Mosquito Repellents and Bite Remedies

Home Remedies for Repelling Mosquitoes and Soothing Bug Bites

May 17, 2018

Use these natural mosquito repellents and mosquito bite remedies to keep the mosquitoes away and get relief from itchy bug bites!

We love summer but staying away from mosquitoes is annoying. No one wants to wear long clothes in the heat just to prevent mosquito bites, but the bugs can be relentless.

It’s not all mosquitoes that feed on blood, though: male mosquitoes only drink nectar, whereas female mosquitoes nourish their developing eggs with protein-rich blood. To that end, the female mosquitoes prefer to bite ankles and wrists, where blood vessels are nearer to the skin’s surface. Ever noticed where you get bitten?

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

When a mosquito bites you, it injects a small amount of saliva into the wound to stop your blood from clotting. Our bodies react to this foreign substance and, in defense, produce a protein called histamine. Histamine triggers the characteristic inflammation seen around mosquito bites, as well as the itching.

Note: Though it’s rare, mosquito saliva can also carry encephalitis, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever. If you have any complications with bug bites (besides itching), check for symptoms of these other diseases.

Natural Bug Repellent Remedies

Did you know: A higher body temperature and more sweat make you more likely to be bitten. A first step is to wash off any sweat and keep your body temperature down.

Topical Mosquito Repellents

  • Many readers claim that rubbing apple cider vinegar on your skin helps to repel insects. If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies. One great and refreshing summer drink for this purpose is switchel, made from apple cider vinegar.
  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil is recommended by the C.D.C. to repel mosquitoes, as is picaridin.
  • Some people swear garlic works and swallow slivered garlic to ward off these summer pests. Others take garlic tablets or rub garlic juice directly on their skin. 
  • If you are going to use a DEET repellent, do not use one with more than 25% DEET. Unlike the SPF rating in sunscreens, higher concentrations of DEET don’t mean more protection.


Though it might not give you the most pleasing scent, garlic juice could help to keep mosquitoes away.

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard

  • To keep mosquitoes to a minimum, eliminate their breeding sites on your property. They need standing water to lay their eggs in, so empty those puddles, old cans, buckets, and plant pots. If you have a pond, don’t worry—dragonflies love ponds, and they are a big mosquito predator.
  • It is thought that certain plants repel a broad spectrum of insects. Marigolds, chrysanthemums, asters, and pyrethrum daisies, as well as herbs such as basil, anise, and coriander, are all thought to repel insects. See more plants that repel mosquitoes.
  • Citronella candles are not proven to work, however the smoke repels mosquitoes. Or, burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.
  • Add a bat house to your home! Did you know that one small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in one hour? Check this page for more information on bats and other creatures that eat annoying pests!
  • Be aware that using pesticides to get rid of mosquitoes can also harm more beneficial bugs like fireflies and dragonflies. Try some home remedies before making that decision!

Mosquito Bite Relief: Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Itching

  • It helps to ice the area of the bite to constrict the capillaries near the skin’s surface and reduce swelling. 
  • If you are going to use a topical cream, stay away from caladryl and calamine lotions for mosquito bites; it’s better to apply a low-potency hydrocortisone and simple patience.
  • Remember not to scratch the bite; this will only make it worse. For itchy bites, rub on meat tenderizer or lemon juice. A paste of mashed garlic can also help make bug bites stop itching.
  • White vinegar is another remedy for relieving the itch of insect bites. Apply it in full strength. Don’t use vinegar if the area is raw. See more household uses for vinegar.
  • A paste of baking soda and water can provide much-needed relief to bug bites. Learn more about the countless household uses for baking soda.
  • Oatmeal can also help to provide itch relief—not only for bug bites.
  • Some people have luck with high doses of vitamin B1 (100 milligrams, two or three times a day), but it doesn’t work for everybody.
  • If you have an intense reaction to mosquito bites, consult your doctor.

We hope these natural mosquito repellents and bug bite remedies help you beat the bugs this season! Have some tips of your own? Please post in the comments below!

Reader Comments

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mosquito bites

This is a phenomenal bite killer and anti itch remedy I use in Mexico continuously: We keep a saucepan on the stove at all times. When we are bitten (which is a continuous daily affair), boil the water, use a wash cloth to dip the corner in the boiling hot water and apply to the bite for 2-3 seconds. Immediately do a second time. The itching is gone immediately. Reapply before bed, and bite is gone the next day. No damage to your skin. I discovered this remedy to fool the brain when I had a bad case of hot pepper burn on my hands and found this remedy online. I submerged my hand in the hottest water without burning that I could stand for a period of minutes. Pain gone.

Fix mosquito bites

Aloe Vera leaf slit an rubbed on bite 2 to 3 times will make it disappear quickly. I always have a few potted near doorways for easy access.

Mosquito bites- relieve the itch

I have found that once I'm bitten and the bump is beginning to grow, vegetable oil can stop the itch and stop the bump from getting any bigger. If the bump has already grown then the oil can help get rid of them faster. It can also help make skin softer. I use it all over, and it works wonders!

Use natural soap to relieve itching and redness of bug bites

I use GreenWyre all purpose cleaner for everything around the house. But I found that wiping some on mosquito, tick, fire ant, and bee stings works immediately to stop the itching, remove the redness, and disinfect the bite area. It's safe for any skin condition and can be used on kids too. Google GreenWyre to find it online.

An outdoor fan keeps mosquitos away

The best mosquito deterrent we have found is turning on our outdoor fan when we sit on our deck. It seems mosquitos don't like moving air. The benefits to the fan are that it is chemical free and cooling as well.


I hate bug bites but i need to sleep with the window open at night to breath and window cant open very far but how do i keep mosquitos from comming in the window i have a curtian over the window and a fan blowing around the room but isnt doesnt seem to keep them from annoying me

Mosquito Netting

The easiest way to stop mosquitoes from getting into your home would be to fit a screen in the window. You should be able to find mosquito netting at a local hardware store, which you can attach to your window frame.

All Natural Mosquito Repellent

Lavenderm - All Natural Mosquito Repellent, not just a bug repellent, but the oils in this product are so beneficial to too! It can treat hair loss.


I tried these bracelets that contained lemongrass essential oils. While I wore the bracelets on my wrists and ankles I did not get one bite. If I wasn't wearing the bracelets I was in agony.

Bat House for Mosquitos

A bat house. Really. Do you have bats in the attic. What is worse. Mosquito bites or the rabies virus?

Don't be batty

Most bats are insectivores and are not interested in humans. Your statement about bats carrying rabies is a hyperbolic in nature. I would worry about raccoons much more than bats.

Mosquito bites!! Especially

Mosquito bites!! Especially since the probability of getting bitten by a mosquito is far greater than the probability of getting bitten by a bat, I will take bats any day, I'm considering getting a bat house.

relieving mosquitoes bite itching

Aloe Vera gel stops the itching immediately

Peppermint leaves naturally

Peppermint leaves naturally destroy an ant’s smelling sense. Keep in mind an ant will never attack a region where a strong smell does not attract it.

Itchy skin

Info was helpful.


Great information on the mosquito repellent, did not know about the vinegar, thanks.

Easiest Bug Bite Remedy

I get mosquito and bug bites all the time and they often swell up on my skin and get really itchy. The best thing for the itch is a drop of any liquid soap on the bite, or moisten bar soap and rub it on and let it dry. The itching will stop in minutes and the relief will last last pretty much all day.

Not Chemical Free

"The water-based BUG OUT Spray in a recyclable plastic pump bottle is totally chemical-free"

...can't be water-based and chemical free. Please be more specific. If you mean free of phthalates and other potentially carcinogenic ingredients please say that. If you mean DEET free (which was already in the header of that portion), then say that. If we keep saying "chemical free" when an item does, in fact, contain chemicals, we help to spread misinformation around what a chemical really is, and only hurt the effort to keep products safe.

That is, water is a chemical, so by default anything with water in it is not chemical free. I should also say "free of harmful chemicals" is just as bad because it's just as non-specific. We need to name and shame the problems in personal care products, not allow them to hide behind a smokescreen.

Good point. We will be more

Good point. We will be more careful with our product descriptions.
~The General Store

My wife planted kale it came

My wife planted kale it came up and was ready to harvest but something beat us to it ate all of the leaves what was it? please help.

Hi, Todd: You really need to

Hi, Todd: You really need to get out your detective kit for this one, as it is hard for us to tell whether you are talking about systemic damage by some sort of insect (for which there are a number of candidates) or big chomps by some sort of larger animal. Inspect the remaining leaves and stems carefully, as well as the garden soil (for tracks). Hopefully that can give you a clue as to who or what the culprit(s) are. Good luck!

What is eating your kale?

It is probably the cabbage caterpillar. See those white moths they laid eggs on your kale. No need to spray or add other chemicals. Get some white row covers and keep them on your kale. I buy mine at the dollar store. The moths can't land on the kale and lay eggs. Works for radishes too, no more worms. You go from having beautiful Kale to having stocks.

i have a large pool and

i have a large pool and vegetable garden. we are being bitten by flies and mosquitos even during the daytime.HELP!!!! i don't know what else to do. we can't eat outdoors and the flies bite all day. as soon as the sun starts to set the mosquitos start to bite, before it is even dark...I AM AT THE END OF MY ROPE. SUCH A NICE YARD GOING TO WASTE!!!!!

Here are a few home remedies

Here are a few home remedies that you can try. Garlic and chives repel mosquitoes. Plant garlic and chives in the garden and in containers that you can keep around the yard. Eat garlic often. Rub your skin with fabric softner sheets or tuck one sheet under your cap or hat. Burn citronella candles.

We use a floor fan turned

We use a floor fan turned onto low out on our deck when it's buggy out. It's amazing how well it works in keeping mosquitoes and small flies away from us.


This is a great way to keep small insects and especially mosquitos away as they are not strong fliers and will not be able to get to you through what to them, is a gale.

Terminex Mosquito treatment

Terminex offers a mosquito treatment service through the March-August season. Its not super cheap but it cuts down the mosquitoes by about 70% or so.


I spray Listerine around where I am sitting. Works great.

ANTS. I have a newborn this

ANTS. I have a newborn this summer, I need to protect my home, fire ants big and small invade inside, and huge black ones are out back biting on my dog:( what can I do

I locate their little mounds

I locate their little mounds by tracing their path out of my house. Then I sprinkle ANDRO ant bait around their mounds for them to carry into the nest which will kill THAT nest.. Before they re-organize and build another nest, I use clear silicone sealant to seal up the spots where they were entering my home. It takes several hours for this sealant to cure completely, but it is very sticky and will encase any straggling ants forever.

It's best to follow the ants in daytime when they are active, but put the ANDRO around the nests when they're all inside the nests at night for them to find the next morning.

It may take a few times of repeating this process, but soon the ants will leave your property. They stay away from my property for a few years before I have to do it again.