top of page

Bugs Be Gone

The weather is warming, and soon we’ll be spending a lot more time outdoors – yay! But this is also the season of those pesky insects that can bring irritation, bites, and disease. To make outdoor time more enjoyable and safe, we need protection from ticks, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, fleas, etc., without using toxic deterrents. Products like DEET or those containing Essential Oils do repel the bugs, but can also have long-term damaging effects on our bodies and our environment.

I tried out this insect repellent recipe with fresh plants last year to be sure it worked before I shared it, and was very happy with the results. Although the growing season here in central NY means it will be a few months from now before plants are ready for harvest, the recipe can be made for use later in the season, and also be ready to go for next Spring. It can also be made with dried plant matter if it’s still fully aromatic. The finished product can be stored for up to 2 years.

This insect repellent recipe is easy to make and works great. I sprayed my exposed skin and my clothing each time I went outside and was never bitten, saw no ticks, and found flying insects didn’t even come near. The instructions are for 2 quarts, but you can make larger or smaller quantities by simply adjusting the vegetable glycerin amount to the size of the jar you want to use.

The recipe includes suggested plants, but any plant that is strongly aromatic throughout (not just the flowers) will work. The scent carried by these plants is a natural bug repellent, produced by the plant to protect itself from insects that would destroy it. The repellent is safe for humans and dogs, but do not use on cats as most scented plants are toxic to them.

The vegetable glycerin in the recipe helps preserve the scent in the finished product, but can be made without it. The witch hazel (which is also a deterrent to bugs) binds it all together. Alcohol or vinegar can also be used in place of the witch hazel, but those substances tend to evaporate more quickly, so will not last as long once sprayed on the body.

Please note: Do not use essential oils instead of plant matter! Essential oils are created from plants, but the end result no longer represents the natural healing components of a whole plant. Essential oils are created by a refining process that, instead of extracting the beneficial components of a plant in a balanced way, condenses enormous quantities of plant matter into the tiny amounts sold in each bottle. The resulting oil is highly concentrated amounts of the very chemicals that the plant uses to protect itself from predators. The heady aroma of an essential oil is condensed poison that endangers the health of humans, animals, and our environment. For more info on essential oils see my post Be Essential Oil Free.

Let the bugs be gone in a healthy way for you and the great outdoors.

Together in Wellness,


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page