Natural mosquito repellant

Try making your own natural mosquito repellant with essential oils!natural mosquito repellant

Upon sitting at a bar-b-q the other day and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, I thought to myself, "AHA! This would make a article!"

Some oils, like tea tree oil, can be applied straight on to your skin.

Others, try combining with some olive oil and spreading it on. The olive oil itself will deter mosquitoes.

Simply put a few drops in a handful of the carrier oil and spread it on you. You can use other carrier oils as well, such as almond or jojoba.

Essential oils to try: Eucalyptus, citronella, catnip, or even basil. Eucalyptus and citronella make a nice, effective combination.

Yarrow and tansy infused oil

If you know how to make herbal oils, try a yarrow (or even a tansy) infused oil. Use this externally. You learn how to make infused oils in the Herbal Medicine Making Kit.

If you have lots of bites...

If you have mosquito bites, then try a little tea tree oil on the bites. It is a great mosquito bite remedy.

Let's hear it from the expert

Tamarack Song is the founder of the Teaching Drum Outdoor School. He gave me permission to share this information with you. It is part of an article he wrote about dealing with mosquitoes naturally.

Here's what Tamarack has to say about natural mosquito repellant tips...

Tips from Tamarack...


• Stay in the breeze. Mosquito can fly only eight m.p.h., so it doesn't take much to waft her away.

• Create a breeze. A 50 yard dash will leave the swarm lost and confused.  Repeat as necessary.

• Choose a high sunny location.  Mosquito dehydrates easily, so seeks shade and low areas where the humidity is higher.  If all else fails, climb a tree or perch atop a rock. 


•   Wear long, loose-fitting garb to keep Mosquito from biting through to skin. Earth hues disguise us in the Woods; green is best, brown rates second. White masks your silhouette in the open.  Blue is worst; Mosquito mistakes it for a flowering plant from which she draws sustaining juices. Red flags her in also, as well as other insects.  (Below-waist colors aren't as critical; Mosquito will bite regardless.) 

•   Air out outdoor clothing so that it does not harbor attractive odors.

•   Drape a Fern frond, long hair or something similar over head and face. Mosquito doesn't like close overhead shadows or feeling boxed in while feeding. 


•   Go slowly, remain calm. The more we sweat, breathe and agitate, the more Mosquitoes we will attract and from a farther distance.

•   Walk first in line. The cumulative draw of a group of people is felt more the farther back in  line one is.


•   Eat raw garlic. The essence laces breath and exudes from skin pores, masking your lunch call. 

•   Eat foods and drink aromatic teas indigenous to your area.. You’ll then smell like  you belong. (I learned this from the local Natives, who did it to camouflage for the hunt.)

•   Avoid stimulants and sugar. They rev up the metabolism, which sends out louder invitations.

Skin Slatherings

•   Oil your skin. Mosquitoes are obsessive about keeping their wings grease-free. 

•   Apply an aromatic oil such as Cedar (or other conifer) or crushed orange peel, onion or garlic.  Give special attention to the warmest, leanest parts of your body — neck, armpits, ears, wrists — wherever blood vessels are close to the surface.

•   Teas of the above will work also, but lose effectiveness when they dry.  Sweat keeps them active.

•   Smoke skin, hair and clothing.  Make a small smudge fire (see box), hold clothing over smoke and work into hair. 

•    Avoid scented personal care products and laundry detergents.  They are seductive perfume to Mosquito when activated by body heat.


•   Choose midday or after dark to be out.  Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.

•   Choose a cool over a hot day, a sunny over a cloudy day, a low-humidity over a high-humidity day.

For Your Camp

•   Welcome Dragonflies and foster ponds — their breeding ground.  They can consume their weight in Mosquitoes in a half hour, they'll fly miles for the meal, and they can spot the buggers 50 feet away. Immature mosquitoes, called wrigglers, are water dwellers and the favorite food of Dragonfly larvae–also water dwellers. Old favorites like Bats and Purple Martins include an average of only a couple percent Mosquitoes in their diets.

•   Keep a section of yard open to sun and breeze. 

When On the Trail

•   Follow the guidelines under Location in choosing your campsite. 

•   Make a smudge fire to create a dense, cool, low-hanging smoke (see box).  When smoke hangs around, the Mosquitoes don't.

•   Sit tight.  If the Mosquito population is light to moderate, those in your immediate vicinity will soon satiate themselves (or get massacred — your choice) and you'll be left with just the occasional drifter to feed.

•   Brush them off. Our most common Mosquitoes take several seconds after landing to bite, so keepin' them hoppin' with a periodic sweep can be a temporary fix.

First Aid

A Mosquito bite itches and swells as the result of an allergic reaction to the anticoagulant in her saliva. The most effective treatment I've found is to alternately compress and release the bite to cause the toxin to disperse. This works for the bites of most other insects as well. 

Dehydration may magnify bite reaction; be sure to hydrate well before hitting the trail and also carry along adequate drinking water.

Perhaps the fact that I’m still alive and sane after years of outdoor living (without commercial repellant) in Skeeter Country is some testament to the fact that this mosquito bite prevention approach does work. And yet I like a few Mosquitoes around; they help me to slow down and they bring me teachings that touch many areas of my life. I am proud and honored to live in their domain and call them sister.

Thanks again Tamarack. Well, there are a few weekends left of summer fun... so ENJOY yourself.

Now you can even practice your herbal skills at your next bar-b-q!