Make Your Own Bug Repellent

by Jennifer Desrosiers

We live in an area crawling with bugs. (ew right!?) We have ticks that can carry Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus. Now, perhaps more than ever, it's important to protect yourself from bugs so you can do all of the things you love!

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick and if left untreated, the disease can cause very serious health problems.   

The spread of the tick population and overall exposure has increased dramatically in the past few years. Another bummer... Lyme disease is also under reported due to the relative inadequacy of the testing. 

Let’s protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our homes with safe and ecologically sound practices so we can continue to participate in the very things that bring us joy.  

A couple of weeks ago, Wild Adventurous Life hosted a workshop called The Trouble With Bugs. Emmy Katz, WAL co-founder and Physician Assistant at the Stram Center in NY, talked about what bugs are out there and why we should protect ourselves and the ones we love.  Dr. Mara Sussman, doctor of chiropractic and CPTG essential oil expert, taught us about the power of using essential oils for personal wellness and how they are a safe and highly effective bug repellent.

Most commercial bug repellents are ladened with harmful chemicals including DEET which has been proven to cause severe health issues. Making bug repellents at home is not only easy, but it's healthier for you and our environment!

Here's a quick reference of those essential oils that have been shown to be effective bug repellents. Choose those essential oils that you are most attracted to. There's no wrong way when it comes to making your own blends. Use your oil blends in the recipes below!


Tea Tree (Malaleuca) – The oil of energetic boundaries. Renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin, promotes healthy immune function, protects against environmental and seasonal threats.

Sandalwood – The oil of sacred devotion. Promotes healthy looking, smooth skin, reduces the appearance of scars and skin imperfections, enhances mood, frequently used in meditation for its grounding and uplifting properties.

Rosemary – The oil of knowledge and transition. Supports healthy digestion, supports healthy respiratory function, helps reduce nervous tension and fatigue.

Eucalyptus – The oil of wellness. Helps to clear the mind, promotes feelings of relaxation, promotes feelings of clear breathing.

Cedarwood – The oil of community. Naturally repels insects, promotes relaxation.

Lavender – The oil of communication. Soothes occasional skin irritations, taken internally, Lavender reduces anxious feelings and promotes peaceful sleep, helps ease feelings of tension.

Peppermint – The oil of a buoyant heart. Promotes healthy respiratory function and clear breathing, promotes digestive health, repels bugs naturally.

Lemongrass – The oil of cleansing. Supports healthy digestion when taken in a capsule, combine with a carrier oil for soothing massage, apply diluted after a long run for a refreshing feeling.

Clove – The oil of boundaries. Powerful antioxidant properties, supports cardiovascular health, helps clean teeth and gums.

TerraShield – Repellent blend. Ylang Ylang Flower, Nootka Wood, Cedarwood Wood, Catnip, Lemon Eucalyptus, Litsea Fruit, Arborvitae Wood essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil and Tamanu Seed Oil. Acts as an effective, natural barrier, can be used safely by everyone in the family.

"Emotions & Essential Oils"  by Enlighten Publishing

Where to source essential oils:
DoTerra Essential Oils

Where to source glass spray bottles or salve containers:
Your Oil Tools


Makes approximately 2oz.
2 tbsp witch hazel
2 tbsp organic apply cider vinegar or distilled water
10 drops doTERRA essential oil (try blends that include tea tree, sandalwood, rosemary, eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, clove, or TerraShield)

(1) Mix together in glass bottle
(2) Spray on liberally avoiding eyes and mouth


Makes approximately 2oz.
2 oz fractionated coconut oil
10 drops doTERRA essential oil custom repellent blend or other oils as preferred

(1) Mix together in glass roller bottle or spray bottle
(2) Apply liberally avoiding eyes and mouth



Makes approximately 2oz.
2 tbsp organic unrefined shea butter
2 tbsp organi beeswax
2 tbsp organic coconut oil
20-40 drops doTERRA essential oil (lavender, tea tree, peppermint)

(1) In medium size stock pot, add 2” water and bring to a simmer
(2) Place stainless bowl on top of stockpot to create a double boiler
(3) Add shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil
(4) Gently whisk until liquefied and remove from heat
(5) Add essential oils to preference and combine thoroughly
(6) Quickly pour into stainless or glass container and allow to cool thoroughly before capping

We hope you have fun making your own bug repellents! Have questions about this. Email us, here!