How to Make a Natural Insect Repellent

I live in the Midwest and if you are anything like me, we are dealing with a ton of annoying bugs from biting flies to noseeums. These bugs tend to really start peeking their heads out around fall and become really bothersome when trying to enjoy the outdoors. Are there any natural insect repellents out there to get rid of these bugs? Yes, there are! I’m going to show you two of my fav to get you going to enjoying yourself outdoors.


You don’t hear much about Vitamin B complex as an insect repellent when in fact it is highly effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Taking a high Vitamin B complex about a week or two before mosquito season has shown significant effects in not only deterring them from biting you, but in making the bites you do get (which will be significantly less) less itchy and not last as long.

Mosquitoes are extremely sensitive to the carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, as well as several substances found in sweat. This is why they are attracted to humans.

There are several widespread theories about mosquito control such as the assertion that Vitamin B can be used to repel or control mosquitoes.

Entomologist Karl-Martin Vagn Jensen of Aarhus University and colleagues found that the smells of certain people, transferred to petri dishes for testing, did attract mosquitoes more than others.

Vitamin B Complex makes perspiration smell a bit like yeast, and this smell drives the mosquitoes away. Whether this method is effective at deterring mosquitos or significantly reducing mosquito populations remains disputed. However, there are many accounts where people have taken a high amount of vitamin B complex and it has successfully deterred mosquitoes.

Take into consideration from Dr. Mercola’s “What Attracts Mosquitoes and How to Repel Them.”the following excerpt,

Extra Thiamine May Make Mosquitoes Think You Stink

A study back in the 1960s indicated that taking vitamin B1 (thiamine) may be effective in discouraging mosquitoes from biting. However, studies since then have been inconclusive.18 The theory is, taking more vitamin B1 than your body requires causes the excess to be excreted through your urine, skin, and sweat. Vitamin B1 produces a skin odor that female mosquitoes seem to find offensive.

This vitamin is water-soluble, and there is no danger of toxicity—even at high doses—so it is a safe measure to try. Dr. Janet Starr Hull recommends taking one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. You may also want to forgo bananas during mosquito season, as something about how they are metabolized appears to attract mosquitoes. Research also suggests that regularly consuming garlic or garlic capsules may help protect against both mosquito and tick bites.”


Most insects will avoid the castor bean plant because of the highly toxic ricin found in the plant and the huge amount of predatory insects the flowers attract that deter other smaller insects.

Mosquitos, no-seeums, and biting flies will avoid the castor bean plant within a 40 feet radius.  Just take a look at this study done on the effectiveness of the castor bean plant as an insect repellent. > Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing. (Again, only effective against the smaller bugs – wasps and bees love this plant!)

The castor bean plant’s leaves contain alkaloids, which repel most garden pests (other than your predatory bugs). Gardeners often cultivate the plant in strategic areas to minimize pest problems, practiculary moles and gophers.

This makes the castor bean oil the perfect carrier oil to the essential oils these bugs also dislike: eucalyptus, clove, citronella, mint, lemon, and tansy.

All of these essential oils will deter mosquitoes and ticks, but if you want to get rid of the biting flies and no-seeums along with the rest, I suggest using a citronella oil paired with castor oil. This is a fantastic combination and works so well together. I’ve actually used this on myself and besides smelling like a human tiki torch and feeling pretty greasy, it works pretty well! LOL I did have a noseeum land on me, but it didn’t bite and the biting fly that landed on me died instantly (probably from suffocating in the thick oil) so I would say it’s pretty successful. Usually when I go outside at my house, these bugs swarm me. (I should probably up my thiamine!)

  • Take an ounce of castor oil mixed with 8-12 drops of citronella essential oil or mix and match with any of the other essential oils mentioned above. Just don’t go over the 8-12 drops as you don’t want to burn your skin.
  • Lather this mixture well on the skin. 
  • If you prefer like a one-time use, take half an ounce mixed with 4-5 drops of citronella essential oil. 

There you have it! A natural insect repellent. Now you can enjoy the outdoors again. 🙂

Starwest Botanicals sells high quality castor and essential oils.

VitaSprings sells good quality Vitamin B Complexes.

Comment below if you tried this! I’d be interested to see how this works for others!

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