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Bugging Out? Holistic Remedies for Treating Bug Bites and Natural Pest Management

Spring and summer are genuinely magical seasons full of endless possibilities…for allergies and discomfort, that is. Some days, all the fresh air and sunshine in the world can’t outweigh the sneezing fits and itchy bug bites. 

But what’s more exciting than staying indoors all day to avoid the pollen and pests, right? At least you’ll have plenty of tissues and anti-itch cream to keep you company!

Or, maybe, just maybe, there’s a better way

Learn More: The Comprehensive Guide to Holistic Seasonal Allergy Treatment

Whether you’re hoping to soak up the sun, break a sweat, or simply take in the sights, it’s essential to prepare for the pesky nuisances the new season brings. From seasonal allergies to mosquitos, poison ivy to ticks, these unwelcome guests can quickly spoil the fun. 

Here’s your chance to get equipped with holistic remedies for treating bug bites and natural methods for pest management — ones that actually work — so you can get back to enjoying all the great outdoors has to offer. 

In this article:

Natural Methods for Pest Management and Bug Repellent

No one wants to waste the warmer days in an endless battle against the bugs and pollen, we get that

But before you whip out your arsenal of DEET-based insect repellants and antihistamines, why not try taking a walk on the wild side? The wildly natural side, of course. 

Learn More: Essential Oils for Pest Control | Dr. Neal Smoller

Although DEET-based insect repellants are effective — and harmless, if used appropriately — we prefer to steer clear of such products when natural methods for pest management are just as viable and smell better, too. 

Using Essential Oils Properly for Natural Pest Management

Let’s keep it real, though. Despite what you may have heard on TikTok, not every essential oil works for repelling bugs, preventing bites, and keeping your home pest-free.

So we asked Dr. Neal — Woodstock Vitamins founder, holistic pharmacist, and resident Wellness Wizard — for his advice on using essential oils effectively and strategically. When it comes to repelling pests with essential oils, Dr. Neal likes to use them in two ways:

  1. As bug sprays to be used on the body and clothes
  2. As treatments for the home and surrounding areas

Because nothing says, “home sweet home,” quite like a cotton ball soaked in fragrant essential oils that also keeps the creepy-crawlies away!

(Just be sure to replace those cotton balls and clean your diffusers regularly, or else your home might start to smell like a moldy old attic instead.)

Essential Oils and Their Target Critters 

Using essential oils to repel pests is like killing two birds, or fleas, with one stone — they not only brighten your day and soothe your soul but also repel pesky bugs when used properly. 

Keyword: properly

Let’s look at the essential oils that can be used to target specific pests. Just remember, if you utilize these aromatics strategically, the bugs will flee and you’ll smell fantastic!

  • Geranium: mosquitoes and ticks (safe for pets) 
  • Cedarwood: mosquitoes and ticks (safe for pets) 
  • Peppermint: ticks, ants, spiders, and mice (not safe for pets) 
  • Citronella: mosquitoes and ticks (safe for pets) 
  • Eucalyptus: mosquitoes and ticks (not safe for pets) 
  • Lavender: mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas (safe for pets) 

Other Natural Ingredients for Pest Control 

Some other essential oils that are less potent and can be found in natural insect repellents include rosemary, basil, thyme, and 2-undecanone, which is an essential oil extracted from tomato plants. 

Garlic oil 

Garlic oil possesses insecticidal properties, so a diluted solution can be applied directly onto plants to deter bugs. 

Soybean oil 

Although not classified as an essential oil, soybean oil is often incorporated in natural insect sprays as an ingredient in essential oil blends. Soybean oil does not directly repel insects, but it helps to extend the effectiveness of essential oils. 

Creating Your Essential Oil Blends and Homemade Bug Repellent Spray

This spray is so easy to make, use, and become obsessed with, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been doing this your whole life. Even with its simplicity though, there is a general guideline for ingredient proportions in homemade essential oil bug sprays. 

The formula typically involves diluting 5-40 drops of essential oil in approximately 1-2 ounces of carrier oil, witch hazel, or water. The greater number of essential oil drops used, the more potent the resulting product. 

For a more diluted experience, especially for skin application or use on kids or pets, fewer drops should be used. 

Homemade Bug Repellent Essential Oil Spray 

  • 4 teaspoons of Britanna Rose Geranium Witch Hazel or similar diluting agent like almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil
  • 15-40 drops total of one or more essential oils
  • Water 
  • 2 oz Spray Bottle 


Combine ingredients in a 2 oz spray bottle. To ensure proper mixing, shake natural insect repellents vigorously for 10-20 seconds before use. 

Reapply every 45-60 minutes for optimal protection. 

Application Safety Tips: 

  • Wear long clothing when possible, and only apply to exposed skin or clothing
  • Avoid saturating the area being sprayed
  • Avoid applying to broken skin, mucosal membranes, or sensitive areas like the face
  • Wash your hands after application to avoid ingesting the repellent
  • When coming inside, wash your hands and covered areas, shower, change clothes, and wash treated clothes together.

If you need something even quicker and easier, try our Bug Shield essential oil blend — a formulation of common repellent essential oils, all ready to roll — or Bug Away by Platte Cove Essentials. The latter is made near our brick-and-mortar shop and is an effective solution for repelling various bloodsuckers, including mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, ants, and mayflies. 

Holistic Remedies for Treating Itchiness from Poison Plants 

It’s true that wildflowers, herbal plants, and greenery of all kinds can cause rashes and attract pests to your yard. But, because plants can be thoughtful like that, they also offer healing remedies for the bites, bumps, and rashes that the natural world gifts to us.

Learn More: Natural Remedies For Treating Poison Ivy Rash | Dr. Neal Smoller

Jewelweed: A Natural Soother for Poison Ivy Rash 

Jewelweed, which is often found near poison ivy, can soothe poison ivy rash. Pretty convenient, right? To make a healing paste, blend freshly-picked jewelweed stems and leaves in a food processor and apply to the affected area or use as a compress. For jewelweed ice cubes, boil the plant and strain the liquid into ice cube trays. Rub the cubes on the rash to reduce swelling and irritation. 

(Psst – if that rash is spreading faster than your food processor can blend, use our Oak and Ivy Spray!)

Colloidal Oatmeal Baths for Relieving Widespread Poison Ivy Rash and Severe Itching 

To relieve widespread poison ivy rash and severe itching, take a full body bath with 2-3 cups of colloidal oatmeal powder added to lukewarm water. Avoid hot water, which can irritate and dry the skin. Soak for 10-15 minutes, and repeat twice a day.

Note: colloidal oatmeal is different from regular oatmeal!

Allergy Support for Fighting Inflammation Internally

Your skin can absorb a lot, but when it comes to repeated exposure to pollen, poisonous plants, or irritating allergens, internal support is a critical component for combatting symptoms.

We might be a bit biased, but Allergy Support is our favorite option for springtime sniffles and icky-itchiness. This natural formulation provides comprehensive support for immune imbalances by combining bioflavonoids, micronutrients, proteolytic enzymes, and herbs.

DHQvital™, a highly absorbable ingredient from larch tree extract, inhibits oxidation and is bolstered by stinging nettles, quercetin, bromelain, and more. This herbal supplement is designed to tackle indoor and outdoor allergies with a non-drowsy formula and address an overactive or distressed histamine response often triggered by environmental factors. 

Plus, the HPMC capsules ensure quick dissolution and maximum absorption, while added vitamin C provides professional-grade relief for nasal, sinus, and lung issues caused by allergies. 

So how could we not love it? Allergy Support offers all-around, whole-body support for seasonal and environmental allergies.

Learn More: The Comprehensive Guide to Holistic Seasonal Allergy Treatment

Natural Pest Management FTW

If you need a helping hand to guide you through your bug-induced springtime blues, give us a shout! Schedule a free Counterside Consult with the esteemed Dr. Neal, a practicing pharmacist of 20 years and bug enemy #1.


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