How to Make a Fly Repellent

How to Make a Fly Repellent thumbnail
Keep pesky flies and mosquitoes at bay naturally.

Nothing ruins a summer picnic faster than pesky flies and mosquitoes. Concerns over the dangers of chemical use have led many consumers to look for natural remedies. Herbalists have known about the insect repelling characteristics of essential oils for years, but recently scientists studied those effects as well. A 2001 study conducted at Iowa State University found that in laboratory trials, nepetalactone, an extract found in catnip, is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than the chemical found in most commercial insect repellents. Lavender, lemon balm, eucalyptus and pennyroyal are also known to repel flies. Whip up some essential oil insect spray before your next outdoor adventure; you'll keep the bugs at bay with no nasty chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 drops catnip essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon balm essential oil
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. aloe vera gel
  • Whisk
  • Plastic spray bottle or container
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    • 1

      Pour the essential oils in a bowl.

    • 2

      Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. aloe vera gel.

    • 3

      Stir the mixture quickly with a whisk to incorporate the oils with the aloe vera gel.

    • 4

      Pour into a plastic container and spray on or apply the mixture as a lotion before venturing outdoors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with the essential oils. If you find a certain oil's fragrance unpleasant, substitute another essential oil or reduce the amount of essential oil used.

  • Make a larger batch and store it in the refrigerator if you go through it quickly.

  • Never apply essential oils directly to the skin without diluting them in a carrier oil; essential oils are strong and can cause irritation.

  • Pregnant women should consult their physician before using essential oils.

  • Pennyroyal is poisonous when taken internally. Store out of the reach of children.

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  • Photo Credit Fly on fly image by Panta87 from

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