The Best 3 Scents That Repel Bugs

Essential oils on a table

Whether enjoying a quiet evening on your porch or winding down indoors, bugs can quickly turn a good time into a nightmare. We know pest control is your best friend for keeping your home pest-free, but we have some tips and tricks to help you along the way!

In this blog, we’ll discuss the many scents that repel bugs. From lavender to eucalyptus, we’ll show you how to send those bugs packing—indoors and out.

Common Scents That Repel Bugs

Bugs have preferences, too! Here are some scents that could send many household pests running the other way. 


Citronella’s unique citrusy scent is a powerful deterrent against common household pests in Washington and Oregon. But it has a range of uses besides keeping pesky bugs away. 

In aromatherapy, citronella can reduce stress and keep you relaxed, making it a popular choice for diffusers and massage oils. You can also add it to homemade cleaning products to destroy dangerous fungi that can make you ill or use it as a natural deodorizer to freshen up your laundry. 

A group of different scents that repel bugs like eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and citronella.

As an insect repellent, citronella is a top choice for keeping mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs at bay. Its intense aroma masks human scents, making it hard for insects to find their targets. Plus, studies back its effectiveness, earning praise from trusted organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)!


Originally from the Mediterranean, lavender thrives across the globe. Its soothing aroma isn’t just pleasant—it’s a powerful ally in reducing stress and anxiety and promoting restful sleep. Lavender’s gentle nature and impressive anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it a go-to for skincare, soothing skin irritations and itching.

But lavender’s benefits don’t stop there! It’s a superhero for hair health, stimulating growth, combating dandruff, and improving scalp conditions. Plus, its sweet fragrance makes it a popular addition to potpourri and homemade sachets, perfect for freshening up your home, closets, drawers, and linens.

But what sets lavender apart as a bug repellent? Its secret lies in its complex blend of aromatic compounds, including linalool and linalyl acetate. While we may find its scent calming, it effectively sends pests packing.

A bed of lavender

Incorporating lavender into your pest control routine can help keep bugs gone longer! You can whip up a homemade insect repellent spray by mixing lavender essential oils with a carrier oil and water, or use dried lavender flowers in sachets to ward off moths in drawers and closets. 

Outdoors, try planting lavender in your garden or place potted lavender around your patio to keep mosquitoes and other flying pests at bay.


Peppermint isn’t just your ordinary herb; it’s a powerhouse against pests and more!

Of all the scents that repel bugs, peppermint has the most household uses. Peppermint tea or oil capsules can soothe stomach pain and relieve indigestion, bloating, and gas. Its natural menthol content can also alleviate nausea and vomiting. 

Got a headache? Peppermint oil can provide you relief. Whether you apply it topically or inhale it through steam, peppermint swiftly alleviates tension headaches and migraines, quickly relieving pain and muscle tension.

Peppermint is also a common ingredient in oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Its potent antimicrobial properties combat mouth bacteria, freshen breath, fight gum disease, and prevent cavities. 

Peppermint in a white teapot

When pests become a problem, peppermint could be your go-to DIY solution. Its intense aroma can drive pests away and prevent them from taking over your home. Bugs like ants and mosquitoes tend to avoid areas infused with peppermint, and as a result, spiders often follow suit and leave, too.

Want to fortify your home against pests? Try mixing up a homemade peppermint essential oil spray to keep these pests in line both inside and outdoors—similarly, plant peppermint in your garden or around entry points for a fresh-smelling natural barrier. 

DIY Insecticides Using Scents That Repel Bugs

With a few simple DIY recipes, you can create effective bug-repellent solutions using natural ingredients you may already have at home!

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are a popular choice to keep mosquitoes away. Making your own candles is a cost-effective option that allows you to customize the scent and appearance to our liking! Here’s a simple recipe to help you get started: 


  • Soy wax flakes
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Candle wicks
  • Candle jars or containers
  • Optional: dried herbs or flowers for decoration


  • Follow the instructions on the packaging to begin melting the soy wax flakes in a double boiler or microwave-safe container.
  • Once the wax is fully melted, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Add several drops of the citronella essential oil to the melted wax, adjusting the amount based on how strong you want the candle to smell. 
  • Place a candle wick in each jar or container; adjust it before pouring the wax to keep it upright. 
  • Carefully pour the scented wax into the jars, leaving some space at the top.
  • If desired, sprinkle dried herbs or flowers on the wax for decoration.
  • Allow the candles to cool and harden completely before trimming the wicks to the desired length.

Your homemade citronella candles are now ready to use! Light them whenever you’re spending time outdoors to repel pesky mosquitoes and other annoying pests. 

Lavender Oil Spray

Creating a lavender oil spray is a simple and effective way to keep bugs at bay. Here’s how to make your own:


  • Distilled water
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Spray bottle


  • Fill a spray bottle with distilled water, leaving some space for your essential oils at the top. 
  • Add several drops of the lavender essential oil, adjusting the amount based on your scent preference.
  • Close the spray bottle and shake well to combine the water and oil. 
  • Once mixed, spray it around doorways, windows, and other entry points to deter bugs from entering your home. 

Peppermint Insect-Repelling Lotion

You can craft insect repellents right in the comfort of your home! While we suggest complementing this approach with traditional pest control methods and products containing DEET, here’s our recipe to help keep your skin protected:


  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Beeswax pellets
  • Peppermint essential oil


  • In a microwave-safe container, melt together equal parts shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax pellets until fully liquefied.
  • Once melted, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Add several drops of the peppermint essential oil to the mixture. You can also add other essential oils for additional fragrance if desired.
  • Pour the mixture into a clean, sterilized jar or container and allow it to cool and solidify completely.
  • Apply it to your skin before heading outdoors to keep bugs at bay.

These DIY bug-repellent recipes offer natural and practical solutions to keep pests away from you and your home! Experiment with different scents and ingredients to find the best combination for you.

Keep Bugs Away with Natura Pest Control!

DIY repellents are helpful for some but may cause issues if you’re allergic to any of the above ingredients or oils. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts and can be potent when used undiluted or without a carrier oil. 

These options can be effective for mild pest problems or preventative maintenance, but you’ll need professional pest control for severe infestations and long-lasting results. When you need help against persistent ants and itchy mosquitoes, give us a call! 

We’re your go-to source for pest protection in the Vancouver-Portland Metropolitan area, proudly providing service for over ten years! From ants to wasps, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today

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