There are few things better than spending a nice, relaxing day lying on the sand on a nice, sunny beach, or maybe going camping and taking a leisurely hike through beautiful forest trails. Whatever the adventure of choice, spending time outdoors is always a breath of fresh air.
No matter how great the outdoors may be, though, biting midges (also known as no-see-ums) can ruin the experience. At best, these winged insects’ bites can be annoyingly itchy. Worse, they can become inflamed and even turn into blisters that eventually leave scars.
For those who love being out and about but hate having to deal with the discomfort and hassle of getting bitten, natural midge repellents are worthy considerations to derive comfort from.
Natural Midge Repellents
For many, plant-based, natural, and organic options have long become sought-after alternatives to synthesized repellents. Essential oil blends and essential oil-based products, in particular, have quickly gained popularity in recent years, with scientific evidence and customer testimonials alike backing up their efficacy in everything from mood-boosters to cold-busters, to—yes—natural midge repellents.
Whether you are simply looking to add an equally effective solution to your arsenal of midge repellents, trying to make a more mindful choice, or simply wanting a gentler, more enjoyable product experience, here are some natural midge repellents you might want to grab for your next outdoor adventure.
1. No No-See-Um Natural Insect Repellent
All in the name, No No-See-Um Natural Insect Repellent is specifically formulated with biting midges in mind.
This natural midge repellent is DEET-free, PABA-free, Paraben-free, and most importantly, made with 100% plant-based ingredients. Its certified vegan formula consists mainly of lemongrass, citronella, and geranium essential oils that work to protect you as you enjoy open-air activities.
With all of these natural midge repellents at your disposal, you can ensure that your next trip through the great outdoors is wonderfully bite-free.
2. OFF! Botanicals Mosquito and Insect Repellent IV, Plant-Based Bug Spray
If you are interested in venturing into naturals but at the same time still want to stick with a more familiar, tried-and-tested brand, then OFF! Botanicals Mosquito and Insect Repellent IV, Plant-Based Bug Spray might be the natural midge repellent for you.
Like its non-botanical counterparts of the same brand, it repels a variety of insects whose bites can ruin camping trips and beach vacations by causing irritation and even allergic reactions. These include black flies, mosquitoes, and of course, biting midges. This natural version, however, boasts of a DEET-free formulation with no added fragrances or dyes.
Instead of harsh chemicals, its plant-based formula utilizes pine oil extract to keep bugs at bay for up to two hours. Pine is one of the most commonly used natural insect repellents in the world, as it contains 24% linalool and 17% limonene, both of which are known to deter pest insects. Limonene in particular has been proven effective against no-see-ums, so you won’t have to worry about these pests’ painful, itchy bites.
3. Bug Soother Spray
Being allowed to play outside freely and connect with nature does wonders for kids, but the potential no-see-um bites this brings are especially irritating for their sensitive skin as well.
With its simple, straightforward formulation, Bug Soother Spray is the perfect natural midge repellent for kids. It is made by Simply Soothing, a woman-owned brand that originally formulated the product for a 5-month-old baby in the family, so you can feel safe using it for its gentle touch but robust action against biting midges.
This DEET-free spray relies on the bug-repelling properties of lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass is effective against sandflies (a very close relative of the midge) at merely 1mg/mL.
Bug Soother Spray blends 100% pure lemongrass essential oil with skin-nourishing ingredients: purified water, glycerin, castor oil, Vitamin E, and soy lecithin. Kids will also approve of its light vanilla scent and the absence of oily residue, so you can allay anxiety, knowing they are protected as they explore the outdoors.
4. Badger Anti-bug Shake & Spray
From a company that makes bugs their business comes Badger Anti-bug Shake & Spray. For over 25 years, they have created balms for bites as well as repellents in various formats such as sticks and sunscreens, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors worry-free.
This is a great natural midge repellent option if you are looking for an effective, all-around ‘clean’ choice. Not only is it lab-tested for efficacy, but it is also certified organic, DEET-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and 100% natural.
Instead of synthetic chemicals, Badger Anti-bug Shake & Spray harnesses the power of essential oils. It contains citronella, which is a potent combination of the compounds geraniol (35%), citronellol (4.6%), and citronellal (5.8%), all of which have been proven to repel biting insects. Rosemary and lemongrass also not only add to its bug repellent effect but make for a delightful smell as well.
5. BUGGINS Natural Insect Repellent
If you hate harsh, chemical bug spray smells but still want to enjoy outdoor fun without being bothered by no-see-ums, then Buggins Natural Insect Repellent should be on your list.
This non-sticky, non-greasy, DEET-free repellant’s signature soft vanilla scent makes it a delight to wear, while its proprietary blend of essential oils protects from bugs (including buffalo gnats, turkey gnats, and other biting midges) for up to two hours.
Buggins Natural Insect Repellent contains proven repellents peppermint, lemongrass, and geraniol, a compound found in many essential oils (including citronella, as mentioned above). Studies have shown that this compound is effective against various biting winged pests, even at 1% when used for ticks. Buggins also contains clove, which is especially protective against insects, when combined with geranium.
6. Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Natural midge repellents generally protect for around 2-3 hours, but when you are busy having fun outdoors on vacation, reapplying bug spray may not always be at the top of your to-do list. For those who need something with a little more longevity, Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil offers protection for up to 6 hours.
Despite originally being for mosquitoes, it is effective against other biting bugs as well and is the only plant-based formula officially recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is formulated with 30% lemon-eucalyptus oil, or citriodiol, which contains citronellal, citronellol, limonene, and geraniol. Research shows that this essential oil can be up to 100% effective against various biting pests for up to 11-12 hours.
Murphy’s Naturals does not contain DEET, dyes, synthetic fragrances, or harsh chemicals, making it gentle on the skin while tough on bugs.
Help Midge Education Reach a Wider Audience
Culicoides is the most prevalent and distributed genus of the Ceratopogonidae family. They are everywhere, with exception to the polar regions, and are a concern for animals and humans. Some people show a mild reaction to them, while others are more extreme and may need to visit the hospital.
We want to spread the word about midges, both biting and non-biting. With your help and support, we hope to reach a wider audience and educate people, by distributing information about the behavior, life cycle, habitat, and control measures.
To support our mission, we ask that you share our blog with those you think would benefit from this information. Like you, many people around the world struggle with biting midges. To date, over 40,000 searches are made using the term “biting midges” each month. That is a colossal number, although it in no way reflects the entire affected populace that needs help. Please take a moment to share this article on ‘natural midge repellents’ to your favorite social platform of choice.