Summer is here, and so are those pesky bugs! Bugs can ruin outdoor fun, leaving you feeling itchy and uncomfortable.

Natural bug repellents are an effective and safe way to keep pests at bay without exposing you or your family to harsh chemicals. Natural bug repellents are derived from plants and herbs, making them not only safe but also eco-friendly. So, if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the great outdoors or even at home where bugs are a problem, consider natural remedies to deter insects and kiss the horrors of itchy, bumpy skin goodbye.


dad spraying child with natural bug repellent

6 Natural Bug Repellents Worth Trying

These 6 natural ingredients are great options to use as environmentally friendly bug repellents:

1. Citronella

Citronella, made from the distillation of different species of lemongrass, is a natural remedy against insects. It works by masking scents that may be attractive to bugs, reducing bites by as much as 50%, and lasts for up to 2 hours. No wonder it’s a key ingredient in so many chemical repellents.

2. Lavender

Lavender is generally used for aromatherapy, but a study conducted on hairless mice revealed that it can also repel insects. Note that it isn’t as effective as our other options on this list so you might want to combine it with another of our recommended natural ingredients.

Nonetheless, it has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. So, if you do get bitten you can apply it directly on the insect bite to calm and soothe skin.

3. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)

You can’t go wrong with oil of lemon eucalyptus!

Eucalyptus oil is approved by the CDC as an effective ingredient for repelling mosquitoes due to its sharp citronella-like smell and the compound p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), which is classified as a “biopesticide” by the EPA. So, if it is used as directed, it could be effective in driving the bugs away.

Note that OLE isn’t pet-friendly or suitable for children under 3 years old.

4. Thyme

Thyme isn’t just a great addition to your cooking. As an oil, it’s one of the best ways to repel disease-carrying mosquitoes. In a study involving hairless mice, thyme showed a protection rate of 91%.

5. Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood oil is a natural bug repellent that is surprisingly simple and effective. It works as a natural insect repellent due to its unique chemical composition, which disrupts insects' neurotransmitters, causing confusion and disorientation.

Not only does it keep annoying bugs away, but it also has a pleasant and pleasant fragrance that is perfect for making your outdoor activities more enjoyable!

6. Garlic Oil

Spraying garlic to keep insects away is not something new, farmers and master gardeners have been doing it for many generations.

Garlic contains a natural sulfur which repels a variety of crawling and flying insects, including mosquitoes. It has a long-lasting effectiveness and can be applied topically, including on the skin, or diluted and sprayed in the air or onto areas where you want protection from bugs.


How to Use Essential Oils

Two out of every 3 people prefer to use natural insect repellents. But are they really worth the hype?

Most of us think essential oils come from plants, so they must be safe to use. But that’s a misconception.

Not all plants are safe for topical use. Some contain toxic and irritating ingredients that can trigger an allergic reaction. Hence, you must never apply them on the skin directly. Dilute them with a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil first.


women scratching bug bite

6 Home Remedies for Bug Bites

Got a swollen, sore, and itchy bug bite? Here are some effective, natural ingredients (that you most likely already have at home) to help ease the discomfort:

1. Aloe

Aloe vera can reduce pain, swelling, and itching so the skin can heal faster. For maximum benefits, rub the gel (fresh or store-bought) on the affected area. The cooling sensation will reduce swelling, soothe inflamed skin, and alleviate the itch.

2. Baking Soda

You can use baking soda for more than baking; it can also provide relief from mosquito bites. To use it, follow the CDC’s suggestion: mix baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste before applying it to the targeted area. Leave it on for a few minutes and wash it off to soothe redness and reduce itchiness.

If you’re covered in bites, you can add a cup of baking soda to your bath.

3. Ice

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using an ice pack for 5 to 10 minutes. It constricts the blood vessels, slows the rate of inflammation, and reduces swelling which is what triggers the itchy reaction in the first place.

A bag of crushed ice will also work fine. Just make sure to wrap it with a washcloth or towel as using it directly on the skin may lead to frostbite.

4. Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal has healing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can relieve itching and reduce swelling from bug bites. You can add oatmeal directly to your bath or use it to make a mask. Mix colloidal oatmeal with water to create a paste, apply it to the bite, then wash it off with warm water after 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Used Tea Bags

Tea has anti-inflammatory benefits that can make bites shrink. To use it, store steeped green, black, or chamomile tea bags in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, then apply the cold tea bags directly over the bite to reduce inflammation and itchiness.

6. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel contains tannins that can help reduce itching, discomfort, burning, and irritation from bug bites. To make this natural astringent work for you, gently dab a witch hazel-soaked cotton ball directly over the bite, then allow it to dry.


The Takeaway

Finding an effective natural bug repellent is key for nature enthusiasts or anyone who spends time outdoors. Natural bug repellents represent a safe and environment-friendly efficacy for keeping away those bothersome insects. We've learned that there are several natural methods of repelling bugs. With a bit of research, you'll find an option that suits you best.

So don’t let the bugs get you down – use natural bug repellent to keep pests away without worry!

July 06, 2023

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