6 Essential Oils You Need For The Fight Against Mosquitoes
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people that mosquitoes absolutely love. I can take a short hike with a friend and while they start to complain about their two or three bug bites, I’m already scratching at ten itchy spots. Even when I tried using DEET, it simply would not protect me enough, plus it stinks.
At one point, I decided to volunteer with dogs in Thailand. We mainly worked outside, so the mosquitoes preyed on us constantly. Before I even got to use the bug spray that I brought, I was told that DEET and other chemicals commonly found in bug sprays are harmful to the dogs and other animals, especially if they lick the skin. Just when I thought all hope was over, another volunteer offered to share her citronella essential oil roll-on with me. I knew it couldn't hurt and long story short, I’m never heading into nature without an essential oil ever again.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are all-natural products that people have been using for thousands of years. They are hydrophobic (meaning they don’t dissolve in water) concentrated plant extracts with aromatic scents. Used throughout history for their medical and health properties, they are making a comeback as an inexpensive and safe method to help treat all types of mental and physical illnesses.
A few disclaimers...
* Please note that when buying essential oils, make sure they are 100% pure and organic, otherwise you may end up with something in the bottle that you don’t want.
* I always recommend doing a small patch test first. Dilute a drop of the essential oil with a carrier oil and apply a coin size over your inner forearm. Wait 24 hours and see if you have any adverse side effects.
* If you have any side effects at any point, wash out the oils immediately.
* Too much of anything is not good. Overusing any oils may cause oil build-up and may lead to other unwanted issues.
7 Essential Oils To Prevent Mosquito Bites
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a fantastic safe and effective alternative choice to keeping mosquitos or other biting bugs away. Along with its pleasant smell, there have been several research studies done that should make you purchase the essential oil immediately. One of the studies placed peppermint essential oil onto a person's arm, and on the other arm on ethanol. During the 3 hour experiment, the arm with peppermint only received 2 bites after the 150-minute mark, however, the other arm received almost ten. Find the essential oil here.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a pleasant-smelling essential oil to people, however, mosquitos hate it. Planting lavender around the home will create a long term barrier against mosquitoes. Lavender essential oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory so it is great for getting rid of bites. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil (I recommend coconut oil since it is also great for sensitive skin) and apply to the bites. The itching should stop and the bite itself will reduce in redness and in size. Find the essential oil here.
3. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil is incredibly effective in the prevention of a mosquito bite. A study conducted in 2002 compared how 4 different essential oils protected hairless mice from mosquito bites. It found that the mice were 91% protected if they had thyme essential oil on them, the highest out of the other oils and the control. Find the essential oil here.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is great to keep handy since it protects from a bunch of different pesky bugs. Its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties can get rid of head lice, bed bugs, beetles, ants, and mosquitos. The oil is great for plenty of other medical reasons, and it brings along a fantastic earthy pine scent as well. Find the essential oil here.
5. Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This essential oil has the ability to repel all sorts of biting bugs, from ticks to mosquitoes. In fact, a study conducted in 2014 found that when comparing the effect of DEET and lemon eucalyptus essential oil, both have similar outcomes. The essential oil protected against mosquito bites for 3 hours at 95%, while DEET worked 100%. Consider using this essential oil for an alternative all-natural use and see for yourself how little those pesky bugs will get and you. Find the essential oil here.
5. Catnip Essential Oil
Yes, you read that right. Catnip essential oil has been found to be 10 times more effective than DEET. This was discovered after finding out that catnip even repels cockroaches. The one thing we know for sure that it doesn’t repel is cats, so consider that when planting catnip or spraying the essential oil.
Citronella essential oil is perhaps one of the more famous essential oils used to fend off mosquitos. Often found in premade lanterns for camping, this essential oil can also be applied directly to the skin with a carrier oil for continuous protection when you are outside. A study from 2013 found that citronella essential oil is more effective with continuous use such as through candles. Find the essential oil here.
How To Use Essential Oils
Dilute a few drops of the preferred essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray yourself down as you normally would as this is safe on clothes and skin. If you find that the oil sticks to the bottle or won’t mix in well with the water, consider throwing in a teaspoon of Epsom salt and shaking it before further use.
Check out this earlier blog that gives a step-by-step tutorial about making candles! Light these inside or outside, though consider having more than one when outside for extra protection.
Use a pre-bought diffuser if mosquitos are prone to getting into your home. Mix and match your favorite essential oils and let them do the work for you. You’ll have a great smelling home and no mosquitos in sight.
American Chemical Society. "Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2001.
Choi, Won-Sik et al. “Repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pallens.” Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association vol. 18,4 (2002): 348-51.
Frances, S P et al. “Comparative laboratory and field evaluation of repellent formulations containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil against mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia.” Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association vol. 30,1 (2014): 65-7. doi:10.2987/13-6366.1
Hsu, Wey-Shin et al. “Formulas of components of citronella oil against mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).” Journal of environmental science and health. Part. B, Pesticides, food contaminants, and agricultural wastes vol. 48,11 (2013): 1014-9. doi:10.1080/03601234.2013.816613
Kumar, Sarita et al. “Bioefficacy of Mentha piperita essential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine vol. 1,2 (2011): 85-8. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60001-4