16 Essential Oils That Repel Insects Naturally

Discover the power of nature with 16 essential oils that naturally repel insects. Keep bugs at bay and enjoy the outdoors with these potent, aromatic oils known for their insect-repellent properties.
Using essential oils is one of my favorite ways to naturally repel insects. I’m not a fan of insect repellents with harsh chemicals that use Deet, and I’m grateful that many bugs have a strong aversion to certain scents so I am able to keep those pesky bugs far away. Essential oils that repel insects can be incredibly effective and powerful.

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Here is one of my favorite bottles for keeping my bug spray in!

We love spending time outdoors during the summer months, cooking out, and spending time with friends and family.  Nothing puts a damper on a beautiful summer day than getting attacked by insects and the mosquitos sure love me!

The good news is that if you’re looking for a safe alternative free of harsh chemicals, there are plenty of natural ingredients that have been shown to be just as effective as the chemicals, without the potential health risks.

How to Make Homemade bug spray the natural way

If you want to use essential oil as an insect repellent on your skin, you must always dilute it. You’ll need a carrier oil, distilled water, and witch hazel or alcohol like vodka.

Grab a 4 oz spray bottle and add 2 oz of witch hazel and 2 oz of distilled water then add your essential oils.

You can add 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin, It isn’t necessary, but it does help everything stay combined.

20 drops of essential oil for kids

40-50 drops of essential oil for adults

Shake well. Spray onto exposed skin and/or clothing, avoiding eyes. Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed. Store in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight.

For around the house and outdoors:

Spray this mixture around the house, outdoors or on the lawn to keep insects away. Note that some essential oils can be toxic for pets, especially cats. If you have a pet, I recommend avoiding areas where your pets will be.

Here are the best essential oils that are known for their natural repellent properties.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the oils, just click on the title of each oil or the picture of the oil and it will bring you straight to Amazon.

 Basil Oil

Basil has been shown to be effective at repelling mosquitoes. Additionally, if you suffer from indoor allergies dust mite control can be achieved with spraying some basil oil. If you don’t have oil, you can place basil leaves in a spray bottle and pour the boiling distilled water over them. Allow the leaves to steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the leaves and spray generously to repel mosquitos.


Catnip is effective against both flying and crawling insects including mosquitoes, ticks, biting midges, ants, and more.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedar has a strong, woody scent that insects find unpleasant, making it an effective repellent, in addition to smelling great, cedarwood oil has been proven as an effective insect repellent for ticks, ants, and termites.

Clove Oil

Clove oil is an all-natural insect killer that is effective against mosquitoes, ants, wasps, moths and their larvae, flies, fleas, earwigs, silverfish, mites, aphids, cockroaches, and more.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil is actually one of the most effective natural substances for repelling mosquitoes!

Citronella Oil

This oil is extracted from the leaves of a type of lemongrass and helps keep fleas and mosquitoes away.

Geranium Oil

Geranium is proven to be an effective and safe insect repellent for many types of insects, including biting ones.

Lavender Oil

Not only does it have a calming effect and smell wonderful, but it also repels fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Repels mosquitoes, including those that may carry Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Dengue Virus, and Chikungunya Virus.


Lemongrass Oil

Mosquitoes and biting flies find the smell of lemongrass to be unpleasant, they are not fond of the citrus scent. It is also a great way to keep fruit flies away. I’ve added a few drops of lemongrass oil into my diffuser when I can’t find the root cause of the fruit flies and they seem to disappear within a day.



Peppermint is known for its cooling and soothing properties, but it also helps keep away ticks, spiders, roaches, moths, flies, fleas, beetles, and ants.  We have also had mice crawl under the hoods of our cars causing lots of damage, however, mice don’t like the smell of peppermint.   I combine two teaspoons of Peppermint oil for every cup of water and spray it around where you see the mice. You can also put a few drops of peppermint oil onto cotton balls and place them around your home if you have issues inside.

Rosemary Oil

Mosquitoes have an aversion to rosemary. It is a natural bug repellent against spider mites and aphids. A basic recipe is 1 drop of Rosemary Oil per 2 ounces of water.

Sage Essential Oil

Sage repels chiggers, flies, and ticks. It is also known to repel garden pests but it can also help to keep fleas out of our homes.

Thyme Oil

 Thyme has been shown to be a natural mosquito repellent, mosquito bites are the worst and they sure do like me. I think fly’s in our home is one of the most frustrating things ever! Thyme has been found to be a highly effective insecticide against houseflies as well.


Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree is a natural antifungal and antimicrobial, it has a strong scent that insects dislike and it has also been shown to repel Mosquitos, Bed Bugs, Dust Mites, Lice, Ticks, Bees, Ants and Spiders.



Not ready to purchase a ton of essential oils at once? TerraShield is a blend of Citronella, Lemongrass, Thyme, Cedarwood, and Peppermint essential oils in a base of sesame seed oil. Each essential oil was selected based on its traditional use outdoors, as well as its ability to repel mosquitos and ticks.


Diffuse Essential Oils

Diffusing insect-repelling essential oils is a fantastic way to deal with bugs. Add 5-10 drops of Cedarwood and Lemongrass and diffuse indoors or outdoors.

Planting Herbs

Consider choosing plants and herbs for your garden and landscaping which will help deter insects from bothering you while out in your yard.  Certain herbs, such as lavender, basil, and rosemary, can help repel insects. Plant them around your garden and say goodbye to those pesky bugs.

 You could also add essential oils into a mason jar, I have the tutorial for you here.

Another great option is to make a wine bottle tiki torch mixed with citronella oil to keep those bugs away!  You can find that tutorial HERE.

Another effective tool that I use and love is the DynaTrap.The UV light and TiO2 coating lure flying insects to the trap, then the powerful, whisper-quiet fan sucks them into the basket, no zapping involved!

I hope this was helpful for you and will come in handy during the warm summer months!  Thanks for stopping in today!

**It’s important to note that while these essential oils can be effective in repelling insects, they should be used with caution and should not be applied directly to the skin, to avoid skin irritation. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil, or witch hazel before using them topically. If you have any concerns about using diluted oils, simply spray the all-natural bug spray on clothing, hats, or backpacks rather than directly on the skin. For the best results, please make sure you are using therapeutic-grade oils. Please do your research if you plan to use this on a pregnant woman, or young children. Lavender and tea tree oils are the only essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, all others should always be diluted.

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