An Herbal Force: DIY Bug Balm

Originally spotted on Unplugged Sunday: a recipe for a natural bug repelling defense. Remodelista editor Alexa decided to give it a try, with the hope to thwart mosquitos and other summer insects with “a force of rosemary, catnip, lavendar, and lemon.” See below for the recipe; to read the entire post, go to DIY: Bug Repellent Balm on Gardenista.

To make the bug repellent, you will need:

  • 1 cup dried calendula flowers
  • 1 cup fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup dried catnip
  • A mix of olive and coconut oil (about 2 cups total)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • Lavender and lemon essential oils (about 10 drops each)
  • Double boiler/ sauce pan and bowl
  • Cheesecloth
  • Liquid measuring cup and glass jar
  • 4-5 lidded jars

Gather your fresh and dried herbs: calendula flowers for skin soothing, rosemary for bug repelling, and catnip as an anti-mosquito solution.

Above: Equipment needed to bring the salve together. To start: Set up your double boiler and bring water to a boil.

Above: Add the rosemary, calendula, and catnip to the top bowl and cover with enough olive and coconut oil to completely submerge the herbs. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes to slowly heat up the oil.

Above: The final result: lemon-yellow salve to ward off insects on your next outdoor hike.

We’d like to know: Do you have any natural ways to ward off bugs during the warmer months?

Be sure to visit Gardenista for other natural DIY recipes.



Julie H.
Julie Hoffman5 years ago


Laurie Benson
Laurie Benson5 years ago

I melt the beeswax into olive oil and pour it into the jars adding essential oils of citronella and eucalyptus while it is warm but before it sets.

Zazgyva A.
Zazgyva A5 years ago

thanks... has anyone tried this?

Suzanne L.
Suzanne L5 years ago

It's a little too complicated for me. I've heard that rubbing catnip alone on the skin can repel mosquitoes.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago


Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this. I think I'm too lazy to attempt it though.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Gabriella Bertelmann
G Bertelmann5 years ago

definitely worth trying a naturally made bug repellent, am very leary of the commercial ones.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago


Gabriella Bertelmann
G Bertelmann5 years ago

Thank you, appreciate this. I have been thinking about making a natural repellent, so I will try this.