DIY Bug Block Bar - Avoid pesky summer bugs without nasty chemicals

DIY Moisturizing Bug Block Bar

When I step outside in the summer, you would think I had a sign on my back that reads, “all you can eat buffet.” Mosquitos love me, but I can’t say the feeling is mutual. Even when other people I was with weren’t bothered by them, they’d just swarm on over to me.

To avoid being a late night snack for the bugs, I would devotedly douse myself with DEET  filled bug spray every summer evening. Yes, even my face. Now that I’ve started making all my own skincare products, I’ve realized how horribly awful DEET really is.

Despite touting the pesticide as “safe,” the EPA is quick to warn against using too much, using it under clothing and says to wash it off as soon as you go inside. You’re also not supposed to get it anywhere IN your body, either through the mouth or an open cut. (source)

I like using skincare that’s so safe I can eat it!

I love this coconut coffee sugar scrub (yum!) and (of course!) the Pronounce Skincare Line. DEET isn’t on my safe to eat list, so it’s not going on my skin.

I don’t like the idea of living without bug spray though. I’m all for free food, but not when I’m on the menu. Fortunately, I’ve found a way to deter the little beasts.

Jessica has a great bug spray recipe, but I wanted to come up with something a little different.

But what do lotion bars have to do with being mosquito lunch? If you’ve read some of my other posts, like this one that has my some of my favorite aromatherapy recipes, then you’ll know how crazy I am about essential oils. So of course I’d use them in a lotion bar to transform it into a DIY moisturizing bug block bar.

DIY Bug Block Bar - Avoid pesky summer bugs without nasty chemicals
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There are lots of oils out there to choose from, but I like using tea tree, geranium and citronella. This Scratch Mommy bug spray uses tea tree and geranium essential oil, (which I love!), but my husband isn’t too fond of the flowery geranium. I’ve found that if I add more earthy scents, like citronella, it reduces the floral scent, but still has a nice balance.

I tested several different oil blends to see which one warded off the mosquitos the best. I put the recipe below on my left arm, one with yarrow, geranium, citronella and tea tree on my right arm, a premade repellent blend on my left leg, and nothing on my right leg. I did the same thing with my husband. I didn’t want to subject my son to possible bug bites though, so I sprayed him liberally with all of them just to make sure!

What were the results? I got zero bites on my legs with the repellent blend, but the recipe below came in at a close second. My husband said that the mosquitos weren’t even landing on the arm that had the blend below on it. I only got 2 bites with this recipe, which is a huge deal for someone that usually comes back covered head to toe in bites.




  1. Combine the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, then you can make your own with a glass bowl on top of a pot of water.
  2. Stir with a metal (not wooden) spoon until thoroughly melted.
  3. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes, but don’t let it get thick.
  4. Add the essential oils and stir gently to thoroughly combine. Pour the mixture into your mold of choice and let it cool until solid. This recipe yields about 3-6 bars, depending on the size of your containers.
  5. To use, rub liberally on any exposed skin. These bars will melt if they get too hot, so don’t stash one in your car’s glove box. If it does soften though, just put it in the fridge until firm again.

Note: I love certified organic essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.

If you don’t have the time or desire to DIY right now, never fear – you can beat bugs with Bug Be Gone Spray!

Comments 15

  1. Hi,
    I’m impressed about your DIY Products.
    I’m going to try the homemade foundation. I bought all ingredients. But for beeswax I didn’t get organic. It contains petroleum jelly. Could it be work for the foundation? Awaiting for your reply. Next I’m going to try this bug blocker bar. Super!

    1. Post

      Hi jasmine! I’ve never heard of beeswax with petroleum jelly in it. I’m not sure how it would work in this lotion bar recipe, and petroleum jelly is an ingredient I never use in products. Jessica may be able to chime in on her foundation recipe.

  2. Hi there!
    This year is apparently bad for Lyme’s disease in our area. Do you know if this works for ticks as well? That’s the only thing keeping me from totally ditching DEET.
    As a side note, I’m also upset with myself because I THOUGHT I ordered Citronella in my last EO order. Apparently not. Is there anything else that might work?

    1. The essential oil reference book I have says that lavender works well against ticks. You could replace the citronella with lavender in this recipe.

  3. I promised myself just a quick peek at your DIY Products……3 hours later I finally forced myself to quit and resume my chores……lol
    Made the bug block bars and spray and have not had a “bite” yet…..
    my husband is usually the one bugs focus on but even after digging out a large new flower bed……no bites. Can’t wait to try some of your other products.

    1. Post

      I had very good results with a repellant blend I got from a company. Patchouli is also supposed to be good against mosquitos. I love my geranium though! It works well and I even use it in my destress oil blend.

    1. Post

      Hi Elaine, mountain rose herbs sells high quality beeswax pellets, you can find the link in the article! I’ve also bought organic beeswax pellets from bulk herb store before.

  4. well I have all the ingredients a little worried about how strong the tea tree oil will be but here goes… i’ll post an update once I make it- or is there a different oil I can use- or cut done on the tree oil?

    1. Post

      Hi Millie, I’m not sure if you’re worried about the tea tree being too strong on the skin, or if you don’t like the smell? Tea tree is one that can be used undiluted on skin from the research I’ve done. Also Robert Tisserand had said that a 7% dilution of oils in a bug block bar was safe and this recipe uses less than that. You can always add another oil though if you’d like, I just found this recipe to be very effective from the ones I tested.

  5. I am allergic to perfumes/colognes and react to citronella. Can this be made with tree tea oil and lavender? I bought the beeswax. I have to try something as I get bit up really bad. What is best to use on mosquito bites?

    1. Post
  6. Pingback: DIY Bug Block Bars - The Herbal Spoon

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