Essential oils are commonly used to treat a variety of health concerns and can provide relaxation and serenity. But did you know they can also be used to keep mosquitoes and other pests away? They are an all-natural alternative to chemical-filled pesticides and repellents filled with DEET, so you can keep your family happy and free from mosquito bites.
Why Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils are a natural and effective way to address a number of health and wellness concerns. They can be used for skincare, to promote sinus health, to improve sleep, for aromatherapy, and more. When using essential oils to control pests in the home, you get tons of other benefits as an added bonus.
DIY bug repellents made from essential oil blends are also extremely cost-effective and convenient. Instead of taking a trip to the store to buy expensive bug sprays filled with chemicals, you can make an all-natural, great smelling bug repellent from ingredients that are already in your home.
Using essential oils as a repellant is also much better for the environment than commercial pesticides or insecticides. Using toxic chemicals in your home and garden can disrupt the natural flora and fauna and have unintended adverse effects on the environment. Essential oils are a great way to repel unwanted pests without harming any local wildlife.
Dangers Of Commercial Bug Repellents
Bug sprays and pesticides that you buy from the store are poisonous to pests, but they are also poisonous to humans in large quantities. Many household bug repellents contain strong chemicals that can cause life-threatening breathing problems or poisoning in the case of overexposure.
Symptoms of insecticide poisoning vary greatly based on severity and type of exposure but can include trouble breathing, vomiting, skin irritation or swelling, dizziness, headache, seizures, or even comas.
By switching your pest control methods from toxic chemicals to essential oils, you can keep your family safe and make sure you aren’t putting excess toxic chemicals into the environment.
Best Essential Oils To Repel Bugs
There are a wide variety of essential oils with natural bug repelling properties. We’ve broken down a few of the most popular below.
Citrus oils like citronella and limonene are popular natural insect repellents. You may have heard of lighting a citronella candle to keep mosquitoes at bay, but it is effective in many other forms. Citronella and limonene have also been shown to be effective against kissing bugs, fleas, aphids, mites, and flies.
Lavender oil is commonly used to repel fleas and ticks in dogs and is also an effective mosquito repellent for humans. Lavender oil smells great and has natural properties that promote sleep and relaxation as an added bonus. Lavender also prevents and helps to heal bug bites.
Garlic oil works wonders as a natural tick repellent. While it is not recommended to use on dogs as garlic can be toxic to pups in some cases, it works perfectly for humans.
Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is different from lemon eucalyptus essential oil, so make sure to check the label before purchasing! Lemon eucalyptus oil contains citronellol, as well as PMD, also known as p-menthane-3,8-diol. PMD is the only plant-based repellent that is approved by the CDC and is a highly effective mosquito repellent.
Basil oil is extremely effective for keeping mosquitoes away and has also been shown to be effective against dust mites. According to a 2014 study, basil oil sprays were shown to be anywhere from 97-100% effective at removing dust mites from the home.
Geranium oil contains geraniol, an active ingredient that has been shown to repel mosquitos, cockroaches, flies, gnats, ticks, ants, and fleas. It is extremely effective when put in a diffuser, and in some studies was shown to be even more effective than a citronella candle. Geranium also works wonders to soothe itchy, irritated skin, so it can be used to help heal bug bites as well. You can even plant citrosa geraniums around your patio, which have a strong, lemony scent that bugs dislike.
Lemongrass essential oil has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is used for a variety of purposes, including as a mosquito repellent. In a study done in Thailand, it was shown to be an excellent repellent against the types of mosquitos that carry Zikavirus, West Nile virus, and yellow fever.
Neem oil is effective as both a natural pesticide for garden plants, as well as a natural mosquito repellent for people. Variants of neem oil have been shown to neutralize over 500 types of pests, such as insects, mites, ticks, and nematodes.
In some studies, neem oil was shown to be 96-100% effective against anophelines, a type of mosquito that carries the most dangerous form of malaria. Neem oil should be used carefully and must always be diluted with a carrier oil before use, as it can be toxic in large quantities.
Peppermint oil, made from a plant in the mint family, is effective against many different types of bugs. The active ingredient, p- Menthane-3, 8-diol, is a powerful mosquito repellent registered with the EPA. It can be used to make an effective bug spray and has been shown to repel fleas, ants, and ticks.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has a wide variety of uses, one of which is as a growth suppressant for parasites such as fleas, leeches, mites, and ticks. Tea tree oil can be used to soothe itchy, irritated skin, so it works great to soothe bug bites.
Thyme oil contains five different types of monoterpenes, which are extremely effective against mosquitoes. These monoterpenes are carvacrol, p-cymene, linalool, alpha-terpinene, and thymol, all of which were shown to deter both mosquitoes and flies.
How To Use Essential Oils To Repel Pests
There are a variety of ways to use essential oils to repel different kinds of pests. Different methods work best on different pests.
Make A Bug Spray
For flying insects like mosquitoes and flies, making a natural bug spray is the most effective way to keep pests off. Our essential oil bug spray recipe is as follows: combine 5-10 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with ¼ cup of water. You can also add witch hazel to this mixture for extra soothing. This method works well with peppermint oil, basil oil, oil of lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass oil, and neem oil.
Placing certain essential oils in a diffuser can help to spread the oil’s scent around a large space, either indoors or outdoors. Diffusing essential oils is great for relaxation and aromatherapy and works well with oils such as lavender oil, citronella oil, and geranium oil.
Certain oils can be used effectively as topical treatments directly onto the skin when mixed with a carrier oil. This works well with clove oil, geranium oil, and lavender oil. You can also make lotions with these essential oils to keep bugs away, as detailed in this blog post.
In The Garden
Bugs and pests can wreak havoc on garden plants, and pesticides and insecticides contain toxic chemicals that many people don’t want to ingest. Rosemary, lavender, and lemongrass oils work well to ward off flies, fleas, and mosquitoes, while peppermint, spearmint, and orange oils keep flies, ants, spiders, and beetles away.
For larger rodents such as chipmunks, mice, and squirrels, peppermint oil is most effective. Simply soak a few cotton balls with oil and leave them near your garden plants to keep unwanted pests away.
Sprays For The Yard Or Home
To keep pests away from large areas, such as the yard or inside the home, making a spray is most efficient. For this recipe, you’ll need lavender essential oil, oil of lemon eucalyptus, citronella essential oil, as well as water, and white vinegar.
Simply mix 2 ounces of distilled water and 2 ounces of white vinegar in a spray bottle, then add 10-20 drops of each essential oil. Spray around the yard and home to keep all types of pests away.
Using essential oils to keep away pests like mosquitos, flies, ants, ticks, and even dust mites is natural, effective, and safer than chemical-filled bug sprays, insecticides, and pesticides. Commercial pest repellents can cause poisoning when breathed in or consumed in large quantities and can be drying and irritating to the skin. Not only is using essential oils healthier and safer, but it provides a variety of benefits, such as skin soothing and calming.
Adding essential oils to your beauty and health routine helps to promote healthy skin, sinuses, and hair, as well as helping to improve sleep and relaxation. For more tips and tricks on essential oil uses, diffuser safety, and other lifestyle and health tips, make sure to check out our blog.
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