6 Essential Oils That Repel Insects - Verefina

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6 Essential Oils That Repel Insects

Posted by Katie Zapotoczny on

The bugs will be out soon (if they aren't already in your area). And if you’re one of those unlucky people who attracts biting insects, then finding an effective way to keep them at bay is probably a must for you. There are many insect repelling options out there, but some products- especially those made with DEET– may have a negative impact on your health. If you’d prefer an effective, toxin-free way of repelling insects (who wouldn't?!), then essential oils may be the best answer for you. There are a number of essential oils that can help keep bugs away- without the toxic side effects.


The compound eugenol is responsible for many of clove essential oil’s health benefits. Although undiluted clove essential oil can provide two to four hours of protection against mosquitoes, the pure oil can cause irritation on the skin. If you want to use undiluted clove oil to deter mosquitoes, put it on your clothing, rather than directly on your skin. Just be sure to check on an unnoticeable spot to make sure it doesn’t stain or discolor the fabric. Putting clove oil in a diffuser can also help keep mosquitoes away.

Cloves can deter other insects as well, including moths, flies, and ants. To keep moths and ants out of your home, place a mesh bag with crushed cloves or a cotton ball with several drops of clove essential oil on it in areas where these critters are a problem.

Finally, clove oil can be used to eliminate dust mites


Eucalyptus essential oil is a popular ingredient in natural bug repellants because it can help repel mosquitoes. This oil, diluted at 15%, can deter mosquitoes for up to three hours; when combined with vanillin, it is effective for about five hours. A 2010 study found that eucalyptus essential oil is also effective at repelling the sandfly.


Lavender essential oil is a popular oil with a wide range of uses. While it gives off a sweet, floral scent to humans, many insects are repelled by linalool, a naturally-occurring alcohol found in lavender. Lavender is particularly repellant to mosquitoes, fleas, houseflies, and moths but is safe for both humans and pets. Its effectiveness is increased when combined with other essential oils, such as citronella.


A relative of citronella, lemongrass has a stronger, spicier scent that many biting bugs will avoid. It is especially effective against horse flies and mosquitoes.


Peppermint essential oil may be refreshing and energizing for people, but mosquitoes don’t like it. This oil has been found to provide complete protection against mosquitoes for about 2.5 hours. It is also repellent to ants, cockroaches, and spiders.

Tea Tree

Tea tree essential oil has a strong scent that keeps ants, horse flies, and other insects away.

DIY Insect Repellent

You can make your own all-natural insect repellent using essential oils. Here's what to do:


  • 50-60 drops essential oils (choose any combination of those listed above, or use Verefina Clean Essential Oil Blend, which contains several insect repelling oils)
  • 4 oz. distilled water
  • 4 oz. witch hazel
  • 8 oz. spray bottle (glass is preferable, as essential oils can break down plastic)


  1. Place all of the ingredients in the spray bottle, and shake gently to mix. 
  2. Shake before each use, and spray on exposed skin before going outside. To apply on young children, spray on your own hands first, then rub into child's skin, avoiding the eyes. Wash hands after applying.

Our Bug Defense Roll-On offers another 100% natural way to protect yourself and your family from insects. Bug Defense contains a blend of insect repelling essential oils in a base of neem and fractionated coconut oils. Learn more about the Bug Defense Roll-On here.

Essential oils provide all-natural protection from biting insects, eliminating the need for toxic synthetic chemical insect repellents.

Do YOU use essential oils to keep the bugs away? Which ones do you use?

Caution: Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted before topical application and used with care. If pregnant or lactating, consult a practitioner before use. 


“Crafting a Natural Bug Repellent with Essential Oils.” Herbal Academy of New England. 18 June 2014. Web. 10 May 2017.


Ettinger, Jill. “Smell Fantastically Natural and Repel Insects: 6 Essential Oils for Summer.” Ecosalon. 2 July 2013. Web. 10 May 2017.


Langton, Nicole. “Essential Oils That Repel Insects.” LiveStrong. 21 October 2013. Web. 10 May 2017.


Masters, Madeline. “What Kind of Bugs Does Lavender Essential Oil Repel?” SFGate. Web. 10 May 2017.


Mercola, Joseph. “Tea Tree Oil: Three Cheers for Tea Tree Oil.” Mercola.com. Web. 10 May 2017.


Schoffro Cook, Michelle. “8 Natural Mosquito Repellents.” Care2. 30 May 2013. Web. 10 May 2017.


Trongtokit Y., Rongsriyam Y., Komalamisra N., Apiwathnasorn C. “Comparative Repellency of 38 Essential Oils Against Mosquito Bites.” PubMed. 19 April 2005. Web. 10 May 2017.


Turner, Paige. “Cloves as a Repellent.” SFGate. Web. 10 May 2017.


Yang P., Ma Y. “Repellent effect of plant essential oils against Aedes albopictus.” PubMed. 30 December 2005. Web 10 May 2017.


Yigzaw, Erika. “Green Cleaning: 10 Essential Oils That Naturally Repel Insects.” American College of Healthcare Sciences. 26 June 2014. Web. 10 May 2017.


“25 Uses for Peppermint Oil.” Dr. Axe. Web. 10 May 2017.


About the Author

Katie Zapotoczny is a Verefina Communications Specialist. She is also the creator of An Ever Green Life, a blog that seeks to empower readers to make changes that will improve their health and help protect our environment.

  • essential oils
  • natural insect repellents
  • DEET
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