Essential Oil Remedy for Mosquito Bites and Insect Repellent

Ugh! There is nothing worse then being attacked by bloodthirsty mosquitoes or other creepy-crawlies! Bug bites really can ruin a beautiful summer’s day, and what’s worse, mosquitoes can carry a host of diseases such as the West Nile virus, which can be lethal. The problem is that many over the counter preparations are packed with all sorts of chemicals, many of which can cause reactions especially in those with sensitive skin. So, are there any alternatives? Well, as a keen camper myself, I have experimented with several Aromatherapy blends and have had quite a bit if success in keeping the little blighters away!

Most lemon-scented oils seem to get up the noses of most mosquitoes, keeping them at a fair distance. If you enjoy sitting out in the garden, or are camping in the woods, bring an Aromatherapy oil burner (or two) with you. Don’t forget the tea lights and do make sure you set it up in safe place where it won’t get knocked over, especially if you’re camping with an avid guitar player who does a rock and roll version of ‘Kumbaya’ (don’t ask!). Fill the burner dish with water and add at least 10-12 drops of either lemon, lemongrass, citronella, lemon eucalyptus or a blend of lemon, peppermint and pine. Citronella is perhaps the most widely known essential oil for use as an insect repellent and most commercial preparations include it in their ingredient list, unfortunately along with a wide variety of ‘other’ ingredients as well.


Photo by John Tann

Those of you who are experienced campers and outdoor enthusiasts will probably be on the hunt for something to apply to your skin as an added barrier of protection. Let’s face it mosquitoes aren’t exactly quitters are they? Make your own special aromatherapy ‘bug off’ blend and show them who’s boss! Invest in a 4-6 oz. spray bottle and fill it about ¾ of the way with distilled water. If you can’t get distilled water, used boiled water that has cooled down. Add 2 Tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka and then 50-60 drops of essential oil. Use oils such as citronella, melissa, lemon, peppermint, lavender, pine and eucalyptus. As there is no base oil, in this mixture the essential oils will float on the surface, therefore every time you use the spray give the bottle a good, vigorous shake beforehand. To make your blend extra special, feel free to add a few drops of an oil you really like, such as geranium, juniper or orange. This blend should also help to keep fleas, blackflies and ticks at bay.

Sometimes there is nothing we can do, and a determined mosquito will find their way to our elbow, ankle or behind the knee (I really hate it when they bite there!) Fortunately there are essential oils that can help take the ‘itch’ out of a bite and help to promote healing. A drop of neat lavender can be applied directly to the mosquito bite, or a blend of lavender and peppermint in rose hip oil also works well. The rose hip oil is astringent and lighter than some of the other base oils, which is why I prefer to use it. Chamomile is another good oil to use as it helps reduce inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the bite.


Photo by Plutor

It is definitely worth having some of these essential oils to hand especially during the summer months. Using Aromatherapy to repel insects and help heal bites is natural and certainly more cost effective than using over the counter products, which are full of chemicals. Being prepared and taking steps to ‘stop’ mozzies before they attack will guarantee a happy and ‘itch’ free summer for everyone!