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DIY Bug-OFF Spray

DIY Bug-OFF Spray

During the summer months, pest activity is heightened due to the warmer weather. On top of that, it’s likely that your family is spending a lot more time outdoors, increasing the chances you’ll have a run-in with more bugs than usual.

This is an easy recipe for keeping bugs at bay. Using essential oils, water, and a tinted glass spray bottle. Cobalt blue and amber are the most commonly used.

About the ingredients

For this recipe, I have chosen essential oils of lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme.

  • Lavender. Lavendula augustifolia from the botanical family Labiatae is the universal, go-to essential oil used to calm and balance the body in almost every situation. And repels mosquitoes too.
  • Lemongrass. Cymbopogon flexuosos. This essential oil is known for having antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. In addition, it has a powerful and warming smell, which you either love or hate. Lemongrass is an insect repellent and has been used historically as an insecticide. Lemongrass is commonly mistaken to be part of the citrus family because of its name. It is, in fact, from the botanical family Gramineae meaning grasses. Lemongrass looks like grass and is used in tea and culinary dishes.
  • Peppermint. Mentha piperita Botanical family: Labiatae. Another wonder plant with many healing properties. Commonly known throughout the world as a digestive aid, the leaves are drunk in many parts of the world as a  refreshing herbal tea after dinner. In addition, peppermint is a cooling oil and can help soothe itchy skin.
  • Thyme,  Thymus vulgaris is from the same botanical family as peppermint, Labiatae and is used for bites and stings

The recipeDIY Bug-Off Spray - Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of water
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 drops of Peppermint essential oil
  • 1 drop of thyme essential oil
  1. Here I am adding 5 drops of lavender essential oil.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 1 Lavander Oil
  2. Here I am adding five drops of lemongrass essential oil.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 2 Lemongrass Oil
  3. Here I am adding five drops of peppermint essential oil.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 3 Peppermint Oil
  4. And 1 drop of thyme essential oil.DIY Bug-Off Spray Step 4 - Thyme Oil
  5. I gave it a quick stir with a paper straw. You don’t have to do that. If you have a spray bottle large enough to hold a cup of water, then add the oils directly to your container. I am using a small spray bottle because I carry the bug spray with me. Making this amount because we get through it quickly.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 5
  6. I am using a plastic jug to decant my liquid into a small spray bottle. It has a tiny spout and, I found this the most convenient way to get the liquid into the bottle. You may have another system, and it is OK to go with that.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 6
  7. Decanting liquid into a spray bottle.DIY Bug-Off Spray - Step 7
  8. Here we are, the finished product. Nice and easy. I put my excess liquid into a wine bottle and keep it in the fridge. Even though the shelf life is long with essential oils. This recipe will get used up pretty quickly. We are experimenting with this in the bathroom as little bugs come up through the drain.
  9. Don’t forget to give the bottle a good shake before use.

Safety info

  • Thyme. Avoid through pregnancy and use with caution if you have high blood pressure. If using with children under 6, dilute even more. Rather than a drop of essential oil. Put a toothpick in the bottle swirl the toothpick in the water mixture.
  • Peppermint. Avoid through pregnancy and use with caution if you have high blood pressure.

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26 Comments

  • Jean Robinson Posted July 22, 2021 3:11 pm

    I use 91% alcohol with rose geranium and lemongrass oils in a spray bottle on myself and my dog. It works great, too.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted July 23, 2021 6:13 pm

      Hi Jean,

      That’s a good recipe too.
      Thank you for sharing this with us.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • Joni Posted July 22, 2021 3:16 pm

    Thank you!
    I’ve used cedar oil as well. And have diluted the oils in good witch hazel. What do you think of this?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted July 23, 2021 6:17 pm

      Hi Jodi,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Cedar Oil is a great bug repellant.
      And Witch hazel helps the scent of the oil linger for a longer period of time.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • Patti Posted July 22, 2021 4:41 pm

    What cautions should be used if one has high blood pressure? What if the blood pressure is being managed with medications?

  • Marilyn Posted July 22, 2021 5:14 pm

    I could really use help with a safe house spray. My house has become infested with tiny flying insects that look like gnats. I bought a beautiful fern with small round leaves. I noticed dark edges on each round leaf. They must have been insect eggs because the dark edges are gone and the house is full of these gnats. In addition, on all my light surfaces I can see very tiny black dots which I am sure are more eggs.. Can anyone recommend a safe spray I can use to get rid of these insects. I am desperate because they are so bad. I bought two bug zappers. One looks like an extra large light bulb which I leave on constantly. The other is hand held and looks like a tennis racket. I chase them around with that but I can’t keep up with the volume! Plus some are so small they go right through the metal mesh without being zapped. PLEASE HELP!

    • fcw Posted July 22, 2021 8:52 pm

      Try making a fruit fly trap using water, dish soap and apple cider vinager. Many videos on youtube.

    • Holly Posted July 23, 2021 1:55 pm

      Fruit Flys
      Take a , small dish place Apple Cider Vinegar in it.
      The Gnats will be drawn to it.
      They JUMP in & commit Suicide !
      Sometimes , I add a piece of fruit to attract them as well.
      Good Luck.

    • Me Posted July 23, 2021 2:00 pm

      Mason jar with apple cider vinegar/ water mixture. Leave out and they will drown. Works

    • Brenda Posted July 25, 2021 8:18 pm

      as a preventative: if you eat any kind of fruit that has a peel on it, put the peels in a ziplock bag before you put the peels in the trash. i finally kept my gnat problem away doing this after using the acv/dishwashing liquid trick

    • Wendy Posted August 5, 2021 8:40 pm

      Sounds like gnats. I have used yellow sticky paper with good success. Put them in your plant pots.

  • Robin Posted July 22, 2021 6:04 pm

    If oil and water don’t mix and oil floats on top, I am wondering how the EOs diffuse throughout the water and into each spritz (which I believe comes from the bottom of the bottle). I’ve wondered this for a long time with other DIY water and EO recipes. Just trying to understand. Thanks.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted July 23, 2021 6:26 pm

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you for your comment. This is indeed a very good question and it was not mentioned in the article. We apologize for this.

      Making essential oil solutions is possible. Adding an emulsifier to the mix helps to separate the oil particles into the water.

      Many blessings and good health!

      • Karina Posted July 26, 2021 8:31 pm

        What can be used as an emulsifier?
        Also,as I read you below, if citrus plant repells mosquitos, why not adding citrus blend essential oil?
        Thanks,

      • MelZ Posted August 23, 2021 3:34 pm

        What be used as an emulsifier to help separate the essential oils into the water?

    • Simone Debrincat Posted July 28, 2021 10:33 pm

      Hi Robin, that’s why it is recommended to shake the bottle before using.

  • Jerry Posted July 22, 2021 6:20 pm

    I hang Terro Fly Magnets- fly sticky tape- . Many gnats and fruit flys are attracted to the hanging tape. I hang 3 or 4 around the house. It usually clears the air very quickly in a day or two.

  • Sandra Atkinson Posted July 22, 2021 8:55 pm

    I use a jar with a lid. I poke small holes in the top. Then pour apple cider vinegar in about two inches. They crawl in but can’t get out. You will see them floating in the vinegar. Plus I hang a fly strip by a light. Both work well

  • Armin Posted July 23, 2021 2:27 am

    I figure anything with citrus in it helps to keep the mosquitos away. I’ve also heard and used myself that eating either grapefruit or a couple of oranges or similar things also helps to keep the mosquitos away. I’ve tried it and it does seem to help. At least for the short term. We all know that if you’re sitting on your deck plants like citronella also help to keep those little vampire at bay. I’ve also heard and used vicks vapo rub to keep mosquitos from biting you. And it does seem to help. The oil of camphor in the vicks is also something those little pests don’t like. Use what works best for you. I have a weird question for all you guys. Are mosquitos a transmission vector for covid 19? If a mosquito bites someone that’s infected with the covid virus and then bites someone else does the mosquito pass the virus onto the second person? Stay safe you guys. Feel so bad that that the cases are increasing so rapidly in America and Britain again. You guys need to be way more careful. Even if you don’t like wearing those masks they do help.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted July 23, 2021 6:35 pm

      Hi Armin,

      Thank you for your continuous support.
      We really appreciate it. Indeed, citrus plants, as well as their crushed leaves and extracts made from them, naturally repel mosquitoes.

      As for Covid 19, to date, there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. But yes, we all need to be careful.

      Many blessings and good health!

    • GB Posted July 25, 2021 10:33 pm

      In response to a FOIA request, the CDC admitted they knew of no study that proves masks can block the virus. The virus is .06 – .14 microns. Surgical masks cannot block anything smaller than 3 microns and cloth masks are worse. Analysis shows that the transmission rate between states with and without masks mandates are basically the same. All masks do is force higher CO2 in your body and breathing bacteria into your lungs.

      The Delta variant is more contagious, but milder. Unvaccinated are twice as likely to catch it than the vaccinated, BUT the vaccinated are twice as likely to die from it than the unvaccinated.

      Get your vitamin D3, C, zinc, quercetin. Use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin with 48 hours of symptoms starting. Much more effective than vaccines.

      P.S. Medicare / Medicaid claims reveal 45,000 died within 3 days of getting the Covid vaccines. CDC covering it. Lawsuit filed against HHS.

      • carla coon Posted July 26, 2021 1:10 pm

        Thank you so much for the information. People are sadly very under-informed about the virus and variants and coupled with the continuous fear-mongering of our media/government it really causes unnecessary panic and anxiety in people. The more we help each other to know the better.

      • Kristina Tourtillott Posted August 4, 2021 1:22 am

        👏👏👏👏👏

  • Jalene Posted July 26, 2021 5:16 pm

    I’m more concerned about ticks than mosquitos. Has anyone had experience w/this solution keeping ticks at bay?

    • Eliza Posted July 27, 2021 8:12 am

      Yes, I even used it on my dog and it worked!

  • Gabbie Posted July 27, 2021 8:12 am

    This WORKS!!! Thank you so much for this!!!

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