Humans have long used plants and plant derivatives to repel insects or treat the bites they leave behind. Ancient Greek and Roman scholars wrote about using plants on skin and clothing, so it’s no surprise that the new resurgence of essential oils in popular culture is entering the fight against the bite! Many natural scents that are appealing to humans actually repel mosquitoes, including lavender, peppermint, basil, and eucalyptus. Many of these scents can be worn as an essential oil on your skin to help keep these pesky pests from biting you.
How to Use Essential Oils as a Mosquito Repellent
Essential oils can have numerous benefits. From stress relief to restful sleep, users of essential oils have found lots of applications for these naturally derived oils. Like any product, not all essential oils are created equal in quality, and consumers should do significant research before purchasing any oils.
For those folks new to essential oils, it’s important to note you can use them topically on your skin (but not sensitive skin near your eyes, etc.), diffuse them with a diffuser, or create a spray by diluting the oil with water and either witch hazel toner (found in the beauty aisle) or vodka. Essential oils, while natural and plant-based, can be very potent. Please research their effectiveness and application before using any product. For example, the oils degrade plastic over time, so if you decide to make a spray, use dark blue or amber glass bottles.
There are great recipes for DIY essential oil mosquito repellent with citronella, lavender, peppermint, sweet basil, catnip, tea tree oil, and clary sage essential oils. Since everyone has different scent preferences, feel free to experiment until you find one that works for you. Also, it’s important to note that mosquito repellents use other scents to camouflage your body’s scent. Since everyone smells slightly different, what works for you might not work for your friends or family.
After thorough tests, Consumer Reports found the most effective plant-derived competitor to DEET is oil of lemon eucalyptus—which has a different chemical footprint than lemon eucalyptus essential oil.
We know how overwhelming the mosquito repellent marketplace can be. The Centers for Disease Control have put together a great buying guide to help you make a safe choice for you and your family.
What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate?
There are some smells that mosquitoes love, so having those smells in your yard is an invitation for these annoying pests. However, just as there are smells which mosquitoes love, there are others that they hate and will make sure to avoid.
Scents that repel mosquitoes include the following:
- Lemon Balm
Wearing scented oils mosquitoes dislike can be one way to keep them away from your skin (and your blood). One of the most famous scents that mosquitoes despise is citronella. However, there are a handful of other natural scents the creatures have an aversion to.
Since everyone has different scent preferences, experiment until you find one that works for you. Also, it’s important to note that mosquito repellents use other scents to camouflage your body’s scent. Since everyone smells slightly different, what works for you might not work for your friends or family. Additionally, while many of these smells and plants might repel mosquitoes, some might be enticing to other bugs. For example, mosquitoes seem to dislike lemon balm, yet butterflies and bees seem to adore it! If you’re in an area with a lot of bees, you may want to avoid lemon balm.
Using Essential Oils for Mosquito Bite Relief
First, the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor essential oils, so again, please do some product research and make choices based on quality and purity rather than price. Second, when using essential oils topically, it’s best practice to mix a few drops of essential oil in a carrier oil, such as a vegetable oil or coconut oil.
- Peppermint oil can have a cooling sensation which will distract your body from the itch.
- Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. This oil can be applied directly to skin, but some might find it dries out the affected area too much. Whatever you choose, always follow instructions on the label.
- Lavender oil is known for its soothing effect. And mosquitoes hate the smell, so it can prevent future bites, too! This essential oil is one of the most versatile, so you can find lots of other applications for it around the house as well.
- Rosemary oil, similarly to lavender oil, can also be effective in repelling mosquitoes for a short time. This powerful option requires to be mixed with a carrier oil.
- Chamomile oil is another multifaceted fighter against inflammation and infection. EXTRA bonus: Make some chamomile ice cubes by brewing chamomile tea, then freezing it in an ice cube tray. The cold combined with the chamomile will help soothe the itch!
Mosquito Squad’s All-Natural treatment is comprised of essential oils and eliminates mosquitoes and ticks on contact, and then continues as a repellent for up to 14 days. This interrupts the life cycle of the mosquitoes and ticks and makes sure they have difficulty surviving on your property. When it is time for a respray, our licensed and trained technicians will automatically return to your home and ensure that your protection is reliable all season.
Contact us today to get your free quote for our all-natural treatment!