Natural Insect Repellent using 2 Organic Products
It’s almost that time of year to relax out on the patio, sip some lavender iced-tea, while watching the sun slowly dip behind the trees. 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!
This year, more so than others, we will be using some type of insect repellant almost 24/7. I strongly discourage the use of chemical sprays, powders, crystals and all pesticides. But, on the other hand, living with colonies of unwanted critters is not exactly how I like to spend my summers.
So how can you repel insects naturally while sticking to your green cleaning principles? There are couple green solutions that are both, not only ORGANIC, but inexpensive! Both equally rid the area of unwanted pests.
Since our skin is the LARGEST organ of our body, and it absorbs every molecule rubbed on it, in the air and in water with ease. Our skin then transports these molecules to the liver to be decontaminated by elimination or by being stored in our fat cells. And by choosing organic products, it means that our liver can take a HUGE break! I have become a bit picky these last few years on what toxins that I am exposing my body to, if I have the choice. When it comes to BUG REPELLENT, I am so glad I have, not one but, 2 natural choices.
These 2 natural choices are Essential Oils by Young Living (YLEO) and Basic H by Shaklee, both have natural insecticidal powers.
First I will discuss Essential Oils.
All essential oils are not the same. They can contain other ingredients not listed on the label. Some lab test findings include pesticides, inferior products, synthetic ingredients, colors, and fragrances.
I, personally, recommend Young Living Essential Oils, but you can purchase whichever brand you’d like.
I choose them after months of research for a number of reasons. I own a company that is a Certified Green America Company. The products that I carry in my store must be made in the USA and one or more of the following – recycled, organic, compostable, eco-friendly, or biodegradable,
Young Livings standards met my qualifications as they plant, grow, harvest, distill, and distributes all of their own products. Young Living was founded over 20 years ago and they offer over 350 100% Organic Therapeutic grade Essential Oils. No third party touches these plants, processes them or sells them- so their is no chance that they are altered before they reach your hands. Because the only regulation the FDA requires on essential oils is that at least 10% of what is said to be IN the bottle has to be what it says on the label, I must do my own research.
Essential oils usage have been documented around the world for at least 6,000 years. Even 6,000 years ago they were, and still are, used for cosmetics, perfumes and drugs, as well as, spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes. And they also kept the bugs away….
Here are 10 essential oils that naturally repel insects-
Please keep in mind the “Botanical” name of the plant – as there may be dozens of that species, but only the true botanical named essential oil has been proven to have these effects.
1. Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.)
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.
(for instance Lavandin Lavandula intermedia (Emeric ex Loisel.) can be substituted, as it is also a useful insect repellent. However, it’s important to note that L. intermedia and L. angustifolia have different therapeutic effects. Lavender is known for its calming and sedating qualities while lavandin can have stimulating effects.)
2. 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!
3. 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!
4. 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!
5. Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides (Nash)
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.
6. Bergamot Citrus aurantium (L.) var. bergamia
Is there anything more “summery” than citrus? Bergamot is great for green 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.
If the bugs happen to make a meal out of you on those long summer evenings, bergamot is also a wonderful oil for topical use on insect bites or stings (just keep out of the sun)!
7. 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.
Side Note: a few drops of Peppermint on a cotton ball placed in your attic, shed or even around your lawn mower keeps mice at bay!
Peppermint is also useful on insect stings and bites! Here’s a great recipe:
Insect Stings and Bites
10 drops of Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia
10 drops of Peppermint Mentha piperita
Apply to the area undiluted as often as needed.
8. Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel)
Tea tree is not only a great green cleaner, but it is also an anti parasitic, 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, Tea Tree can help beat the irritation from bites or stings.
9. Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus (Labill.)
A standard in any natural green cleaning 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 the sand fly L. longipalpis than other natural products.
10. Lemon eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora (Hook.)
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.
In 2006, an essential oil lab run by the Ethiopian government were doing much work with lemon eucalyptus essential oil as an insect repellant—critical in parts of the world where malaria is running rife! E. citriodora is an excellent resource as the tree grows quickly and has a fairly high yield of essential oil.
Natural Insect Repellant – AREA Spray
In a 4 oz tinted glass bottle add:
• 15 drops of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia oil
• 10 drops of Lemon eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora oil
• 10 drops of Tea tree Australia Melaleuca alternifolia oil
• 6 drops of Lime Citrus aurantifolia oil
• 6 drops of Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia oil
• Distilled water: 2 ounces
• Vinegar from your kitchen: 2 ounces (I prefer white vinegar, but apple cider works too! Leave the balsamic for the Caprese salad!)
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 to be sprayed ON yourself or drank. So it is not for topical or internal use.
Now that you have brushed up on the types and uses of Organic essential oils and the how perfect they are in repelling insects, lets learn about Basic H by Shaklee.
Basic H is derived from Corn and Coconut and is organic, super concentrated, non-toxic, non-irritant, biodegradable, eco-friendly, hypo-allergenic, and has a neutral pH. There are over 1,000 uses for Basic H from cleaning windows to deworming cattle. Bugs don’t like the taste or smell of it (we smell nothing) so it makes a wonderful insect repellant. One 16 ounce bottle of Basic H makes 48 -16 ounce spray bottles- or 6 GALLONS of organic bug spray for around $12!! Basic H can safely be sprayed in the air and on your body, from your face to your feet. That being said, there aren’t many products that can safely be used on everyone from Infants to Grandpa without worry, and Basic H is one of them.
A bit about the Shaklee Corporation.
Shaklee is the first company in the world to obtain climate neutral certification and totally offset its co2 emissions, resulting in a net zero impact on the environment.
At Shaklee, we’re part of a movement to make people and the planet healthier, way back when green was just a color.
In 1915 – Dr. Forrest C Shaklee invented the very first multivitamin, made with organic fruits, vegetables and minerals.
In 1956 -Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee founded a company based on Living in Harmony with Nature® that is committed to developing products to improve the health of people and the planet. For 50 years, Shaklee has quietly led the way in environmental stewardship and support of social causes.
in the 1960s – Shaklee introduces Basic-H® Concentrated Organic Cleaner, one of the first nontoxic, biodegradable cleaners.
Click here to read all of Shaklee’s Accomplishments
NOTE: All opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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.
 Note: Lavandin Lavandula intermedia (Emeric ex Loisel.) can be substituted, as it is also a useful insect repellent. However, it’s important to note that L. intermedia and L. angustifolia have different therapeutic effects. Lavender is known for its calming and sedating qualities while lavandin can have stimulating effects.
 Chokechaijaroenporn, O., Bunyapraphatsara, N., & Kongchuensin, S. (1994). Mosquito repellant activities of Ocimum volatile oils. Phytomed 135-139.
 Perumalsamy H, Kim JY, Kim JR, Hwang KN, Ahn YJ. (2014). Toxicity of basil oil constituents and related compounds and the efficacy of spray formulations to Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). J Med Entomol. 650-657.
Gora J., Lakota S., Kurowska A., Kalemba D., Raszka
A., Kula J. 1993. The Possibilities of Essential Oils Utilization for the Limitation of Some Insect Populations or their Repellency. Programme Abstracts, 24th Int Symp Essent Oils.
Park B.S., Choi W.S., Kim J.H., Kim K.H., Lee S.E. 2005. Monoterpenes from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as potential mosquito repellents. J Am Mosq Control Assoc- Mar;21(1):80-3.
Ansari M.A., Vasudevan P., Tandon M., Razdan R.K. 2000. Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of pepper- mint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technol 71:267-271.
 Maciel, M.V., Morais, S.M., Bevilaqua, C.M., Silva, R.A., Barros, R.S., et al. (2010). Chemical composition of Eucalyptus spp. essential oils and their insecticidal effects on Lutzomyia longipalpis. Vet Parasitol, 167(1):1-7. Epub 2009 Oct 9.
 Maia, M.F. & Moore, S. J. (2011). Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing. Malaria Journal 10(1):S11. Retrieved from http://www.malariajournal.com/content/10/S1/S11