Homemade Fly & Mosquito Repellent – will it work?


don’t let the bugs keep you from enjoying the great outdoors

The critters are bad in Cape Breton this year. Partly because we’ve had a very, very wet spring – which means the black flies are hatching in small batches, prolonging their human biting season. And this, according to the expert on CBC radio, means we will also have a lot more mosquitos as well. And thanks to a drastic decrease in the bat population for the area these blood suckers have more chances to survive longer. Which means more bites and bother for us humans who like to enjoy the outdoors.

So I have been bad… I have used repellent with Deet in it on my 5-year old (I know… worst mother ever!) Not a lot because it is so strong and worries me, but the bugs are so bad and the family stuff doesn’t seem to work.

Yet, I am not so bad a mother that I am not looking for a better, eco-friendly version of the stay away bug remedy and thanks to www.motherearthnews.com I have found a few suggestions.

Apparently, the essential oil of catnip is 10 times more effective at keeping mosquitos away as Deet. Other good herbs include basil, rosemary, citronella (although i have tried this and not found it that great) lemon basil and rose geranium to name a few.

The site also offers a recipe for making your own spray, which I am going to put to the test this weekend.


  • 2 tsp of any of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrhh, pine, rose geranium or rosemary
  • 1 cup 190 proof grain alcohol (get this at the liquor stor)

Put ingredients in a jar with tight lid (like a mason jar) and shake… shake hard! Put in smaller bottle for storage (to keep evaporation at a low) and then rub on exposed skin when needed.

Now,  I am probably going to try and find catnip, not listed in the recipe, and mix that with one of the other oils that might smell better. And I will let you know how it works.

If you want to try it, let me know how you fair out too.

And if you have your own, homemade bug stay away concoction please let me know. I am tired of being the appetizer for the skitters and little Princess D being the main course. Although, I am thankful to report Princess D has had no eye swelling shut so far this bug biting season.


2 thoughts on “Homemade Fly & Mosquito Repellent – will it work?

    • nice! i will have to try that. i have been using tea tree oil on the bites when they are too itchy… takes the itch away for a bit… and the poor dog we are fostering is getting eaten alive so i will try that on him too:) thanks!

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