How To Make A Natural Bug Repellent

Herbal Musings
3 min readJun 3, 2021

It’s that time of year for the bugs to bother us as we enjoy being outside. Mosquitoes, ticks, gnats and flies can make enjoying the outdoors not so enjoyable. There is relief from the itching and biting bugs with the plant, yarrow! This is a great bug repellent. A small spray bottle of yarrow tincture sprayed on your skin and clothes will keep those annoying bugs at bay.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an amazing plant and is a staple in your herbal medicine chest. Yarrow not only heals wounds, it counters and prevents infection. It has been shown to be effective in killing all manner of bacteria, including strep and staph. This is much better than an antibiotic cream. I have sprayed yarrow tincture in my throat to halt a sore throat. When sprayed on your face or back, yarrow tincture kills the bacteria that cause acne.

The US Army found yarrow tincture to be a highly effective insect repellent. In their tests, it outperformed DEET in repelling ticks and mosquitoes, but did not remain effective for as long. Apply the spray every 20–30 minutes.

How To Make A Yarrow Tincture


  • Clean glass jar
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pen
  • 100% vodka


  • Collect the plants on a nice sunny dry day after the morning dew has dried. Cut just the top third of the plants using the flowers, flower buds, seeds, stalk and leaves. The white flowers are the best to use.
  • Put these loosely in your empty, clean jar. Using your scissors snip the plants in the jar so they are small pieces.
  • Fill your jar almost to the top, next fill the jar with 100% vodka using a stick to tamp around the jar to release any air bubbles. Make sure all the herbs are covered with vodka.
  • Cap and label your jar with the name of the plant, the date you made it and the date it will be ready to use.
  • Shake the jar once a day for 2 weeks and store in a cool, dark, dry place. In 6 weeks your tincture is ready to use.
  • Now you need to strain the plant material.
  • Take some cheesecloth and drape it over a measuring cup and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Pour the plant material and liquid in the cheesecloth, gather the edges of the cheesecloth up…
Herbal Musings

I’m a wise woman, herbalist & reiki practitioner. I want to inspire you to craft your own herbal products, forage wild foods and take control of your health.