Instead of reaching for chemical-based sprays or lotions to fend off mosquitoes, keep them at bay with a homemade bug spray that is natural, nontoxic, and effective.

Few people realize that mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed primarily on plant nectar, fruit juice, and liquids that ooze from plants, but only female mosquitoes bite, because they need a blood meal to produce eggs. This trio of sensory-stimulating, powerfully aromatic herbs provides a strong shield against determined hordes. Plus the menthol crystals create a wonderful cooling sensation that is rather nice on a hot day!

Caution: Avoid contact with nose, eyes, and mouth. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling menthol crystals.


Illustration © Zoë More O’Ferrall/

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 30 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 18 drops catnip essential oil
  • ½ teaspoon menthol crystals
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1 cup unflavored vodka
  • 8-ounce spritzer bottle


  1. Add the rosemary and catnip essential oils directly to the bottle, then add the menthol crystals, vegetable glycerin, and vodka. Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously to blend.
  2. Allow the spray to synergize for 1 hour. Note: The menthol crystals will take approximately 20 minutes or more to dissolve in the alcohol. The more you shake, the quicker they break down. If they do not break down completely, that’s okay; they will still lend their strong, minty essence to the repellent.
  3. Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year.

Shake well before using. Spray liberally onto skin as needed — every 20 to 30 minutes. May be sprayed on clothing.

Excerpted and adapted from Naturally Bug Free © by Stephanie L. Tourles.

Stephanie L. Tourles

Stephanie L. Tourles is the best-selling author of Pure Skin Care,Stephanie Tourles's Essential Oils: A Beginner's Guide, Organic Body Care Recipes, Hands-On Healing Remedies, and… See Bio

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Naturally Bug-Free

by Stephanie L. Tourles

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