Bug Off Repellent Essential Oil Recipe

Bug Off Essential Oil Bug Spray

Tired of the bugs bugging you!? Let me tell you, we have SO MANY bugs down here in the deep south. And the ‘skeeters and no-see-ums’ always seem determined to carry us away anytime the weather is pleasant. It is so annoying. Our family does not use any products containing DEET, so I am always on the lookout for something natural to help repel those pests. This is the essential oil insect repellent recipe that our entire family uses. We have had great success keeping our Lowcountry bugs at bay with this Bug Off Repellent essential oil recipe! (If you live in a different demographic, you may find that you need to play around with which oils work best to deter the insect species where you are.) I chose several essential oils known for their insect repelling properties. (Remember this will not kill bugs, it works to repel them.) I also chose not to use citrus for this insect repellent essential oil recipe. The reason is that they are photosensitive, and you are likely to use this in the sunshine.  Here is a simple breakdown of the oils and what bugs generally dislike them.

Essential Oils Used:

Rosemary essential oil has an earthy, sweet, minty, and herbaceous scent that can be effective at repelling flies, mosquitoes, and ants. (To learn more about the benefits of rosemary essential oil, see my detailed post here.) 

Citronella essential oil has a fresh, green, and lemony aroma that is well known for deterring outdoor pests like mosquitoes and spiders.

Lemongrass essential oil has a fresh, lemony, and grassy smell that can work to repel mosquitoes, gnats, and fleas.

Geranium essential oil has a fresh floral aroma that can work to keep mosquitoes, gnats, flies, ants, fleas, gnats, and ticks at bay. (To learn more about the benefits of geranium essential oil, see my detailed post here.) 

Lavender essential oil has a sweet floral fragrance that can deter fleas, gnats, ticks, flies, and spiders. (To learn more about the benefits of lavender essential oil, see my detailed post here.) 

Tea Tree essential oil has a minty eucalyptus scent that can repel mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, bees, ants and spiders.

Materials Needed:

Witch Hazel (Find the Humphrey’s that I use from Amazon.)

2 oz Glass Spray Bottle (I like these basic colored glass bottles from Amazon)

Essential Oils (I made each essential oil bottle clickable for easy shopping.)


1. Choose a glass bottle and label it. Preferably a bottle that has a dark color. Dark color bottles preserve the essential oils better than clear ones by protecting it from light.

Brown Glass Bottle

2. Add 10 drops of EACH essential oil.

Young Living Essential Oil Bottles

3. Top off with witch hazel.

witch hazel bottle and young living essential oils

4. Secure top and gently shake to combine.

brown spray bottle and young living essential oils

5. Use on skin or clothing to help deter bugs when outdoors. Use caution not to get into eyes, nose, or mouth. Reapply as needed. Enjoy your homemade essential oil insect repellent!

“Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?” ~ Annonymous

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