Ask Kitty Magoo: Repel Insects Naturally

Dear Kitty,
I’m going camping this weekend. How can I repel insects naturally?

Signed, Outdoorsy in Osseo

Dear Outdoorsy,
There’s a reason people refer to the mosquito as Wisconsin’s state bird. Luckily, my years of living and playing outside in this fine state have afforded me ample opportunity to experiment with natural repellents.

Why douse yourself in DEET when there are cleaner (and better smelling) alternatives? Like this recipe formulated by Veriditas Botanicals, for example.
30 drops Eucalyptus Citriodora essential oil
10 drops rose geranium essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
1 oz vinegar or vodka
3 oz distilled water
Mix essential oils in a 4 oz spray bottle. Add vinegar or vodka and swirl together. Fill bottle with water and shake well. Apply often!

I also like this recipe adapted from the Frugally Sustainable blog (
1 oz witch hazel
1 oz grape seed oil
2 oz distilled water
30 drops citronella essential oil
1o drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops cedar essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a 4 oz spray bottle. Shake well before applying.

Different repellents seem to work well for different people (depending on body chemistry), so don’t be surprised if you need to play around before you find the one that’s effective for you. Some of the products I and my coworkers have had success with over the years include: Bug Band, All Terrain Herbal Armor, and Quantum Buzz Away Extreme.


Tags: Articles , Ask Kitty Magoo , Insect Repellent , Insects , Natural Insect Repellent , The More You Know