Do you hate mosquitoes and other pests, but hate the smell of bug spray just as much? Try some of these herbal insect repellents!
Citronella — If the word citronella makes you think of tiki torches, the people at the candle companies are doing their jobs right. But citronella isn’t just for candles. You can wear it, too. Citronella is extracted from a species of lemongrass, and is one of the most beloved mosquito repelling substances around (mosquitoes were apparently not included in that unscientific survey).
Lavender — While lavender is an almost universally loved fragrance among humans, bugs just hate it! Lavender is great for repelling flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other pests. You can even rub some lavender oil on your dogs (not cats) to help prevent fleas.
Cedar — While cedar chests and chips have long been used to repel months, most people don’t realize this fragrant wood is equally effective against mosquitoes and other biting insects. No, you don’t have to climb inside of a cedar chest or hang a block of the stuff around your neck. Just get your hands on some cedar essential oil.
Lemon Eucalyptus — If you want to repel koalas in the Australian outback, eucalyptus definitely won’t work, but it’s great for chasing away mosquitoes and ticks. Bonus: it’ll also clear your sinuses!
Peppermint — Misting peppermint oil onto your skin is a nice, cool, refreshing treat in the summertime. It doesn’t hurt that pests, such as mosquitoes and fleas, hate the smell.
Basil — Do you love pesto? Despite the name, mosquitoes do not. Slather yourself in the scent of basil and — presto pesto! — you’ll be pest-free!
Geranium — Plant geraniums around your property to keep nasty bugs away, or get an extract of the plant to wear.
Feverfew — Add these pretty daisy-like flowers to your garden to repel a variety of pests. It can also be worn as a spray, or even used to treat insect bites.
Catnip — Concentrated catnip has been shown to be more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Just watch out when traveling through neighborhoods with a lot of stray cats …
Rosemary — The oil of this fragrant wood makes a very effective mosquito repellent. It’s good in soup, too.
Neem — A type of mahogany grown in India, neem is one of the most effective insect repellents around. Many commercial insect sprays use neem as the main active ingredient. Great for repelling ticks, mosquitos, black flies, and no-see-ums (biting midges).
Any of these herbs or woods can be purchased in essential oil form, or you can make your own extracts. Just crush the plant and soak it in three parts alcohol per one part of solid material. Bottle it up and let it sit for a few weeks before using.