Bug bites are never fun and they only get worse when mosquito season rolls around. Thankfully, there are several methods to prevent and treat these itchy insect bites.
One of my favorite natural methods is the use of essential oils. Since the oils are plant extracts, they maintain the plant’s properties. They treat the itchiness of bites because you’re applying their soothing components onto the affected area.
The following are seven essential oils that help you prevent and treat bug bites.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil has many uses because it contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It’s known to treat acne and athlete’s foot. You can also use this oil to repel insects, such as mosquitoes.
If a flying pest bites you, dab it onto the spot with a cotton ball or round. The application reduces the swelling because tea tree oil also contains anti-inflammatory attributes.
To make a mosquito repellent using tea tree oil:
- Find a spray bottle.
- Pour in three drops of the oil, two drops of citronella oil, and a quarter cup of almond oil.
- If almond oil is not available, substitute vinegar.
- Shake to mix.
Mosquitoes tend to stay away from areas that have falling moisture, so you’ll chase them out with the spray. Then they’ll stay away thanks to the fragrance of the oils.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
The versatility of lavender is impressive. Multinational consumer goods corporations add it to baby products, laundry detergent, and body washes. It’s also one of the most popular essential oils.
As an oil, it’s widely used for aromatherapy purposes. Enthusiasts feel that it helps treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Some believe that it also alleviates fungal infections, eczema, and menstrual cramps.
For mosquito bite purposes, lavender contains analgesic components — relieving the discomfort caused by the bite.
3. Camphor Essential Oil
Camphor essential oil is best as a mosquito repellent. Camphor falls into the same family as cinnamon, and cinnamon isn’t subtle.
Camphor oil contains properties, such as antiseptic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory, that should make it a bite treatment. If you place it on a bite and experience a burning or stinging sensation, consider other oils for relief instead. (Maybe try it on a small area first.)
Mosquitoes don’t enjoy the odor that camphor releases, so they won’t fly to an area surrounded by it.
Professionals suggest placing a camphor tablet in each corner of a room. The smell released protects the area and discourages the flying pests from going near it.
4. Citronella Essential Oil
The most popular essential oil used to repel mosquitoes is citronella. Mosquitoes find their prey by sniffing out carbon dioxide and lactic acid odors. If you exercise outdoors, your sweat might lead them to you too.
Citronella oil extract comes from lemongrass.
The plant itself isn’t very effective against pests, but the oil extract is. These oil properties mask the carbon dioxide you release every time you breathe. So, it acts as a cloaking device, and the mosquitoes are less likely to find you.
Besides making a mosquito repellent spray out of this oil, couple it with citronella candles and incense for maximum effectiveness.
5. Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) helps chase away mosquitoes. It also keeps ticks and other biting bugs away.
Since OLE contains lemon, it repels these biting insects. Consumer products containing OLE remain popular, but you can make your own natural mixture too.
One recipe calls for 30 drops of the oil poured into a spray bottle. Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract and four ounces of witch hazel. If you don’t have witch hazel handy, substitute it with cooking oil or rubbing alcohol. In a pinch, vodka works too.
OLE doubles as a bite treatment. It contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory components that help soothe the discomfort of a bug bite.
Read Also: How to Get Rid of June Bugs
6. Peppermint Essential Oil
If you opt for peppermint essential oil, you’ll receive a bug repellent and bite treatment in one.
When you apply to a bite, the cooling sensation eases the itch and discomfort. If you buy cough drops with a mint flavor, you feel it cool off your throat and clear up your sinuses. The ingredient has the same effect on bites.
To Repel Mosquitoes:
Mix 15 drops of the oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution in places that mosquitoes use to enter your homes, such as the windows and doors. If there are places where you’ve seen mosquitoes hiding, spray the solution there too.
In addition to shooing away mosquitoes, peppermint essential oil also deters ants, spiders, and fruits flies. So, you end up making a versatile oil solution. Plus, your home will smell like Christmas no matter the season.
7. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil is best for treating bug bites. The oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling caused by a bite. Additionally, it helps prevent infection. This is good to know if you’re allergic to mosquito bites.
If you apply it to the bite and feel a sting, dilute the oil and try again. You should be able to spray diluted rosemary oil all over your person, which keeps mosquitoes away from you.
This oil helps repel mosquitoes, flies, and ants. Since it chases away ants and flies, go ahead and spray it on your lawn and yard area in addition to your home’s interior.
DIY Essential Oil Balms
Some researchers also suggest creating a balm from the oils to repel the bugs.
Here’s how simple it is to make yourself:
- Combine eight to ten drops of your favorite oil with coconut oil, beeswax, and sweet almond oil.
- Boil the ingredients and pour them into balm containers.
- When it cools off, the balm is ready to use.
Essential oils maintain their popularity because they’re a natural remedy. Some deny the effectiveness of plant-based oils to repel mosquitos. In reality, store-bought products aren’t 100% foolproof either.
When you use any one of the oils above to repel the annoying pests or treat a bite, you’re not inhaling, dabbing onto your person, or spraying chemicals. In my humble opinion, that’s a worthwhile bonus!
Jill Bowers is the property manager at Industry Columbus, a luxury apartment community in Columbus, OH.