Bug bites can be annoying, and they can also spread disease. Conventional bug sprays can stop some bug bites, but they can also contain toxic chemicals. Ones I don’t want around my family, patients, and friends. What can you do to protect yourself and family from nasty mosquitoes, ticks, and flies? Don’t worry there are some natural bug repellents.

Why are natural options important? What goes on your skin can be absorbed and hit your blood stream in 26 seconds. Unlike what you eat, your body doesn’t have a chance to filter it out in your liver and kidneys! The skin is our largest organ, so we need to protect it, not put toxic stuff on it. Definitely not toxic stuff like DEET!

DEET is an abbreviation for diethyltoluamide. Don’t look at me, I don’t make these names up. It was actually patented in 1946 by the army for military use. (1) The military was trying to protect the troops who were stationed overseas.  Remember mosquitoes can really spread disease pretty easily, especially in other parts of the world. So, it’s good to protect yourself from mosquitoes because you don’t want other people’s blood and disease being injected into you. So, in 1957, DEET was registered for use by the general public.

The problem with DEET is it causes massive neurological problems. Manufacturers will say there is no evidence that it causes harm to the nervous system and that it hasn’t been proven. There are lots of studies that say otherwise! On the website for the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry they identify the massive toxic effects of DEET on the skin and nervous system. There are lots of studies that support this and that’s why I choose these natural ways to repel bugs.

Eat Your Natural Bug Repellents

If you eat your bug repellant, it will keep you pest free without having to worry about remembering to pack the bottle. Bugs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do, and you can eat foods that will be an internal protection that will help repel mosquitoes and their friends. Try eating some of these to keep the bugs away:

  • Garlic– repels mosquitoes because it’s so pungent. Eat too much it might repel your guy or girl too.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar– Bugs don’t like the acidity of ACV
  • Chili peppers– If you like hot and spicy you are in luck. Bugs are very sensitive to these smells.
  • Cinnamon- Is a mosquito repellant
  • Mint– Even though it smells sweet to you it doesn’t smell sweet to a bug.

Protect Your Yard with Coffee Grounds

I love my coffee and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Take those grounds out of your coffee maker and put them in your plants. They will repel bugs for about a week. You can also burn a mixture of coffee grounds and cinnamon. Place dry grounds mixed with cinnamon essential or grounds oil in a bowl or flat surface. You can burn it like incense or add a bit of cedarwood.

DIY Bug Spray

Making your own bug spray is so easy and it works really well. I use a base of apple cider vinegar and witch hazel which are good for your skin and good for bug spray. I add cinnamon because there have been numerous studies showing how it repels mosquitoes and kills larvae. Did you know mosquitoes can leave larvae in your hair? Now you won’t forget. I’m lucky- I don’t have hair. I use other essential oils to help repel the bugs and you can pick ones you like too. Even good smelling ones like lavender do a good job repelling mosquitoes, flies and ticks. Essential oils can be irritating too, so spray on your clothes first and do a test patch on your skin. Check out my recipe and the chart below for good repelling essential oils.

natural bug repellents

Choose Natural Bug Repellents

These remedies do a much better job of keeping the bugs away than conventional sprays without the toxic effects. Keep those pesky bugs away and feel good about the way you are doing it.

Written By Dr. Patrick Flynn

Learn more in Dr. Patrick Flynn’s Quick Tip on Bug Sprays: