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!)


Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category.  Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.

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  1. My vet is always nagging and shaming me to use heart worm prevention and flea and tick prevention. Never mind that my little dogs spend little time outdoors or that these products are toxins. Every time I am in I must explain I’d rather treat if/ when the problem arises rather than poison them monthly for a problem that does not exist. I don’t do annual vaccines either. Just puppy vacs. My last 2 dogs had terrible cysts and a one had a tumor at the vaccination site and surrounding area. My current two have none. I will definitely be trying your spray. I already use lavender, Artemisia, and fresh or dried herbs in my nest boxes as well as some tied bundles in summer above the roost. I also sprinkle wood ash and herbs into the PDZ on the poop table under the roost to keep mites at bay. The coop probably smells nicer than my house, LOL.

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