How to Repel Insects Naturally

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for repelling insects naturally. The best technique depends on the type of pest.

Aug 4, 2023By Colt Dodd
how to repel insects naturally

Although insects are the most abundant life form on earth, they’re generally not the most desirable. Nobody wants to turn on the light and see a cockroach scuttle under the stove—and for some, a bee sting poses more than a painful inconvenience. So how can one repel these insects naturally?

The solution ultimately depends on the insect. What may repel a bee might attract houseflies. One can learn more here.

How to Repel Ants

a close up of a black ant
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

According to Healthline, various household products repel ants. However, it’s important to use these items properly, so as not to endanger residents or pets. Some considerations include:

  • Regularly wiping down counters and other surfaces with glass cleaner. Ants leave behind a special scent as a way of mapping out their surroundings. It’s kind of like how Hansel and Gretel left behind breadcrumbs in the forest. By regularly wiping down counters, ants lose their “map” and stay away from certain areas.
  • Sprinkle some pepper around where ants enter. Some ants enter the home through crevices and other openings. Sprinkling black pepper or cayenne is as good as placing a little sign that says, “Stay Out.”
  • Using food-grade diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth (also known as silicon dioxide) is fossilized remains of plankton and other microorganisms. It repels ants, but it can irritate the skin and lungs. So, if one wants to take this route, one could buy diatomaceous earth that’s food grade.

A great way to repel ants is to keep the home clean. This involves regularly vacuuming the floors, mopping, and sealing packaged food.

How to Repel Wasps

a closeup of a wasp
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As the weather gets warmer, wasps become more abundant. These flying pests have an amazing sense of smell, which makes them adverse to some substances, including:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Essential oils, including clove, lemongrass, and geranium
  • Citronella
  • Orange and lemon peels
  • Soap-and-water solutions

Just like with ants, there are some day-to-day things that homeowners can do to repel wasps. For instance, if someone notices cracks in a deck or fence, they should seal it immediately. Wasps like to make nests in crevices.

Homeowners can also repel wasps by keeping their compost bins and garbage cans sealed. Wasps are attracted to protein-rich and sugary food.

How to Repel Cockroaches

a cockroach on a wooden table
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Cockroaches are one of the world’s best decomposers, meaning they feed on decaying matter and well…garbage. However, most homeowners can’t stand to see bugs indoors. Thankfully, they have some options, such as:

  • Sprinkling bay leaves. Cockroaches can’t stand the smell of bay leaves. They also hate peppermint oil, coffee grounds, cypress oil, and cedarwood.
  • Creating a combination of sugar and boric acid. The sugar attracts the cockroaches. The boric acid kills them. This method is ideal for single-resident households that don’t have pets.
  • Keeping the home cool. As terrifying as it sounds, cockroaches can fly. However, when a home is cool (colder than 70 degrees), this stunts flight, making them easier to squish.

If a home has water damage, this can attract cockroaches. That’s because they’re drawn to the dampness.

How to Repel Mosquitos

a mosquito sucking human blood
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that it’s crucial to prevent mosquito bites. Most of the time, a bite poses nothing more than an itchy inconvenience. However, mosquitos can also spread diseases, such as zika, malaria, and yellow fever.

Homeowners don’t have to spend the summer indoors afraid of mosquitos, however. Healthline notes that homeowners can repel mosquitos by using:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Greek catmint oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Citronella
  • Tea tree oil
  • Geraniol
  • Neem oil

The publication notes that one should never put these oils directly on the skin. One should first mix them with a carrier oil to dilute them. By applying essential oils to the skin, one risks irritation and allergic reactions.

It’s also important to know that essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). So, when purchasing these items in stores or online, one should only buy from a reputable retailer.

How to Repel Bees

bee on a flower drinking nectar
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Most of the time, gardeners want bees to visit their yards. Yet, per Mayo Clinic, five percent of the population has bee allergies, where even a single sting can prove deadly. So, to prevent these critters, one could:

  • Avoid wearing bright colors. Bees see a brightly colored shirt and go: “Wow, a flower!” This may prompt them to land on humans in search of nectar.
  • Keep food and drinks covered. Just like wasps, bees are drawn toward sugary drinks and protein-rich food. When hosting a backyard barbeque, be sure to cover leftovers with tin foil or a plastic lid.
  • Spray essential oils onto various surfaces. If a homeowner frequently spends time outdoors, they could spray essential oils onto items they frequently come in contact with. As noted, these oils include peppermint, spearmint, and thyme.

Bees are attracted to flowers, and they’re attracted to anything that looks or smells like a flower. So, people should refrain from wearing flowery perfumes and colognes.

Why Not Just Use Pesticides?

a farm worker using pesticides
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pesticides do more than kill bugs; they can also endanger pregnant women, small children, and pets. In fact, there are many lawsuits against the maker of Roundup, asserting that the popular product caused litigants to develop cancer. This prompts many people to rely on natural methods of deterring insects.

The Center for Environmental Health notes that many over-the-counter pesticides can cause:

  • ADHD
  • Birth defects
  • Heart attacks
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin ulcers

Many scientists agree that it’s best to work with nature and not against it. By relying on essential oils and other methods, one can enjoy their life bug-free.

Colt Dodd
By Colt Dodd

Colt Dodd is a sighthound enthusiast with three years of freelance writing experience. He has an Italian greyhound/Shetland sheepdog mix named Homer. In his spare time, he enjoys going to dog parks and writing fiction.