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Published on November 18th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


Natural Insect Repellent

If you dread heading to the great outdoors for fear of being consumed by hungry insects, but you don’t relish the thought of slathering on smelly, toxic insect repellent, you’re in luck!  Camp, hike, and travel green with these safe and natural insect repellents:

Homemade: Some essential oils known for their insect offending scents include tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, and lavender.  As an added benefit, these oils have a fragrance many people find appealing.  To prepare the mixture:

  • Add approximately 1-2 oz of your chosen oil (or as much as your sniffer can handle!) to a 12 or 16 oz spray bottle.  Add water and swirl.
  • When you’re ready to head out, simply spray the mixture on all exposed areas (including your face and clothes).
  • The mixture should be strong enough to repel bugs but not so strong that it disables your olfactory senses.

Store Shelves: Stores now stock many effective natural repellents that make use of citronella, a popular, non-toxic, essential oil extracted from the leaves and stems of a grass species that has strong bug discouraging properties, and a fresh citrus scent.  Many products also include other natural repellent scents, such as lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, and lavender.  Many natural health food stores now sell a condensed version of these in the form of small skin wipes.

The Newest Natural Defense: A promising new product, Don’t Bug Me, is a waterproof patch currently available online and at some stores.  The patch time-releases a supply of B-1 vitamins and Aloe vera directly into your skin.  Apply the product 2 hours before you head out to meet the winged masses—it creates an odor offensive to biting insects, offering protection for up to 36 hours.  Visit or search for a store in your area that carries the product.

If you do happen to acquire some bites during your outdoor excursion, apply an antiseptic, like tea tree oil,  to stop the sting and reduce inflammation.

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