7 Of The Best Essential Oils For Bug Bites: Updated for 2017!

best essential oils for bug bites

Enjoying the great outdoors is fun and relaxing, but if there’s one thing that everyone hates about it, it’s having to share the experience with insects.

Sure, some insects are great but when you’re being bitten by a ton of red ants or being stung by angry bees, it sure takes out a lot of the beauty and enjoyment of the whole experience.

Luckily, you won’t have to look further than your bathroom for some natural remedies – here are the best essential oils for bug bites.

At A Glance

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  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-septic
  • Anti-viral
best essential oils for bug bites

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Perhaps one of the most popular and recognizable essential oils, lavender essential oil is ubiquitous, and with good reason:

They are so versatile and useful!

The most common use of lavender oil is for calming and relaxing, but here are some of the lesser-known properties of lavender essential oil:

  • Analgesic – the scent of lavender oil is known to be an analgesic, so if you have a mind headache, putting a couple of drops of lavender oil into your burner helps calm the pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory – putting lavender oil on inflamed, irritated skin helps reduce the inflammation, so if you’ve got a mosquito or ant bite, applying some lavender oil helps reduce the itching and swelling.
  • Anti-septic – Lavender oil is known to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria on small cuts and wounds.
  • Anti-viral, fungicide, and bactericide

Even something as simple as putting some lavender oil on your clothes before going out into the garden can help deter bugs from biting and stinging you. As another small bonus, you’ll smell awesome!

Tea tree oil is well-known as an anti-septic and anti-bacterial compound, so if you’ve got small wounds from bites or stings,

the best way to treat it naturally is placing some tea tree oil directly on the wound.


Tea tree oil is also known for other properties, such as:

  • Expectorant – if you’re having trouble with something caught in your throat, inhaling steam with a few drops of tea tree should loosen that sucker right up!
  • Immunostimulant – regularly applying tea tree oil on your skin stimulates your immune system
  • Insecticide- If you’re having trouble around your garden because of insect pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealy bugs, adding tea tree oil around your plants will help you get rid of these insects.

Sweet and flowery smell. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a calming and relaxing oil.

This is also why chamomile tea is a good choice for a night-time tea so that you can get a better night’s sleep.

It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a calming and relaxing oil. This is also why chamomile tea is a good choice for a night-time tea so that you can get a better night’s sleep.


Aside from giving you a relaxed feeling, chamomile essential oil also has the following properties:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-septic
  • Anti-spasmodic – if you have involuntary muscle twitches, especially when you’re feeling cold or tired, rubbing some chamomile oil on your muscles can help relieve the twitching
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Carminative – to relieve gassiness and flatulence, massage some chamomile oil on your stomach
  • Sedative

Has a distinct, lemony fragrance when they are crushed or bruised. Lemon balm is very relaxing and uplifting, and it has very powerful anti-bacterial properties as well, so it's a great choice for treating insect stings and bites.

If your pets are suffering from flea or tick bites, you can create a simple spray from rosemary and lemon balm; simply boil the rosemary and lemon balm for around 30 minutes, let the mixture cool, then strain the liquid out.


You can spray the compound directly on your pets to help control their tick and flea problem.

Here are other amazing properties of lemon balm:

  • Anti-depressant – studies have shown that the smell of lemon balm can reduce anxiety and depression
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-viral
  • Sedative
  • Carminative

Basil is a great herb to have around the house because of their versatility! You can use them in food, drinks, and even dessert.

Basil has high anti-inflammatory properties, so if you’ve been bitten or stung by an insect, it’s really handy to have some basil around the house.

Basil Essential Oil

The best thing about basil is how easy they grow, and how fast.

You won’t need a lot of space, sunlight, or water to grow basil, and you don’t need a lot of experience either!

Simply place a stalk of basil into a pot with soil, leave it on your window sill, and water it a few times a week. You’ll have basil growing in no time!

ThymeAnother great herb to have around the house, thyme grows quickly and easily, so this is another herb that you might want to have if you’re not good with growing plants.

Thyme is also very versatile, and can be used for food and drinks.

Thyme has powerful anti-septic properties, so if you have open wounds, you can use thyme essential oil to keep the wound clean and sterile.

Woody, strong, and herbal all at the same time, the smell of eucalyptus is distinct and memorable, and eucalyptus oil has a very concentrated smell.

It is one of the best oils when it comes to anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties, so if you want to prevent infections from bug bites, you need to place some eucalyptus oil on your wounds.


Aside from being a powerful anti-septic, eucalyptus essential oil also has the following properties:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Diuretic - if you're having trouble relieving yourself regularly, breathing in some eucalyptus oil from your burner can help.

Simple Home Remedies for Insect Bites and Stings

Cold Compress Solution for Hornet and Bee Stings + Ant Bites

When bees sting you, they leave behind the stinger in your skin where the venom sac will continually pump venom into you. This is the reason why it’s very important to remove the stinger as soon as possible. Use forceps or tweezers to gently but firmly grasp the stinger, taking care to avoid the venom sac. Pull it out of your skin firmly and slowly.

Hornets and wasps, on the other hand, do not have barbs in their stingers, so they will not leave the stinger in your skin if they sting you.

Once the stinger has been removed, quickly apply a cold compress along with the following compound:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 15 ml or 1 tablespoon chamomile or lavender hydrosol

The chamomile or lavender in the compound will help reduce the pain and swelling, so you may reapply this compound along with the ice pack until the swelling goes down.

Homemade Bee Sting Paste

Bee stings can be irritating and uncomfortable at best, and downright painful at worst, especially if you’re allergic to bee stings.

In order to relive the pain, here is a quick and simple recipe for a DIY paste:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 drop of chamomile
  • 1 drop lavender
  • Clean (distilled or filtered) water

Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl such as ceramic until the compound resembles a soft, mushy paste. Remove the stinger carefully; again, make sure to avoid squeezing the venom sac to prevent the release of more venom into your skin.

You can apply this compound on your skin every hour until swelling and pain subsides.

This paste can also be used for wasp and hornet stings, as well as for ant bites.

Wasp Stings? Apply A Vinegar Cotton Ball Press ASAP

If bee stingers are barbed, imagine wasp and hornet stingers as hypodermic needles. They can slide in and out of your skin without getting caught, and this also means that wasps and hornets can sting you multiple times.

Wasps and hornets can be aggressive and territorial about their nests, so if you find wasp or hornet nests around your home, make sure to call in pest removal experts to take care of it for you.

To alleviate the pain and swelling from wasp stings, you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 5 drops of lavender
  • Cotton (you can use cotton balls for convenience)

Combine the liquid ingredients, then soak the cotton in the liquid. Place the cotton ball against the affected area until the pain and swelling subside.

Alternatively, you can also use:​

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil or lavender

Mosquito Bites

Simply place a drop of tea tree oil or lavender oil directly on the bite. The anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties of these essential oils will help relieve the itching and swelling of the mosquito bite. Tea tree oil and lavender are the best essential oils for bug bites, based on experience.

Tick Bites

If the tick is still attached to your skin, simply place a drop of thyme or eucalyptus oil directly on the tick. It will remove itself from your skin immediately.

Once the tick has been removed, place a drop of lavender oil directly on the bite to relieve the itching. Place a drop every five minute until the swelling and itching subsides.

Treating Midge, Gnat, and Bedbug Bites

While bedbug, gnat, and midge bites are not as common compared to ants bites and bee stings, it should be noted that the bite of these insects are painful, and can leave infected wounds. This is the reason why it’s very important to be able to clean and disinfect these wounds as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

You can either use a few drops eucalyptus neat or lavender, or you can use 3 drops of thyme oil diluted in a cup of cider vinegar. These essential oils have highly anti-septic properties that can help reduce the risk of infection and clean out your wounds.

Flea Bites

The most annoying thing about fleas is that they can bite humans, even though their main source of blood is usually canine or feline. Flea bites are very itchy and annoying, but if they bite you enough times, it’s actually not uncommon to see flea bites that can become infected.

What’s more, you might not even be aware that you’re scratching your flea bites, and scratching flea bites can also easily lead to open wounds.

To make a soothing balm for flea bites, you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2-3 drops lavender
  • 2-3 drops tea tree oil
  • Cotton balls

In a non-reactive bowl mix tea tree oil and lavender with one teaspoon of vinegar. Use this mixture to soak a cotton ball and dab the bite or sting area every hour or so.

Treating Sea Urchin Stings

Okay, now we can use essential oils to treat stings from other animals aside from insects. If you love going to the beach, this may be important information for you to have.

Sea urchin stings are very common, because sea urchins are common all over the world, and many species are found in shallow waters. So, it’s easy for a swimmer to accidentally step on a sea urchin. While sea urchin stings are not particularly dangerous, they can very painful and uncomfortable.

Before treating your sea urchin-inflicted wound with essential oils, you should remove the spikes. Sea urchin spikes are very brittle, and can easily break as you try to remove them. Make sure that you remove all the spines before treating the wound.

Once you completely remove the spines, place a drop of thyme essential oil directly on the wound to help clean the wound, reduce itching and swelling, and help it heal faster and cleaner.

However, the trouble with using thyme oil is that it won’t really reduce any of the pain. Use the following essential oils for a speedier treatment:

  • 10 drops chamomile
  • 10 drops lavender
  • 10 drops eucalyptus
  • 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (macadamia, argan, sesame, coconut, sweet almond, among other neutral oils will work just fine)

Drop the oil directly on the wound drip by drip until pain subsides.

Jellyfish Stings

Another common problem on the beach are jellyfish. Again, there are many species that can be found in shallow waters and close to land, so it’s not hard for people to swim right into jellyfish tentacles. Make sure that you remove any jellyfish matter from your skin before applying 1 to 2 drops of chamomile, lavender, or tea tree oil.