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DIY: Bug Repellent Balm


DIY: Bug Repellent Balm

Alexa Hotz May 20, 2013

I have a very serious vendetta against mosquitos and a few select summer insects, so I’ve decided to embalm myself in a force field of rosemary, catnip, lavender, and lemon; I suggest you do the same.

We spotted this recipe for bug repelling defense on Unplugged Sunday, and decided to give it a try. Armed with our jars of fragrant balm, we’re looking forward to lounging outdoors all season long.


  • 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, such as 4-ounce Eco Mason Glass Jars (86 cents apiece from Amazon).

Photographs by Alexa Hotz.

Above: Gather your fresh and dried herbs: Calendula flowers for skin soothing, rosemary for bug repelling, and Catnip as an anti-mosquito solution; buy a wide selection of bulk herbs online at prices starting at $2.15 an ounce from The Herb Shoppe.

Above: Use enough beeswax (the equivalent of 1/4 cup) to congeal the oils into a salve. A 1-pound box of Organic Yellow Beeswax is $9 from Amazon.

Above: The main ingredients (clockwise): dried catnip, calendula, coconut oil, beeswax, lavender and lemon oils, and rosemary.

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: Strain the oil into a glass jar through the cheesecloth (L). Reheat the filtered oil over low heat, adding the 1/4 cup of beeswax until it’s completely melted. At that point, add in your drops of essential oil and stir. Prepare your glass jars (R), fill with the mixture, and allow to cool completely.

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

For another herbal remedy, see DIY Miracle Cure for Allergies: Gentle Nettle Tea.

This is an update of a post originally published June 8, 2012.

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