Do Essential Oils For Bug Bites Actually Work? An Investigation

Go natural!

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Getting bug bites comes with the summer time territory. But spraying yourself down head to toe in some heavy duty chemical spray may not be doing you so good. Using products such as DEET spray can be harmful to us in the long run. While there may be some prevention of getting bitten, we also put ourselves at risk of absorbing the chemicals in the spay into our skin and building up in our tissue. 


“I sprayed myself! And it’s like I’m attracting them!” or “What’s in this spray, SUGAR?! I think they like it!” are probably some of the things you have said or have heard someone say right before they are being chewed down by every flying or crawling insect from the four corners of the world. However, some people are more prone than others to be bitten by bugs such as the lovable mosquito. This is due to body chemistry and genetics.

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In short, some people are just more irresistible than others to bugs and the strong chemicals unfortunately will not help much. But what about using essential oils for bug bites?


Well, as of late, mosquitos and ticks have become a serious problem due to the fact that they carry diseases that can be quite serious. Sometimes the simplest route is the most effective, and essential oils have been used as an effective method for healing for thousands of years.

Many essential oils have the power to repel insects by blocking their sensory for hours at a time. This is because the oils are derived from plants that have natural chemicals made to repel predators, mainly insects. When we extract the oil from those plants, we are able to share those very same properties.


Do essential oils for bug bites work? Here are some amazing essential oils to prevent getting eaten alive and also to treat your current bumps. 

Basil Essential Oil

Basil has a great reputation and has been used as an antibacterial and antifungal healer for over 5,000 years! Putting a dab of this on your bug bites will stop the itching immediately and promote the healing process. If you don’t have oil but you have some leaves, you can even rub some of the leaves on your bites.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is amazing for preventing bug bites and also helping soothe them because it works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Be sure to use this powerful oil with a carrier oil like grapeseed or coconut, and use a fine mist to spray on your bed to keep from getting bitten in your sleep.


Tea Tree Oil

We all know the smell and it’s not the rosiest. Apparently, mosquitos aren’t quite fond of it either! Tea tree oil is great for preventing getting bitten in the first place and also will help dry out any bites you already have. 

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Very powerful and possibly the most popular choice because it comes from the Lemon Eucalyptus tree which contains 80 percent Citronellal. You can use this safely topically and on children.


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Catnip Essential Oil

Catnip Essential Oil is a historical favorite among hunters and other tribal communities. It has been shown to repel mosquitos as well as ticks and other flying insects. 

Citronella Oil



Citronella Oil has been used as an insect repellent since the 1940s. The smell works by masking the actual scent that insects are attracted to, so they miss their prey because they can’t smell it. Combining this oil with vanilla has been shown to repel mosquitos for more than three hours. It's extracted from Lemongrass and popularly used as candles.

Cedar Wood Essential Oil

Cedar Wood oil has been very effective against mosquitos carrying malaria along with ticks, ants and red fire ants. This oil is safe for dogs too as it also targets fleas!

Combining essential oils together has been proven to be more effective at repelling mosquitos and other insects than just using one individually.

It is important to note that there are different types of mosquitos that can carry different types of diseases. For example, mixing geranium oil with vanilla oil has been shown to be effective in shielding from the Aedes mosquito that carry dengue, while Thyme oil has been more effective working as an agent against mosquitos carrying malaria and filarial diseases. Using essential oil carriers like coconut and soybean oil add to the effectiveness of the oil and does not dilute it. 


There are other ways to protect yourself against bug bites using essential oils besides putting it on topically such as a spray. If you like the idea of spraying a natural repellent on yourself, making one is quite easy. You can use water and then combine the desired essential oils with just a few drops and then shake well and apply.

Candles containing citronella or geraniol are widely popular in repelling mosquitos and other insects and keeping them far away. Diffusers are another way to distribute the oil whether you are indoors or outdoors. 

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Christina Wright is a New York based freelance writer covering entertainment, beauty, interior design and all things fashionably interesting. Christina mostly enjoys reading, and doing things “for the funny story later."