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First of all, different biting insects can be repelled by different, natural, phyto-“plant-based”-chemicals, in the form of the specific plants “essential oils”. So, in order to get the most effective, broad-spectrum, natural repellent, you must combine a few different of these, insect-repelling essential oils. If you are making large amounts of insect repellent, a good rule of thumb is to mix the repellent so it’s 5-10% natural essential oil – so mix 1 part essential oil with 10-20 parts carrier oil, alcohol or witch hazel. For a smaller batch use:
- 10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
- 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil, alcohol or witch hazel
The natural essential oils below work well against most biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas).
- cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
- lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
- citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
- castor oil (mosquitoes)
- orange oil (fleas)
- rose geranium (ticks and lice)
Here is a combination of natural essential oils I recently tried; it worked great. Essential Oil Mixture: Lemon eucalyptus essential oil (mandatory in any formula), citronella essential oil and orange oil. Test Location: Puerto Vallarta Beaches and Jungle. Protected the Family Against: Sand Fleas, Mosquitoes and No-See-Ums.
Safe carrier oils and other liquids include:
- olive oil
- sunflower oil
- any other cooking oil
- witch hazel – (personal choice)
- vodka – (a cheap generic brand of alcohol will do)