Natural Ways to Stay Bug Bite-Free This Mosquito Season

August 8, 2023

With the warm weather comes mosquitos, no-see-ums (biting midges), and annoying gnats. The bites from these unwanted insects can ruin your summer fun. While numerous chemical repellants are available, you may prefer a natural alternative. Here are 5 natural ways to stay bug bite-free this mosquito season.

#1 Check Your Screens

Window screens will keep the bugs out, but holes happen. Go ahead and visually inspect your window screens and screen doors for holes. If the hole is small, you don’t necessarily need to replace the entire screen—apply a DIY screen patch.

If you live in an area with teeny-tiny no-see-ums, you may need to transition to screens with smaller openings.  

#2 Mosquito Repelling Plants

There are several plants and herbs that give off an aroma that mosquitos and other insects find unappealing. By strategically planting or positioning these plants on your patio, you can naturally keep bugs away. As an added bonus, you’ll have fresh herbs and beautiful flowers!

Add a mix of the herbs and plants below:


  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Chives
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon balm
  • Lemon thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Flowering Plants

  • Allium
  • Bee balm
  • Citronella geranium
  • Citrosum aka. mosquito repellent plant
  • Floss flower
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds

How many plants do you need? This will vary depending on the size of your patio. Start with 2 medium-sized flowering plants or herbs on all four sides of your outdoor space. The larger your outdoor space, the more you will need. 

#3 Non-Toxic Topicals

Products that contain DEET are formulated with toxic ingredients. Which is why Michigan State University suggests only applying these products to children 2 months or older no more than once per day. You may want to avoid DEET-based products altogether.

Here’s how to make the most of non-toxic formulas this mosquito season:

  • Non-toxic bug lotions and sprays are typically citronella essential oil based. While chemical-free, the aroma can take some getting used to.
  • Head to your local health food store, as they are sure to have essential oil-based sprays and lotions. You may also find options at your local Farmer’s market.
  •  Sprays and lotions don’t have to cover every inch of exposed skin.
  • Many formulas aren’t water or sweatproof, so you will need to reapply every 3 hours or as soon as the bites begin.

Unfortunately, many of the “natural” products available for sale still contain harmful ingredients. If you are serious about knowing exactly what you were putting on your body, the best way to do so is to make your own do-it-yourself (DIY) products. 

Try this safe, natural effective mosquito repellent recipe:

#4 Wearable Mosquito Repellents

There’s an exciting new range of chemical-free wearables, such as repellent patches, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and sandals with inserts. Some wearables contain chemicals, so ensure the ones you select are chemical-free.

This includes products from Para Kito, a company that has sprays, roll-ons, and wearable diffusers. Their wearable diffusers last for up to 15 days!

You can also find cute DEET-free patches for your kids. They look like stickers, so kids want to wear them. Place one on each arm and leg. Yes, adults can wear them too, but you may need 2 spaced out on each arm and leg.  

#5 Candles and Diffusers

There is a growing range of citronella-based candles and diffusers for both indoor and outdoor use. Just like repellent plants, they need to be placed strategically, typically between 10 and 15 feet apart. Use as directed.

  • Citronella-infused candles and torches double as ambiance.
  • Citronella incense burns for up to 45 minutes, less time with wind.
  • Indoor and outdoor oil diffusers have a wider range than candles.
  • Rechargeable and battery-operated diffusers have the widest range.

Only have citronella essential oil? Add a few drops of citronella essential oil to an oil burner.

How to Treat Bug Bites Naturally This Mosquito Season

Have you ever wondered why bug bites itch and sting? A tiny amount of saliva is released under the skin and the itching and stinging is an allergic reaction. Even with the tips above, you and your family may end up with a bite or two. Here are a few natural ways to soothe and treat bites: 

The Bug Bite Thingthis Shark Tank favorite painlessly sucks out the saliva on bites. It’s most effective when used ASAP, but it can be used any time a bite is still itchy or irritated.

  • Witch hazel—this natural astringent soothes bites. Just soak a few cotton rounds with witch hazel, pop them in a sealed bag, and add them to your outdoor kit. Just make sure you use an alcohol-free witch hazel.
  • Aloe vera—another excellent option for your outdoor kit, as aloe is extremely versatile. It can soothe bug bites, sunburn, and minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Arnica—a flower extract, arnica liquids and creams can be applied topically to soothe inflammation, including insect bites.
  •  Baking soda—mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Apply to the bite and rinse off after 10 minutes to soothe the itching. 
  • Ice—if you are outside or don’t have any of the options above, applying 10 minutes of ice will minimize the swelling until you can find a more effective alternative.

Here’s to a fun, active, and bug-free summer!

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