So it’s mid spring. You’ve thrown off the coat, traded in sweaters for that bright little short
sleeve number that allows the sun to gently bathe your wintery white skin. Pulling out your
liberated lawn chair to bask for the first time in oh about 8 months, to sit down with a favorite
book and refreshing drink – outside. *Fingers crossed, any day now*
Abruptly the hair stands up on your neck. An odd sound swirling nearby catches your attention,
with an eerie sensation that you are being watched….. You would be right. Mosquitoes, deer
flies, black flies and even ticks lurk just out of your reach waiting to pounce on your defenseless
You’ve read the reports, mounting evidence that deet based products may be harmful to you,
your children and the environment. What to do? Pure essential oils and common non-toxic
ingredients can assist you with your plight. While there are many that can be helpful, we have
compiled seven essentials and a few common ingredients which are quite effective against
most flying and crawling pests.
Basil – While the chemistry of this oil can have wide variations depending on origin, (northern
or southern hemisphere), it’s nature seems hell bent on repelling insects anywhere. Southern
sources contain extreme levels of methyl chavicol a.k.a estragole (up to 90%) which repels
mosquitoes quite effectively. In the north, the oil typically produces much lower levels (up to
50%) but compensates with significant geraniol, linalool and 1,8 cineole). This unique
combination is particularly useful with the dreaded black flies which terrorize inhabitants above
30° latitude from early May till late June.
Clove Bud – The secret weapon of this oil is methyl eugenol (up to 90%) creating a superbly
effective choice to repel not only flying pests but also land rovers such as ants, cockroaches or
mice). Even makes a suitable alternative to moth repellents especially if mixed with
cedarwood. Smells waaaay better too!
Caution: This oil is not recommended for application on the skin. Best suited for room, window
sprays or application to decks and cement outside home or cottage
Eucalyptus Citriadora (lemon)- Most eucalyptus species have repelling properties, but this is
the only one of the group that is full of bug begone chemicals. Citronellal, citronellol, geraniol
and 1,8 cineol comprise most of this oil’s defense. The only downside is the strongly similar
aroma to citronella which doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Geranium – Geraniol, citronellol and linalool make one cool chemical combo for derailing a
mosquitoes blood thirsty plans. Skin friendly, lasts a long time when exposed to air and it’s
sweet floral exotic aroma can help to mask the addition of other useful but less appealing oils.
Thought to be specifically useful to ward off ticks.
Lemongrass – Almost every chemical found in this oil has insect repelling properties. Citral (up
to 70%), citronellal, geranial, limonene. It’s safe for skin applications and with a heavier
chemistry, the aroma will last longer. Inexpensive and easy to obtain. When this oil is around,
you win, mosquitoes lose.
Marjoram – An underrated oil when it comes to crawling pest nuisance. Mixed with geranium,
this makes a great tick prevention remedy. Significant concentration of a & y terpenes tends to
disorient the little buggers leaving them dazed and confused.
Palmarosa – A relative of lemongrass but much more exotic and single-minded chemistry. With
up to 80% geraniol, it’s a great deterrent to flying pests while aromatically pleasing. Skin
friendly attributes means a safe addition it to almost any topical solution.
Honourable Mentions: cedarwood, peppermint
When bug season begins, start adding a few drops of essential oils with insect repellent
properties to your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotions daily. This creates a gradual
buildup of the oils on your skin without irritation. It also negates the need for high
concentrations of essential oils in single applications which could be hazardous or creating
strong aroma. Be sure to use unscented products to add essential oils; besides, commercial
fragrances will attract insects.
Lemon Fresh Insect Defense Spray
10 Drops Pure Basil Essential Oil
15 Drops Pure Geranium Essential Oil
15 Drops Pure Lemongrass Essential Oil
50 ml Cedar leaf Hydrosol
25 ml glycerine
25 ml Denatured AlcoholDistilled or reverse osmosis water. Any water will do the but the aforementioned is best.
1 – 250 ml (8 oz) glass or plastic bottles with spray caps.
1. Mix essential oils thoroughly with alcohol & glycerine, stir and let sit for 5 minutes
**The mixture may smell strong of alcohol but it will dissipate when added to water
2. Add essential oil mix, cedarleaf hydrosol, 200 ml water and pour into bottle and give it a
Shake periodically before use. Simple, easy and natural! The more you spray it around your
home, the more the bugs won’t like it! Spray on camping equipment and clothing too!
Avoid using with children. Avoid Eyes.
Crawling Pest Recipe
5 ml Clove Oil
5 ml Eucalyptus Citriadora (lemon)
5 ml Basil Oil
250 g Epsom Salt
250 g Borax
1 Big Glass Jar
Mix essential oils together in amber glass bottle with dropper dispenser
Mix Epsom & Borax together in a bowl
Add small amount of powder to jar, add several drops of essential oil and keep repeating till oils
and powder are dispersed. Put lid on jar and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Let stand for
10 minutes then shake again.
Shake mixture around perimeter of home where ants, mice and other pests attempt to enter
your home. Useful for cottage or boat closure as well