9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

It’s summer…and it’s buggy. This time of year, the heat and humidity are bad enough, and I break out my go-to essential oils to repel insects when we’re outside.

 

(This article is based on my new book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Grab it on Amazon here!)

 

I have another recipe where you can use herbs, but I’ve found oils work better because they’re concentrated plants in a bottle – so much more powerful than just the herbs themselves when it comes to insects.

 

Because they’re weaker than oils, if you spray yourself with an herbal solution, it will dissipate faster – so you’ll need to spray yourself again and again. With oils, I found we only need to do it once or twice while outside.

 

In this article, we’re going to talk about recipes you can make at home that you can use on yourself and your family to keep bugs at bay.

 

The bugs we’ll discuss are:

 

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Wasps/Hornets
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

The Go-To Essential Oil For Killing Insects

Yes, there is a single one you can depend on (although there’s more you’ll want to use). Orange essential oil kills insects because it destroys their exoskeletons. In any recipe you make yourself, be sure it includes orange essential oils.

 

A word of note: Citrus essential oils, in large quantities, can harm your cats because it interferes with their liver. (It’s fine with other animals.) If your kitties hang out outside a lot, then don’t spray orange unless you can be sure your kitties will not be outside for 24-48 hours. Use any of the other alternative oils we talk about in this article, and just make sure there’s good circulation.

 

Ants

I hate these buggers. They’re arrogant insects, thinking they can get into whatever sugar I leave on the counter and invading my home whenever suits them….but there is hope.

 

The BEST I’ve found to repel ants is cinnamon oil.

 

Because it’s so strong, it interferes with their neuroreceptors and they can’t send signals (by pheromones) back to their nest to come grab whatever goody they’ve happened upon. It unnerves them, and they leave the scene rapidly.

 

It’s satisfying to watch the insects scurry away.

 

You can apply cinnamon directly to the area you want the ants to leave, without dilution, or you can dilute 10 drops in 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake before use, and spray away.

 

If you plan to spray it directly ON the ants, also mix 10 drops of orange essential oil into the spray bottle. (If you’re allergic to cinnamon oil, you can use any of the oils listed above as an alternative).

 

If you plan to spray it on yourself, dilute it with carrier oils like coconut or sweet almond, or dilute with water or alcohol. Cinnamon is a “hot” oil, meaning on people with sensitive skin or children, it can cause skin irritation. Be safe.

 

Flies

I hate flies even more than ants. They’re just as annoying insects, except they ACTIVELY try to get in your face.

 

I have a great article with my favorite recipe to get rid of flies with essential oils here. It’s the best recipe I’ve found, and it actually works. It includes lemongrass and eucalyptus (which have many more uses than fly spray, by the way).

 

Wasps/Hornets

 

  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella

Mix 8 drops of any of the above oils with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other oil you love. Rub it on your body to keep the suckers away.

 

In this article, I show you how to eliminate wasp nests with liquid castile soap – You can also add the above oils along with orange to the castile soap mixture to kill ‘em dead.

 

Word of warning: You don’t want to use the orange essential oils on your body to repel wasps  – it will ATTRACT them since it smells sweet (wasps are attracted to sweet smells), and it can trigger photosensitivity (potentially causing some nasty burns) if you plan to remain outdoors.

 

(Orange is otherwise VERY safe to use – just avoid it on areas that will be uncovered if you plan to be out in the sun for a while.)

 

Mosquitoes

Summertime is mosquito time on our farm. With all the poop we have, the rotten insects LOVE to build nests and breed….and freeload off our livestock.

 

Whenever we go outside, I grab my purple spray bottle containing the following oils (in equal parts, mixed with 8 oz of water). As a bonus, we all smell better.

 

Citronella : Everyone knows that citronella repels mosquitoes, and it’s my go-to oil to repel ‘em. You can mix it (in a roller bottle) with any of the oils we discuss below for a more powerful solution that’s convenient to put on.

 

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s to repel mosquitoes, and is approved by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.

 

Lavender: Lavender essential oil is great for relaxing and smelling good, but did you also know it can repel mosquitoes? Lavender can also be used to support healthy skin!

 

Ticks

Ahh…ticks. The lovely buggers that gave me lyme disease about 10 years ago. That was not fun…lots of yogurt, since I couldn’t eat anything else while I recovered.

 

These days, our chickens do a pretty good job of keeping the population down (yet another bonus to keeping a backyard flock), but if you plan to go camping or take a walk in the woods, here’s some essential oils you can put in a roller bottle or a spray bottle (along with water or alcohol – rubbing alcohol stays on longer) to repel the dirty insects.

 

You can mix and match 8 drops of oil with 8 oz of water or alcohol:

 

  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar (cedarwood oils)
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus

 

The CDC has even said that the above are safe essential oils to repel insects (specifically ticks!)

Get Rid Of Wasps Naturally and Practically For Free!

Get Rid Of Wasps Naturally and Practically For Free!

If your organic garden has been invaded by wasps, chances are you’re probably wondering how to get rid of wasps naturally.

 

While they make great pollinators, unfortunately, if wasps have decided you’re invading their territory, you might be getting stung – which can put a damper on any fun garden activities very quickly.

 

Similarly, wasp nests are no fun – and they can creep up in the smallest places we wouldn’t expect (we’ve found them in chicken coops – no fun for you OR your chickens, believe me!).

 

(This article is based off my #1 Amazon Bestselling book, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Get your copy here).

Get rid of wasps naturally with these organic tips!

 

You CAN go for the stuff you buy at your local big box store – but we personally try to avoid those products, and have gotten rid of them in our house. They’re full of chemicals that neither our children or our animals need to inhale (in fact, for chickens, with the delicate upper respiratory systems, commercial insecticides can cause a lot of damage or even death in your flock).

 

To preserve the effort you’ve put out keeping your backyard organic and your family healthy, you’ll want to get rid of wasps naturally and ALSO stop wasps from coming back so you can enjoy your backyard once again.

 

Luckily, these organic options also happen to be pretty cheap, and you can create an effective natural insecticide for just pennies.

 

Create a wasp trap…naturally

 

If you’re like us, you probably have some soda bottles hanging around your house. To create a trap that’ll get rid of wasps naturally, cut the top 1/3rd of the soda bottle (also be sure to remove any wrap – if the bottle is reflecting light, it’s less attractive to wasps).

 

Leaving the screw cap off, turn the cut piece upside down and place it back inside the remainder of the bottle.

 

Pour apple juice into 1/2 the bottle – wasps will be attracted to the juice and enter the trap, but won’t be able to leave. Eventually, they will get caught in the juice and die.

 

You’ll want to place the trap away from areas of the garden you visit frequently to reduce your chances of crossing paths with a bunch of angry wasps (or worse – you might tip it over, and find yourself surrounded by a swarm with your name on it).

 

Empty the bottle when it’s full of dead wasps, or sooner if it starts to smell (if you’re pregnant and sensitive to smells, this is a “must do” and I suggest having your spouse or partner do it for you).

 

How To Get Rid Of Wasps Nests Naturally

 

If picking off wasps one by one isn’t for you, then you’ll want to turn to getting rid of the entire nest. Chances are you WON’T get all the wasps quickly with the soda bottle trick – but you CAN get rid of wasps in your backyard by knocking out the entire nest.

 

For this all natural solution, you’ll need pure liquid castile soap (I like this brand) and a hose-end sprayer like this one. Pour the soap into the sprayer until it’s ½ full, and attach to your favorite garden hose.

 

Turn the water on, and wait until you see suds. Spray the wasps nest thoroughly for a couple minutes, depending on the size of the nest.

 

Check to see if any wasps are still flying around – if they are, then keep spraying. Rinse and repeat the following day if some, but not all, are dead.

 

It’s better to use this spray in the early evening as the sun is going down – wasps will be back in their nests and will be subdued by the lack of light. They will then be less likely to sting.

 

Preventing Wasps Naturally

 

While nothing is 100 percent effective to prevent wasps, there are something you can do, and it’s easier than trying to get rid of wasps later on.

 

Wasps are attracted by sweet smells and rotting garbage – so try to keep your trash closed and on lockdown. Don’t just dump it outside and out in the open (this will also cut down on other pests like raccoons, opossums, dogs, etc).

 

If you have an orchard, be sure to pick up any rotting fruit from the ground.

 

Want to get rid of wasps naturally? Here's how to do it organically!

Plants that Deter Wasps Naturally

 

If you have room in your garden, you can plant some wasp-repelling plants. Just be aware that these plants might also deter bees, which is no good for an organic garden, since we depend on bees for pollination.

 

Some plants to deter wasps naturally include:

 

  • Wormwood (Artemisia)
  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella

 

You can also try essential oils for these plants (there isn’t one for wormwood that I know of). Simply sprinkle a couple drops of the oil on a rag and hang in your garden. You can also soak cotton balls in the oils.

 

Photo of wasp: By Richard Bartz, Munich aka Makro Freak – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2576477

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you tried to get rid of wasps naturally? Leave a comment below!

 

Real Homesteader Stories Episode 3: They Call It A Bird Brain For A Reason + Baby Bunny Update!

Real Homesteader Stories Episode 3: They Call It A Bird Brain For A Reason + Baby Bunny Update!

This week on Real Homesteader Stories, I tell you about our duckling drama & an update on the baby bunnies!

 

It’s been a couple weeks since my last Real Homesteader Stories (TM), and that’s because I’ve finally got the cough that wouldn’t die to go away. BUT I’m back now, with more stories about our farm!

 

Things were interesting as we tried helping a renegade duckling that broke free of the brooder and swallowed a string. You also get to see the baby bunnies (including the fosterlings) up close & personal!

 

(BTW, if you’re wondering, after three weeks of misery, I applied Eucalyptus + Melaleuca daily for 4 days using a roller bottle. Neat, no dilution. Learn more here.)

 

 

 

The Best All-Natural Bug Spray Using Essential Oils!

The Best All-Natural Bug Spray Using Essential Oils!

Bug season is upon us….and when you have as many animals as we do, you have a LOT of flies!

 

I used to buy store-bought bug sprays, but after many years working at the FDA, I know what’s in them…and there’s natural options I prefer to use, especially on my kids.

 

(A lot of you have asked about which oils I personally use. Here’s everything you need to know!)

 

So, I’m going to show you how to use essential oils to make a safe, non-toxic bug spray that’s worked for us. 

 

There’s a couple variations depending on the scents you like best. I personally prefer to go with Lemongrass but you can switch it out with Lavender or any other scent you like.

 

The only thing to remember is that if you want to use a citrus scent, the oils can make you more photo-sensitive. So just keep that in mind before you use them!

 

You CAN leave oils for scent out, but I’ve found that Eucalyptus can sometimes smell medicinal….so if you’re sensitive to those smells or your kids object, consider adding something like Lavender.

 

The Eucalyptus and Peppermint do a great job at deterring flies and no-see-ums. We have one horse that’s particularly sensitive to no-see-ums, and he seems much more comfortable after an application.

 

How to Make A Non-Toxic Bug Spray With Essential Oils

 

For an easy to make all natural, non-toxic bug spray here’s what you can use:

 

  • 10 drops Lemongrass or Lavender for scent
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops Peppermint

 

Slowly drip each oil into a 10mL roller bottle (this is the brand I buy) and top with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, or avocado oil.

 

The roller bottle makes it super simple to apply to your body, and you can feel confident knowing that it’s totally safe for your kids.

 

Before going outside, simply roll the bug spray onto your neck, arms and legs.

 

This recipe also works as a spray for animals. You can mix it with 8 ounces of water and pour into a spray bottle. Just be sure to shake and mix before using for the best results.

 

You can spray it in your chicken coop to deter flies, however, I don’t recommend using it ON your chickens.

 

There you have it! A simple and easy bug spray you can make again and again in your own home!

 

(Ready to grab some essential oils so you can get bugs out of your life for good? Here’s everything you need to know!)