Whether you are simply enjoying your own backyard, getting some gardening done, or out on a beach vacation, keeping bugs at bay is one way to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy while taking in the great outdoors. Mosquitoes and ticks can carry harmful diseases. According the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s been a 3.5-fold increase in vector-borne diseases in the U.S. from 2004-2016, with 76 percent of cases caused by tick-borne pathogens. Using bug sprays, burning citronella candles and embracing the power of essential oils can help you keep these nuisance critters away. Essential oils like geranium, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass and eucalyptus can help prevent ticks and repel mosquitos. To apply essential oils to skin, add a few drops to a carrier oil (like coconut, jojoba or olive oil) or an unscented lotion and slather it on for an easy way to add bug protection to your daily wellness routine.

Insect Repellent Spray

Courtesy of Apothecary Muse

This is a lightweight yet effective version of the insect repellent created by Apothecary Muse, a Pittsburgh-based company that produces earth-friendly, vegan body care products

Makes one 2 ounce bottle.


  • 1.9 oz distilled water
  • 0.1 oz Castor Oil (used to dilute Essential Oils)
  • 2 drops Vitamin E
  • 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 5 drops Citronella or Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 4 drops Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Geranium Essential Oil


  1. Assemble your ingredients, ensuring no pets or children are around.
  2. Combine ingredients in a small spray bottle, cap, and shake.
  3. For external use only!

Tick Repellent Spray


  • 2 oz. apple cider vinegar or vodka
  • 2 oz. water
  • 20 drops geranium essential oil
  • 20 drops citronella essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops rosemary or catnip essential oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
  1. Place the ACV or vodka in a glass spray bottle.
  2. Add essential oils and shake well.
  3. Add ½ tsp vegetable glycerin. (This is not necessary but helps everything stay combined.)
  4. Add the water and shake again.
  5. Shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate over time.