Bug Be Gone Salve

tin of salve surrounded by fresh herbs, text says "Bug Be Gone Salve"

This natural bug-away salve is part of a first aid set I put together for my kids a few years ago, when they spent a good part of their summer camping and meandering across the country.

In anticipation of the inevitable boo-boo’s, bumps, and bug problems they would surely encounter, I put together a trio of salves and balms for them to carry along in their bags.

The collection includes:

Each recipe has a corresponding printable label.

They were pretty young at the time, so I made kid-friendly labels for each salve or balm so they could easily identify which was which. You’re welcome to print off sheets of one style (Bug Be Gone’s is HERE) or a combination of the three types (HERE.)

Bug Be Gone Salve

This salve has an essential oil dilution rate of 2% (24 drops in 2 ounces of salve). I designed it for kids ages 2 and up. (For adults, you could double the amount of essential oils for more oomph.)

Instead of the essential oils I list below, you could alternatively add a ready made blend, such as Plant Therapy’s kid safe Shield Me blend.

If you don’t want to DIY this type of product, a great option you can buy is Maggie’s Farm Insect Repellent. (Safe for kids & dogs too when used as directed.)

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  • 1.45 oz (41 g) sunflower, rice bran, apricot kernel, or your favorite carrier oil (optionally infused with mint, lavender leaves, catnip, and/or lemon balm)
  • 0.25 oz (7 g) castor oil (or more infused oil)
  • 0.25 oz (7 g) beeswax pastilles
  • 10 drops Virginia cedarwood (or citronella) essential oil*
  • 8 drops geranium bourbon essential oil
  • 6 drops patchouli essential oil
  • optional: If you’re worried about the salve melting from the heat of travel, you can add 1/2 tsp (1 g) candelilla wax to the recipe or add an extra pinch of beeswax for a firmer texture.

* Ticks are a big problem where we live, so I use Virginia cedarwood. If mosquitoes are more of a concern, use citronella.

Summer Travel First Aid Set with Labels


Step 1: Place the infused or plain carrier oil, castor oil, and beeswax into a heat proof container. If adding candelilla wax, add that here too. You can use a mason jar, or a recycled tin can for easy cleanup.

Step 2: Set the container with the oil and beeswax down into a saucepan that contains a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler. Set the pan over a medium-low burner until the beeswax has melted.

Step 3: Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils. This recipe fills about one 2-ounce tin with a smidge extra leftover. (I use this extra bit to test on myself.)

Step 4: Print out the sheet of Bug Be Gone labels HERE or the combination sheet of Bug Be Gone, Boo Boo Balm and Bumps & Bruises HERE.  I like to use sticker paper (like this kind.)

If you don’t have sticker paper handy, you can print on regular copy paper and affix with a thin layer of glue. It won’t be as durable as sticker paper, but will work!

Bug Be Gone Label

To use Bug Be Gone Salve:

Rub on your ankles, legs, arms, and neck to help repel some of the pesky bugs of summer. Avoid rubbing in your eyes or around your nose and mouth. The salve is for external use only.

What works best for us is to use the salve around ankles and other areas where ticks, chiggers, and other creepy crawlies might try to hide.

We simultaneously use Lemon Balm Bug Spray) to help with flying pests like gnats and mosquitoes. This combination is the most effective that we’ve tried so far – and we’ve tried a lot of different things!




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    1. Hi Jan
      I was wondering what other combination of eo could i use, unfortunately i don’t have the lemon eucalyptus nor the citronella..
      Help!! :)

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