With outdoor hangouts and overnight camping trips comes summer bugs like mosquitos, ticks, and flies. To repel bugs swiftly and naturally, turn to essential oils. In this article, we’re sharing the top essential oils to repel supper bugs and our favorite essential oil recipes for summer bugs. 

The Best Essential Oils to Repel Summer Bugs 


Citronella essential oil is one of the most well-known and often-used natural bug repellents. It’s even been registered as a natural option to ward off bugs since 1948! Citronella has a strong scent similar to lemongrass essential oil but a way more potent put-off scent when diffused or applied to the skin via a homemade spray. 


Geranium essential oil’s compound geraniol is a natural repellent to all kinds of bugs, including ticks, flies, mosquitoes, and roaches! But make sure to keep geranium away from your pets when you diffuse this homemade mosquito repellent in your home. You can mix 2 to 3 drops of geranium with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin or diffuse 5 drops. 

Tea Tree 

Tea tree is a powerful summer bug repellant that can kill lice, fleas, and ticks. It can also help deter biting from mosquitos and flies. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and apply to any part of your body. 


Studies show that peppermint essential oil can kill mosquito larvae in people. Mosquitoes also despise the smell of peppermint, making it a no-brainer choice to add to your homemade mosquito repellent. You can even mix a couple of drops with a carrier oil and apply the mixture to your arms and legs. 


Rosemary essential oil can do more than stimulate healthy hair growth and focus—this oil can also repel unwanted summer bugs. Its strong aroma wards off any insects quickly and effectively. 


Eucalyptus oil’s strong scent not only repels bugs but also kills certain pests like mites and aphids. Diffuser 5 drops of eucalyptus or mix 2 drops with a carrier oil and apply to skin. 


Organic farmers use neem essential oil as a natural insecticide for their plants—and it works the same for humans, too. Neem oil is jam-packed with fatty acids that are wonderful for the skin but incredibly bitter for any bugs that bite. Combine 2-3 drops with a carrier oil and apply to the skin.


Lemongrass oil’s scent repels bugs but smells terrific to humans, making it a fabulous option for a homemade mosquito repellant. Add a few drops to a diffuser or mix with a carrier oil and apply to exposed skin. 


You may be surprised to learn that bugs hate the smell of lavender. Diffuse lavender, apply it directly on skin or add to a spray to keep annoying bugs at bay. 

Essential Oil Recipes for Summer Bugs

Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray 


  • 2 oz dark glass spray bottle 
  • 1 oz apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 drops lemongrass
  • 5 drops eucalyptus 
  • 5 drops peppermint 
  • 5 drops tea tree 

Directions: Add essential oils to vinegar and shake well to combine. Top off with water. You have the option to try different essential oils to see which combo works best for you. Get creative with some of the oils we listed above! 

Deep Woods Insect Repellent Oil 


  • 2 oz dark glass spray bottle 
  • 2 oz of carrier oil 
  • 5 drops neem 
  • 5 drops rosemary
  • 5 drops cedar 

Directions: combine all of the ingredients and shake well. This is a great option to use before going out on a summer camping trip in the woods to prevent ticks and other crawling bugs. 

Mosquito Repellent Diffuser Recipe 


  • 3 drops citronella 
  • 3 drops geranium 
  • 3 drops lavender 

Directions: If you’re having a summer barbecue outdoors, this recipe is a fabulous option to keep summer bugs at bay. Place water and oils in a diffuser and place the diffuser on your deck or porch 20 minutes before going outside. 

No Bugs Welcomed After Sunset Diffuser Recipe 

  • 10 drops rosemary 
  • 6 drops cedarwood 

Directions: diffuse this recipe before heading outside to watch the sunset 

Humans Love, Summer Bugs Hate Spray 


  • 2 oz dark spray bottle (or bigger) 
  • 1.5 tablespoons of distilled water 
  • 1 teaspoon of carrier oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of witch hazel 
  • 8 drops geranium 
  • 5 drops lavender 
  • 5 drops rosemary 
  • 2 drops patchouli 

Directions: Combine all ingredients in the spray bottle and shake well before spraying on your skin. Avoid eyes and mouth.

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