Herbal Bug Spray - Experiment

Merry meet-

It’s experiment time! :woman_scientist:

We recently ran out of my favorite herbal bug repellent, but the gardens are in bloom and I figured it would be fun to mess around and make my own. What could go wrong, right!? Strike that- feels like tempting fate :laughing:

Note that this is a bit of a “franken” recipe put together from lots of research, what I have available in my garden, my own herbal knowledge, and three really wonderful recipes/mixes that are also worth checking out:

Here we go~!

I gathered fresh herbs:

  • Citronella - a variety of geranium- you’ll find it as “the mosquito plant” in a lot of garden stores as it is known for its mosquito repellent qualities. It tends to sell out fast in the summer months
  • Lemon Balm - beautiful melissa, the plant of happiness! Not only is this one anti-depressive and helps to cheer you up, the lemony smell is a known bug-repeller.
  • Mint - Spicy and fresh, mint is another bug repellent.
  • Lavender - for me, lavender is here more for its smell than for any anti-bug qualities. I often use the bug spray in the evenings, and this makes it so nice and soothing!
    Magickal and Medicinal Properties of Lavender

I also used a bit of dried material:

Garden Magick Tip - Most of the plants listed above are naturally bug repellent, but each plant repels certain types of bugs- there’s no one plant (that I know of, at least!) that is universal in repelling all insects.

So when gathering leaves for a bug-repellent spray, avoid taking any leaves that have insects or signs of insects on them. No nibbled, bit, or buggy leaves allowed in this spray! You want the leaves that are purely bug-free :mosquito: :fly: :butterfly: :no_entry_sign:

Gently but firmly shake your gathered plants to remove any dirt, dead material, or other leaves. I would avoid washing them- too much water in an infusion can lead to bad results (and sometimes rot).

Take just the leaves and buds (lavender).

You can give them a good crunch and grind with your mortar and pestle- it’s not necessary, but it helps to release more of the oils (and what witch doesn’t enjoy using their mortar and pestle? :laughing: :two_hearts:)

Place all of your ground materials into a jar. This batch is experimental, so I’m using a small jar just in case!

Pour witch hazel over your materials to cover them. It should just about reach the top of your storage vessel.

Seal it up, give a good shake, and place it out of the sunlight.

I’m gonna let this brew for a week or two, giving it a shake here and there, before unbottling it.

Then I’ll strain out the used materials and store the herbal infused witch hazel for use.

To make a spray, I’ll pour the infused mixture into a spray bottle (potentially diluting it with a bit of water depending on how strong it turns out) and adjust the scent from there with essential oils.

Again, this is an experiment- just documenting what I did in case it works and/or to make it easy to tweak things later! :grinning:

Additionally, I would love to hear if anyone has any tips, pointers, or experiences in making all-natural bug repellent sprays of their own. What ingredients did you use? What seemed to work best for you?

Thanks so much! :heart:

Blessed be! :sparkles:


Sounds amazing! My go to bug spray is witch hazel, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint oils.


I’m gonna save this and try something similar for myself :thinking: I don’t have these plants, though, but I do have their essential oil counterparts!

What I usually do, especially during the summer here in Florida, is to mix a little bit of citronella essential oil into my daily lotion routine. This way I have my smell-good lotion (I use Hempz lol) and still get the mosquito repelling qualities of the citronella plant!


Very nice! It sounds like it’ll work and be wonderfully witchy!


What a nice soothing read this was, so very pretty, thank you for sharing.


As am I! I have so much mint in my yard that I am running out of things to do with it & we have lavender growing in the garden with sage. But at any rate… I’m going to see what else I actually have out there to use & I’ll let you know how it goes! :revolving_hearts: Thank you for sharing! :smiling_face:


Nice! :grinning:

Lemongrass seems to be a popular one in the bug sprays- I’m thinking that the lemony smells of the lemon balm and citronella will cover me in this recipe, but if it turns out I need an extra boost I very well may add lemongrass essential oil to the final spray.

Thanks for the tips, Ailey! :two_hearts:

This is so smart! :heart_eyes: And here I was thinking I was doing good with makeup that doubles as sunscreen :joy: Adding citronella takes it to the next level- I’m going to have to try this!!! :heart:

Thank you Amethyst! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I’m really happy you think so, Eliza! Thank you for giving it a read :blush::heart:

Yes, please do! :blush: From what you’ve said and the gorgeous pics you’ve shared, I know you have a really lovely garden :heart: I’m sure you’ll be able to find some fun things to craft into an herbal spray!

Def let me know how it goes if you decide to give it a try- I’m learning too, so let’s learn together! :laughing: :two_hearts:


We had rain last night, but I found some more Nasturtium coming up around the oak trees in my yard. 1 of them has really pretty colors this year.

I know I have at least 3 types of mint out there :laughing: my daughter went a little crazy with mint one year & wanted lemon mint, spearmint, mint & then thyme, lavender, & sage. She was briefly a gardener. :seedling:


It only takes a little bit! Just a couple drops :sweat_smile: Trust me, you don’t wanna add to much lol


I’m going to have to try this! The mosquitoes here in Texas are bad.



I actually just made one too. Hubby loves it. Keeps l the critters away, including biting flies and chiggers


@Siofra_Strega That’s really sweet! :blush: Perhaps she’ll come back to gardening again someday- and it’s likely that mint will still be there if she does! :laughing: When mint is happy somewhere, it doesn’t let go easily lol

@MeganB Hahaha you aren’t kidding! I learned my lesson with essential oils when I spilled just a little bit of tea tree oil into a drawer. Literally years later, I swear it still smells overwhelmingly of tea tree :sweat_smile:

@Amaris_Bane :rofl: I would not mess with mosquitos down south- I think you might want to skip the repellent spray and go for a flame thrower instead :joy::fire:

@christeena Sounds like you’ve got a great recipe! :grinning: Would you mind sharing what ingredients you like to use? (Only if you’re comfortable doing so- if not, no worries at all!) :heart:


That’s a good idea!! Only knowing my luck, it wouldn’t die and go catch something on fire with this drought that we are still in. :joy::joy::joy::fire_engine::fire_engine::fire_engine:


@TheTravelWitch_Bry i dont mind at all, especially for u, I’d do almost anything. All u gotta do is ask. Lol

The numbers off to the side are drops.

This is the final probuct lol


Where i have the rosemary, this can be substituted for lavender. Im just allergic to lavender. Arnica can be removed, this was added as a pain reliever, as my husband already had previous bites.


Thank you for sharing @christeena!!! You are going to save this Texas Gal from being eaten alive. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I hope so.

I get welts when i get bit. So i needed something anything to help, and didnt smell like DEET.

Thats my biggest thing when i make anything, i never want it to smell like medicine


I have a ton of bites all over my legs and they look horrible. They always get infected no matter what I do so I try to not get bitten in the first place. And I agree about not wanting to smell like medicine!


As for your already bites have u tried making a calendula salve? Its a wonderful healing agent. And completely safe for pets too.


I second the Calendula Salve! I have a small tin of it too!

We have horseflies, especially when we are out on the small island in our inlet/bay. They are awful & their bites linger for a few days with pain & itchiness… I should see what I have to repel those little devils :imp: