Natural Bug Repellents and Insecticides

July 20, 2021

A healthy garden has a balance of good bugs that keep the bad ones under control. But when you grab a chemical pesticide to get rid of the unwanted insects, it will kill the good ones, too and throw your garden out of balance. Plus the EPA says exposure to certain chemicals in pesticides is toxic for kids and pets who spend a lot of time in in the yard, so avoid those, for sure! 

Here are a few DIY insecticides and bug repellents that do the trick naturally – many with ingredients from nature itself!

Essential Oil Repellents

According to the purveyors of essential oils, like Organic Aromas, there are a few that repel insects effectively and can be used against some of the most welt-producing bugs. Mosquitoes, for instance, are repelled by citronella, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium and lavender. Awesome, right?

Fleas are also repelled by citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender, as well — but also cedarwood, tea tree, orange and pine. And as for ticks – which according to might be more plentiful this year thanks to a warmer winter – those creatrues dislike rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit and oregano.

Check out the recipes for sprays, candles, lotions and a potion for a diffuser. Another option for keeping bugs at bay is spritzing yourself with vodka mixed with vanilla extract.  It can also take the sting out of a bug bite after the fact, and you’ll smell more like vanilla than vodka, so there’s that!

Garlic spray keeps mosquitoes away for up to 30 days – and probably everybody else within a 100-yard radius.  But so do 11 fragrant plants like rosemary, lemon balm and lavender – and they smell better! Wellness Mama has a basic bug spray recipe and plus some alternatives and variations.

Now if you’d rather find a DEET-free store-bought balm to rub on your body when you’re outdoors, check out Murphy’s Naturals. They make a product advertised as “a natural repellent that actually works.” It contains castor oil, lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint and cedarwood with no harsh chemicals or dyes or synthetic fragrances. The base of olive oil and beeswax makes the repellent easy on your skin and comes in a package of three from Amazon.

For Your Home and Garden Plants

Garlic spray, as we mentioned, is a completely green solution and you can make it yourself. Another non-toxic solution to keep bugs away is cinnamon, a good ant deterrent that also works in a sandbox.

Ants are about as pesky as mosquitoes and seem to crawl any-everywhere, up, down, in and out. If you have an army of the little worker bugs invading your home, here are six tricks to try before resorting to chemicals.

*Seal up any holes and cracks in doorways
*Give the kitchen a good scrub-down
*Erase their chemical trails with soapy water
*Create a pepper barrier
*Create a scent barrier (like lavender – which they hate)
*Feed them coffee grounds – it’s lethal for the sneaky, little, organized pests

Clover and Thyme has a homemade ant bait trap that lures the little buggers, while Home Talk resorts to hot pepper spray mixed with a little soap to make it stickier!

And to cut down on aphids which like to hang out on the underside of leaves, Home Talk’s favorite remedy is a chopped-up banana peel placed just under the soil line around the stem of the plant. It not only cuts down on the number of aphids, it adds nutrients to the soil!

Nature is Near in Southshore!

The nearby fields, ridgelines that connect neighborhoods and community centers, and the walkways to the Aurora reservoir from master-planned community of Southshore offer lots of natural surroundings. Check out the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes, Toll Brothers – and coming this fall, Century Communities. Find out what Life at the Lake is all about in homes from the $400s – both ranch and two-story designs.