Like many of you heading outdoors for some much needed summer fun, we’re also busy preparing for the "mosquito" season. Whether you’re hiking in the woods, having an outdoor family bar-b-que or taking a siesta under that shady palm, don’t be on the menu this summer for mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums, and other pesky insects. While products containing DEET and permethrin (sprayed on clothing only) are considered the most effective, there are still many people looking for alternative natural, plant-derived remedies.

What makes you attractive to these insects in the first place? Their sensors are attracted to heat and certain chemicals in sweat such as lactic acid and the carbon dioxide we give off just by breathing. That’s why being warm blooded mammals makes us prime targets. Certain perfumes containing pheromones should be avoided as well. Prevention is best so first - wear lightweight clothing that covers most of your body, if temperatures permit. Second, use a mosquito repellent.

If you are looking for a more natural way to repel these insects, here’s a simple pleasant smelling “Bug Away” Blend using essential oils that’s easy to mix and safe for children and pets.

3 drops lemongrass or citronella
2 drops lavender
2 drops peppermint
1 drop thyme
1 drop eucalyptus
1 drop geranium
1 drop tea tree

Mix essential oils together first and then add 12 drops to 2 ounces of distilled water or carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil. A fine mist sprayer is useful for this application. Shake the mixture well and spritz on your clothing and exposed skin, avoiding the eyes and mouth. You will need to use more often to keep bugs at bay. You can also add a few drops to vaporize in a fragrance burner.

Other oils used to keep mosquitoes at a safe distance are pennyroyal, bergamot, myrrh, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and rosemary. There is a recent study that shows the promise of catnip essential oil as a mosquito deterrent.

If you’ve already been bitten, you can apply a drop of lavender or tea tree essential oil directly onto the affected area to relieve pain and itching.

Author's Bio: 

Aromatherapist and Owner of Arlys Naturals, a trusted online source for essential oils, including many exotic and rare essential oils, professional natural skin care products and much more. Her research has shown a connection between healthy skin, well-being and essential oils. Arlys Naturals,, 877-502-7597. Sign up today for free online newsletter.