Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Shoo Gnats – Natural Bug Repellent Solutions

What would you do if your child comes inside from outdoor playtime with a swollen, bloody neck and they have no idea where it came from?

Over the past week in my Facebook mom groups the feed was peppered with photos of children with bloody bug bites all over their necks and hairlines! It looked horrifying; looking like some sort of disease, leaving bloody scabs and scars!

One child care in Hastings, MN was hit hard  with situation and is now warning parents of a terrible gnat problem! As reported by the Southwest Minneapolis Patch, the day care was informed by a local veterinarian these bites were caused by Black Flies (“biting Buffalo” gnats), who have blade-like mouth parts which slash the skin and feed on the blood. They target exposed sweaty skin, like behind the ears and necks and the victims do not feel the biting and do not itch until later.

Kids are not the only prey. They also target pets!

What Are Black Flies (Buffalo Gnats)?

Black flies are known as buffalo gnats because of their humpback appearance. They are very small, usually only measuring up to 1/16”, but appear in large swarms in late spring and early summer and attack birds and mammals, including people and domestic animals.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, there are about 30 species of black flies in the state. The blade-like mouthparts of the female gnat slash the skin and feed on the blood in order to produce eggs. While they are not known to transmit diseases to humans, they can result in painful bites that produce bleeding, itching, swelling and inflammation, and could cause allergic reactions.

How To Reduce Risk of Gnat Bites

  • Avoid areas where black flies congregate, such as shady areas with dense vegetation at dawn and dusk.
  • If there is a bug-disease warning in effect, stay indoors. 
  • Wear white or bright colored clothes, because gnats are attracted to dark-colored clothing.
  • Cover bare skin with long sleeve shirts, pants, hats and socks.
  • Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug” lights, which attract fewer bugs. 
  • Use insect repellent.

Take the Toxic Repellent Route?

Did you know that most insect repellents on the store shelves are loaded with toxic chemicals, including DEET, which is so poisonous that even the Environmental Protection Agency says you should avoid breathing it in, not spray it directly on your face and wash it off your skin when you return inside?

Many other repellents include another harmful chemical called Permethrin, which is considered a neurotoxin that can kill brain cells and has been categorized as a carcinogen, capable of causing tumors in the lungs and liver, immune system problems and chromosome abnormalities.

Knowing this, would you still choose to spray this on yourself, let alone your children?

The the Natural Solution Repellent Route!

Natural solutions are becoming more popular because mom’s are educating themselves of the dangers of these repellents and are refusing to put these chemicals on themselves and their children!

So, here I am to offer a few different non-toxic and safe ways to keep these gnats at bay and protect your children like the Super Mom you are!

Essential Oils to Help Repel Gnats
Citronella (Purify Blend)

How Do Essential Oils Help Repel Gnats?

Use nature as your natural repellent! Yes, essential oils are pure potent nature! They are natural aromatic compounds extracted and distilled from plants for many benefits.  These compounds provide a unique and natural aroma and are very unpleasant to insects.  Some oils actually contain natural pesticides that can kill various species of insects, including gnats.

How to Use Essential Oils to Repel Gnats

Any combination of the essential oils listed above will work as a DEET FREE, all-natural repellant, but here are some recipes to help get you started. If you are in a pinch, just applying lavender to the base of the neck will help!

Gnat Be Gone Diffuser Blend
Keep the gnats away with this great diffuser blend that can be used in your diffuser on your patio, deck or other outdoor areas.

6 drops peppermint
6 drops eucalyptus
3 drops melaleuca
2 drops patchouli
2 drops geranium


15-20 drops Purify Blend (which contains citronella)

Natural Gnat Repellent Spray 
This is an all-natural and easy DIY gnat spray to help keep they annoying gnats away.

What you need:

  • 8 oz spray bottle
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • ½ cup distilled water
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 10 drops eucalyptus
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops lavender 


  • Pour vinegar and essential oils in the spray bottle.
  • Close cap and rapidly shake to mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add the water and shake again.
  • Spray surroundings with the spray to keep gnats away.
  • Shake before each use because the oils and water will naturally separate some over time.
  • Keep away from eyes!

Homemade Gnat Repellent Body Cream
This non-toxic body cream is great for topical application to keep gnats from landing on your skin and biting!

What you need:

  • Double boiler
  • ½ cup of shea butter
  • 4 drops geranium
  • 4 drops cedarwood
  • 4 drops peppermint


  • In the double boiler, melt the shea butter until it is liquefied.
  • Remove from heat and add the essential oils.
  • Pour the mix into a 4 oz container. 
  • Apply the cream on all exposed skin and reapply every 2-3 hours.
  • Safe for children!

Shoo Bug Spray

What you need:

  • 30 drops geranium 
  • 30 drops citronella 
  • 20 drops eucalyptus 
  • 20 drops lavender 
  • 10 drops rosemary 
  • 1 Tablespoon vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • 1/2 cup Natural Witch Hazel
  • 1/2 cup water (or vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin (optional)


  • Combine essential oils and vodka (or rubbing alcohol) in a glass spray bottle and shake well to combine.
  • Add witch hazel and shake to combine.
  • Add vegetable glycerin if using (not necessary but helps everything stay combined).
  • Add water and shake again. 
  • Shake before each use because the oils and water will naturally separate some over time.

Not A Member Yet?

How would you like to get these essential oils at wholesale prices? If you aren’t a wholesale member already, consider doing so, because you can purchase products at 25% off and earn free products! 

Click here for more information about becoming a wholesale account member!

Join the Essential Oil Lounge!

Stay connected and learn more about natural & safe alternatives to self-care through essential oils!
This is a closed group for anyone interested in learning more about natural & safe alternatives to self-care through essential oils! I'll be hosting live classes, sharing tips and trick on how to use our essential oils and to help empower you to be better users! 

Southwest Minneapolis Patch
University of Minnesota Extension
Pub Med
Environmental Working Group
Natural News
Medical and Veterinary Entomology

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