How to Repel Mosquitos and Ticks, Naturally

How to Repel Mosquitos and Ticks, Naturally | Kolya Naturals, Canada

My first experience with ticks was a few years ago, hiking outside Jasper National Park. I thought there was a small spider on my husband’s sweater and tried to gently swipe it away; most spiders tend to move or jump, but this one did not. I quickly realized it was not a spider, but a tick, and plucked it off his sweater.


With a plethora of mosquitos and growing concern of ticks in the Edmonton area, earlier this spring I began perusing the great aromatherapy books we have in Kolya’s Apothecary. I discovered Kristen Leigh Bell’s book, Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. It is chock-full of information on essential oils, hydrosols, and other gems of natural treatments—safe for both our beloved pets and ourselves.

How to Repel Mosquitos and Ticks, Naturally | Kolya Naturals, Canada

A great companion to this book is Naturally Bug-Free by Stephanie L. Tourles: it is filled with knowledge, plentiful recipes, and ideas to keep insects away from the home, our person, and our pets.

Deep Woods Spray | Kolya Naturals, Canada

Through reading and research, I’ve devised a blend using a 60 ml treatment pump bottle for easy and clean dispensing. I blended a base of 50ml fractionated coconut oil, 5ml neem seed oil, and 60 drops of our Deep Woods blend of bergamot, lemongrass, citronella and yarrow essential oils. We apply this to any exposed skin by gently rubbing in and avoiding the eye area.

Find the recipe here.


Lucky for me, my husband is the perfect candidate to try these sorts of remedies on (bugs love to bite him). Because we do a fair amount of walking and hiking in deeply-forested areas, I wanted a product that would last without a need for frequent reapplication, as is the case with many natural sprays.

This blend did wonders on our hike in the deep woods of Elk Island National Park! Not one single mosquito bite, nor did they land on these areas. The best part of all was no need for reapplication for more than three hours. Happily, we did not encounter any ticks. Both the yarrow and citronella essential oils in this blend have been used for preventing tick bites in regions where ticks have been well-established for years.


Neem seed oil (known as a true botanical panacea in Ayurvedic medicine) is a natural insecticide. Each of the essential oils are known for their bug-repelling effects due to specific chemical components present within them.

Here is a list of other essential oils that our aromatherapist, Michelle, has researched and used with great results:

Bug Repellant:

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Litsea Cubeba
  • Sage
  • Cypress
  • Lavender, all species
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Rosemary
  • Cedarwood (atlas)
  • Patchouli

Insecticide Essential Oils:

  • Cinnamon leaf
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender, all species
  • Lemon
  • Pine
  • Sage/Mugwort
  • Sandalwood
  • Spearmint

Tick Repelling Essential Oils:

  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Rosewood
  • Rosemary
  • Yarrow

For cats, who are sensitive to essential oils, there are hydrosols: an essential oil coproduct and far safer alternative.

  • Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia hydrosol
  • Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens hydrosol


Note:  Wear light-coloured clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants tucked into your socks to ensure no exposed skin is showing. This will help keep you safe from mosquitoes and ticks.

If you are bitten by a tick, removal is very important. You want to remove the tick in its whole form. You can remove the tick using a pair of fine-point tweezers. Grab the mouth part of the tick, not just the body, as sometimes the body can sever and leave part of itself embedded in the skin. Slowly pull the tick straight out. Clean the wound with soap and water, and apply antiseptic essential oils such as manuka, tea tree, orange, grapefruit, lemon (citrus oils), fir, or cypress.

It is a good idea to keep the tick in a sealed container and bring it to your local health services department to have it tested and identified.

If the tick is a known species to carry Lyme disease, go to your doctor and request antibiotics as a precaution.



Essential oils are highly concentrated powerful liquids. Their potency must be respected and they can be toxic if used incorrectly. The way you handle and use essential oils is very important. Always seek recommended guidelines for safe usage of any and all essential oils & always err on the side of caution. Keep out of reach of children. Avoid all internal use, undiluted topical use & contact with eyes. In general, when using essential oils, use caution when dealing with epilepsy & asthma.  It is highly recommended to use caution when using essential oils during pregnancy; avoid the use of essential oils in the first trimester & on babies. Before using essential oils with children, research multiple trusted sources to ensure each oil is age appropriate & and is used responsibly & in the appropriate dilution.


The information contained in this Kolya Naturals / Optimum Naturals Inc. document is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or another qualified healthcare practitioner. The information available on or through the websites or Kolya Naturals newsletters, (including, but not limited to, information that may be provided by writers, editors, healthcare and/or nutrition professionals employed by, or contracting with, Kolya Naturals, Optimum Naturals Inc, Optimum Health Choices Inc. and/or Optimum Health Vitamins and associates), is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, or prescribe any medication. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements or ailments on any of the above sites or newsletters, may not have been evaluated by Health Canada, the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) in Canada, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America.

alecia s.
alecia s.
Alecia has been inspired and fascinated with nature since a young age. She has worked directly with plants for over two decades... from growing them in gardens to enjoying them as food, and regularly using them as medicine. During this time she has been making herbal products for health and wellness and discovered she really loved inspiring and teaching others the ease of making handmade and homegrown products. She has studied and been inspired by herbalists like Rosemary Gladstar, Robert Rodgers, Beverly Gray, Jeanne Rose as well as other local herbalists and horticulturalists.

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