3 Best Natural Insect Repellents for Helping You Survive The Summer

June 7, 2021

natural insect repellents

Summer is the prime time to spend outdoors relaxing, exercising, or getting some vitamin D. But being outside has its challenges, such as getting sunburned, or even having bug bites.

I’m one of those people who hates mosquitos and have found out by experience that I attract them easily and am allergic. Yuck! 

When I get bit, the area gets so itchy for days, and then actually scars over. I’ve tried using different bug repellants and sprays, but nothing seemed to work (or I reeked of bug spray). 

I wanted to try something natural and easy to use that would save my skin and let me enjoy the outdoors. If this is something you struggle with, hopefully, the following best natural insect repellents will help you to survive the summer bugs without losing your sanity. 

natural insect repellents

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Lavender 

Lavender smells amazing, and it is actually one of the best natural insect repellents out there. Lavender helps to clean and smooth skin, so has other properties besides being a helpful bug spray. You can use lavender oil on the exposed and bite-susceptible areas of your body to help protect yourself. Lavender oil isn’t that expensive and you can find it in most herbal stores. Plus, it makes you smell clean and fresh! 

Citronella 

This one is the most used natural bug repellent, and it is easily effective in repelling mosquitoes. You do have to make sure the citronella you get is formulated correctly, if you make your own, or else it could evaporate quite quickly! Using candles or even citronella oil will help you to rid yourself of pests easily. Citronella also has a light and almost citrusy smell, which some people really like. 

Tea tree oil 

This oil is really good for helping to treat acne as well, not just fighting mosquitos! Tea tree oil has a very strong smell, so be careful when using it. It can also be expensive, depending on where you’re getting the oil from. But a recent field test showed that insect repellents with tea tree oil in them were effective at fighting off mosquitoes. 

Essential oil safety

I do have to give a short warning with these natural insect repellents: essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, and shouldn’t be put directly on your skin, but rather diluted into another oil, such as sunflower oil. 

The bottle you buy at the store is safe to put on your skin, but if you’re making your own oils at home, use carrier oils to help dilute these to make them safer. Please note that these oils may also give you an allergic reaction, and if that is the case, do not use them and try something else for bug repellent. 

Non-topical insect repellents

While these plants are easily some of the best natural insect repellents out there, there are many more plants you can use in the form of candles or oils to help stop bug bites.

 If you’re out camping or using a bonfire, you can also put dried sage leaves (sold in most apothecaries or natural health stores) in the fire to clear the air of pests. The sage has an extremely strong smell and may burn your eyes for a bit, but it is effective at making sure the bugs stay away.

Listening to your body

Besides these repellents, it’s important to be safe and careful always when you’re outside. Common sense can easily be forgotten if you’re having a good time, so make sure to listen to your body to judge how you’re feeling. Hydration and sunscreen are extremely important in safely enjoying a good summer sun. Your mind and body will thank you in the long run for taking the time to be mindful of the environment’s impact on your skin. 

More about Kenna Castleberry

Kenna Castleberry is a science communicator finishing her M.Sc. at Imperial College, London. Her hobbies include running, archery, hiking, yoga, reading, and podcast listening.

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