Best Bug Defence – Essential Oils Can Repel Mosquitoes and Ticks Naturally

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Lemon eucalyptus essential oil performed well as a botanical insect repellent in a Florida study.

Spring and summer are seasons that we look forward to because we get to spend more time outdoors. But along with the fresh air and sunshine come the ‘critters’ that can make being outdoors unpleasant. Stings and bites from insects are commonly experienced by many of us, and can quickly ruin an afternoon out or even an entire vacation. In addition to itching and swelling, sometimes a sting or bite can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction or viral disease.

Fortunately, with the right natural remedies in hand, you can protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes and ticks. The tips and natural formulas given below will help you to avoid using chemical repellents such as DEET, a registered pesticide (it is a member of the toluene chemical family which has been identified as a hazardous material and an endocrine disruptor as well as a potential cancer-causing agent).

Eucalyptus, Citronella, Cinnamon

Two botanical repellents which performed particularly well in a Florida study were: 1) lemon eucalyptus essential oil (providing 120 minutes of protection); and 2) Citronella oil (30 to 40 minutes of protection). This oil has been used throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America since the 1980’s. The authors of the study note that the oils do need to be applied more often than chemical repellents.

The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) reported that lemon eucalyptus oil, also known as Eucalyptus citriadora, provides protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET. The CDC has now given its approval for lemon eucalyptus to be used as an official repellent.

Dr. Joseph Mercola reported on another study which found that cinnamaldehyde, the chief constituent found in cinnamon leaf oil, is as effective as a pesticide – without the risk of health and environmental consequences.

Essential oils have many therapeutic properties that are well known for their ability to keep a person sting-free.  As a general rule, they are best used two ways:

1) Airborne Methods: Lemongrass or Citronella or Cinnamon oil are recommended to keep insects at bay by airborne methods including paper strips at the windows, dribbled on light bulbs, or placed in diffusers.  ‘Thieves Oil’ is a blend created by Young Living Oils, which contains Cinnamon oil and is a great formula to deter insects.

2) Applied to the body: For direct application to skin and clothing, use Lavender oil to discourage insects from landing on your body. Lavender and Peppermint also help to reduce insect bite-induced itching and infection. Carry these oils with you at all times during the summer months especially while travelling or even for your jogging or walks outdoors.

Make Your Own Effective Insect Deterrent – Combine the following ingredients in a small glass bottle filled with water: a teaspoon of olive oil, plus 4 drops Thyme oil, 8 drops Lemongrass oil, 4 drops Lavender oil, 4 drops Peppermint oil. Dab the oil combo directly on neck and legs, or add to spray bottle and spray on.

Ankles are a prime target for mosquitoes.  Cover the ankles with cotton socks and add a drop of Lavender or ‘Purification Special Essential’ oil blend by Young Living  (contains citronella) to the tops of the socks. Also put drops of essential oils on bottom of pant legs.

Other Mosquito Deterrents

• Combine Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass

• Single oils: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Lavender, Cedarwood, Idaho Tansy, Rosemary, or Patchouli.

• Use the Ecuadorian oil – Palo Santo by Young Living that is well known and well used in Ecuador to ward off mosquitoes and other insects.

• Other Special Oil Blends: Purification, Thieves, or Melrose Blends work very well.  Make your own by combining Lemongrass with Citronella and Idaho Tansy in water! Spray where needed.

• Another tactic is to use an essential oil diffuser in your home, cottage, or hotel room to diffuse selected oils into your immediate environment. For example, not only does Lavender oil deter mosquitoes, it is also known to encourage deeper and longer-lasting sleep.

For Best Results – Choose Quality

Not all essential oils are created equal; some companies take shortcuts by extracting their oils using chemical solvents.  Purity and quality is absolutely critical in order to obtain maximum results. Whatever is applied to your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream.  Using high quality, organic essential oils is the best way to go.

One little bottle with your preferred combination of essential oils can cast its healing power into a room, a car, on the body, and even on clothing in order to discourage bugs from landing, and treat bites should they occur.

The above article is adapted from the book Vibrational Cleaning by Sabina M. DeVita.  Young Living Oils can be ordered online at: Call (905) 451-5036 for Vibrational Cleaning book orders (contains more insect protection information) or visit to order.


• Qualls, WA. “Field evaluation of commercial repellents against the floodwater mosquito Psorophora columbiae (Diptera: Culicidae) in St. Johns County, Florida.” Journal of Medical Entomology. no. 6 (2011): 1247-1249.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Insect Repellent Use and Safety.” Accessed April 9, 2013.

•  Mercola, Joseph. “Cinnamon Oil Better for Killing Mosquitoes Than DEET.”, August 07, 2004.

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