24 hours in a day – 23 spent itching bug bites

**helpful note for reader – recipes are linked at the bottom!**

It may please some of you to know that I almost titled this blog post, “do mosquitoes actually come from satan?” Because honestly I am fed up and angry and itchy and need someone to blame. Needless to say, South Carolina summers have pretty much convinced me that the answer to this question is most definitely.

See, walking Tucker twice a day means there is ample time for the local bugs to tell all their friends to come bite me. And when the world started staying home for COVID-19, the bugs apparently didn’t receive the same orders, because I think they came out earlier this year than ever. Back in March, pre-wedding, I was already contemplating never walking Tucker again because of the bugs. I also considered putting on his leash for a few laps around the living room, but he already seems to hate me enough.

Now that we are well into June, though, things have gotten WAY out of hand. There are more mosquitoes out and about than people in masks.

I did some research on why I seem to be targeted by these pesky monsters while J walks around bug-bite-free. I thought maybe it was my blood type or all the sugar I eat, but there doesn’t seem to be any credible research suggesting either of these things. I did learn that people who drink beer and people who are pregnant (hopefully they don’t fall into both categories, ha!) are more “attractive” to bugs. And no, I’m not pregnant.

My research wasn’t very helpful, so I decided I had to figure out this problem on my own.

This summer kicked off my hunt to not only find the best bug repellent and keep the itchy monsters away, but also to live a little more natural and chemical-free. A friend of mine recommended babyganics bug spray, which is all natural and even approved for babies to use, and it works well for her and her little ones. It’s pretty inexpensive, and the bottle was pretty, so I gave it a chance. BUT for whatever reason, this gentle-enough-for-babies bug spray did not react well with my skin. It burned and turned my entire body bright red. (I will say, however, that it kept the bugs away… and my husband- ha!) Anywho, there must be an oil in it that I have an allergy to – maybe cedar wood, or lemongrass, because I have never had a problem with the other ingredients. Don’t let my experience deter you from using it, though. It works great. Nobody else seems to have any problems with it – not even crazy people online. (Maybe just test it out on a small area first.) You can get it and other babyganic products at Target, Walmart, Amazon – basically anywhere. Here’s a link in case you want to save it for later.

After all of my research on using natural products, though, I didn’t want to give it another go with the harsh stuff we’ve always used. My new friend Allison says “don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in it.” And while I don’t have the healthiest diet, you won’t find me purposefully sipping on chemicals, so why not try to avoid putting them all over my skin too!

“Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in it.”

SO what did I do? In the midst of home renovations and still unpacking, I turned our house into an apothecary lab. J thinks I’m nuts.

I have spent the last couple weeks trying to perfect a bug repellent that works the best for me and also for the city/climate that I’m in. And I think I may have it figured out. (Shout out to my aunt Jodi who first introduced me to the idea that you could even make your own bug spray and for giving them out as favors at Megan and Dylan’s wedding – they were a hit, and Kelsey definitely wants more.)

My guess and check system started with just a spray, but I realized I don’t necessarily want to cover myself in bug spray every time I have to let Tuck in or walk to the mailbox and back. (FYI after getting the mail earlier this week, I came back inside with 3 new bug bites, ugh.) So I worked on a few other options, including lotions and candles. A few of my friends and J have tested them out and were pleased with how well they worked, and Tucker is extremely pleased that we aren’t taking our daily walks indoors. So I think it has been pretty successful.

In case you are also trying to survive and also enjoy your summer, wherever you live, I wanted to share how I made each of these gems so you can try it for yourself. To help things stay organized, I’ve added each recipe to it’s own post on the blog and linked them below. Also, just a quick tip if you choose to try these DIY products- buying things online was way cheaper than going to whole foods, even though that was really fun :)

too many tasks on your to do list to add another?

In response to my sweet friends who said they love the idea of making their own bug repellent but are “too lazy or busy” to do so, I decided to put a few on my etsy shop, which you can find here. I’m not trying to turn this into a business or anything, but why not make a bigger batch while I am already making some for the Burgess home. Subscribe via email for

skip the hassle and buy a product on my etsy shop!

I also found some other tips to keep the pests away with things you may already own!

  • Put a fan on your porch or whenever you are spending time- apparently mosquitoes aren’t very strong flyers!
  • Oil diffusers filled with the same oils I mention in the recipe links below are a good alternative to these products! They may not work quite as effectively, but anything is better than nothing!
  • Incense are thought to keep bugs away. Most people argue it’s the smoke not the smell, so any scent should work fine, but I’ve also heart patchouli works wonders!
  • If you don’t have citronella candles, try lighting regular candles. The smoke should have the same effect as the incense!
  • I’m also looking into natural and DIY yard sprays and soaps for a long lasting effect. Stay tuned!

Recipe links

Did you try any of these out? Let us know in the comments how it went and which oils worked best for you!

2 thoughts on “24 hours in a day – 23 spent itching bug bites

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