  Some of the things that truly encouraged me to keep going forward were that people who had opted to get the epidural said it did not take and they felt everything!  In my mind I thought, if that happens to me, then I will at least be prepared for it a little and not be in shock for what I’m about to experience.  Then, I also read that many people had negative lasting effects from the epidural.  Things as little as headaches for a month or longer and other side affects more dramatic like not being able to walk for 6 months.   Again, encouraging to at least attempt without the epidural.

The whole pregnancy with Giana, I was active working out 4-5 times a week.  I did cardio and yoga and ate a healthy diet of course treating my sweet tooth as often as I wanted.  I gained 32lbs that pregnancy and felt that was a healthy amount.  I really, really wanted to make it to 40 weeks with Giana.  I felt it was really important to carry full term.  I did make it, made it to 41 weeks!  I then became concerned about when I would go into labor naturally and not wanting my doctor to tell me I needed to be medically induced.  I was dead set against that.  I called Crystal and she prescribed some Chinese herbal tea along with some other homeopathic remedies to help encourage labor without needing Cervadil or Pitocin at the hospital.  It worked!  I went into labor on a Thursday evening and after 36 hours of back labor, birthed my first born daughter on Saturday morning at 2:17am with no medicine.   I did it! Giana was a nice healthy baby.  She weighed 8lbs 9oz and was 21 inches long.  I did not invite anyone into the room family wise.   Only me, Mike, my doula Crystal and the amazing Dr. Gilmore and other hospital staff.   My mom was mad and worried the entire time.  I was not able to communicate well to either side of the family because back labor needed some serious focus and concentration as well as calming from Mike and my doula Crystal! I was also extremely afraid of failing and getting the epidural and did not want anyone else to see that. Although I did not have my mom or any other female family members in the room with me, it was still an amazing experience.  I was so incredibly happy that I had succeeded and accomplished a very important goal.

Moral of this is do not judge a non-medicated birth until you research and become more knowledgeable on the subject. I learned first hand that knowledge is power and I am forever grateful to have experienced two non-medicated births.  Truly amazing and inspiring events in my life.

at Holistic Women and Families Natural Health Center
316 Dunlawton Ave in Port Orange, FL
Mondays, starting June 5th, 2017
6:00-8:30pm - for 5 consecutive weeks
with Crystal Fedele, AP, DOM, FABORM

HypnoBirthing® - The Mongan Method is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. HypnoBirthing® provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing. 

Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the 
consciousness of the pre-born baby. As a birthing method, HypnoBirthing® is as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times. 

The class is presented in a series of five, 2 1/2-hour classes and taught by our physician, Crystal Fedele, AP, DOM, FABORM.

Please call our office at (386) 872-5757 for pricing details and to register. Space is limited.
Disclosure: Some posts may contain links that compensate me. Please read the disclosure.