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nature school project - homemade bug repellant

In this Martin & Sylvia's Nature School story, "Bugged by Bugs," Martin is inspired by Karl, Daddy's woodsman friend, who does not use bug spray when working in the woods. What's his trick for keeping the bugs at bay? Karl simply ignores them. Martin tries this at Goose-Eye Wilderness School and finds that not being bugged is a lot more challenging than he imagined.

We are joined by KC, our media curator, who has a recipe for an all-natural and wonderful-smelling bug repellant.

A few years ago I attended a summer wedding in Maine, on a lake. Oh, my! Like Martin, I learned it's not so easy to ignore our little flying friends, especially when you are the maid of honor, standing behind the bride, eyes filled with tears. However, I was free and clear of bites with this wonderful homemade bug repellant.

Homemade bug repellant is easy and safe to make. There are no harsh chemicals like in many store-bought ones. The best part is you can try out different essential oils to see which ones work better to ward off those stinging, bitting insects in your area. Once you have your ingredients gathered, it takes under two minutes to make.


  • 30 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 30 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 30 drops of lavendar essential oil
  • 20 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • Witch hazel
  • 8oz dark glass spray bottle

How To:

Start by filling your spray bottle 3/4 full with witch hazel. Then add 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil. The jojoba allows the essential oils to remain on the skin rather than evaporating right away.

One by one, add the drops of essential oils to the spray bottle. When you've added the essential oils, close the bottle and shake well to mix. Now you are ready to ward off those bugs and smell amazing in the process.

There are a few other essential oils you can try to make your own mix:

  • Lemon essential oil
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Eucalytus
  • Bergamot
  • Peppermint

About the Author

KC Pagano
Sparkle Stories Media Maven

KC is a full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls. She writes about all kinds of radical goodness, from gardening and cooking with whole foods to attachment parenting, high needs toddlers, crafting, sewing, homeschooling, and mama musings. Read more on her blog Olive and Owl.

Martin & Sylvia's Nature School

As the summer comes to an end, Momma, Martin and Sylvia reflect on all the things they loved about the summer season: hikes, walks along the beach, blueberry picking, climbing trees and collecting bird feathers. Then Momma suggests that they keep the summer outdoor fun alive all year long: “Every Thursday, let’s have Nature School!” And so Martin joins the Goose-eye Wilderness School, and Sylvia and her friend Sophia create a Nature home-school. From wildcraft cooking to outdoor games to building projects to tree identification, Nature School will be a year of unfolding learning and fun.