Up until a few months ago, I lived in paved suburbia, and I never really had to worry much about bugs. Yes, sitting out on the back porch at sunset would draw a few mosquitoes, but that was about as bad as it got. Now, I live in a national forest in the Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by woods and wild animals, and I’m being confronted by the embarrassing fact that I passionately hate bugs. I’m the one at the picnic that will scream and throw my plate in the air when I see a wasp, or dance in circles taking my clothes off if I think there may have been a tiny spider on my shoulder. 

Because I want to be able to enjoy our beautiful surroundings with my daughter now that it’s warming up, I figured it was time to try my hand at some diy bug spray. Initially I wanted to focus primarily on flies and mosquitos, but eventually came up with a recipe that also works for wasps and ticks. 

So why a diy bug spray? Because 1) I’m avoiding the toxic chemicals of the commercial stuff, and 2) it’s cheap! 


  • 2 oz water
  • 2 oz witch hazel 
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil 
  • 10 drops citronella essential oil 
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil 
  • 5 drops basil essential oil 
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil 
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil 

This recipe is for kids older than three years. If you have a child younger than 3, leave out the peppermint, and decrease the amount of eucalyptus, basil, and tea tree to 2-3 drops each. Also, make sure you use basil ocimum, and eucalyptus globulus. 

Mix all ingredients in a glass bottle with a spray nozzle (I have a temporary plastic bottle till my Amazon order arrives). Spray generously on any exposed skin and a little on clothes/hair before heading out! Reapply every few hours. This stuff really works! And my daughter thinks this is perfume so I don’t even have a hard time applying it on her (I may have told her that it was…) 

What about you? Do you hate bugs as much as I do? Have you ever tried a diy bug spray?