Living in Southwest Florida, stinging insects like mosquitoes and no-see-ums are a VERY real problem, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors like we do. Although the local county sprays for these pests on a regular basis, people who are just a bit sweeter than others (or O-blood types according to studies I read) are more prone to being eaten alive by these blood suckers. And sadly for me, I fit the profile.

In the last few years, I’ve come home many times with every inch of my ankles, lower legs and sometimes even my waist line COVERED in red welts and itching like crazy. I’m the person that everyone wants to bring to an outdoor party because I’ll get eaten instead of you. And nothing I have tried until now works to keep bugs from biting. It is without a doubt the best mosquito repellent I’ve ever used. And it’s totally simple to make at home!

So here is my Independence Day gift to you – freedom from biting bugs! Scroll down to get the recipe…


A Bit More About My Bug Bite Plight

We’ve been back in South Florida for close to two years now and I’ve heard people say that you build up an immunity to bug bites over time. That they won’t swell or itch so much one day. But it feels to me that I’ve become even more allergic to them if that’s possible. Maybe I’ve just discovered the places they most like to hang…camping tents, the patio at our favorite restaurants, at our friend’s house where we sit outside all the time…

It’s almost as if we live in the middle of a swamp… oh wait, we do! We’ve just tried to cover it up with concrete. And they stalk me on the screen, waiting for me to open the door to the patio and let them feast!


Thankfully I’ve also learned to cope when the bites over time. OTC anti-histamines and a wonderful antihistamine cream from Germany called Fenistil will usually making the itching subside, if only for a few hours. But the ultimate goal is really to not get bitten at all – especially since these bugs happen to carry a lot of disease as well.


Finding A Solution

About a month ago, when the weather got warmer and the bugs seemed to become more prevalent, I went looking for the best mosquito repellent on the planet. I have tried everything on the market over the years and recently even started turning to more alternative and homemade options. I’ve read that the only thing that repels no-see-ums is DEET — and I’m really not a fan.

While researching what no-see-um bites look like, I came across this video on YouTube from HKPSG1Shooter. After just a few seconds, I was thinking I had quite possibly just found the Holy Grail of bug repellents. If you’re willing to go out in the woods hunting and manage to not get eaten alive here, I’m willing to try out your idea!

(And in case you’re wondering, my no-see-um bites are small and red, a bit smaller than a pencil eraser. Mosquito bites, on the other hand, are at least twice that size and up to the size of a dime if I scratch them at all.)


Trying It Out

Once I’d mixed up the simple ingredients of yellow Listerine, witch hazel and tea tree oil, I started carrying a little bottle of the spray EVERYWHERE. One of the main issues I have is getting bitten on the go. Such as walking the dog. Or when we go to hang out with friends outdoors.

The first test was when we stopped to say hi to a friend one evening. Their patio is plagued by mosquitoes and no-see-ums, and I routinely get eaten alive there, as do our friends. So we’re standing outside and I grabbed the spray from my purse when I started noticing the bugs coming out. We had to reapply every 1-2 hours, but we had virtually no bites at the end of the night. And I usually leave there with 40-60 bites, especially if I’m wearing shorts.

The next test was at a restaurant surrounded by mangroves and water. I sprayed myself down quite a few times that evening, but I must have applied it better to one leg versus the other. My left leg had a handful of bites, while my right was covered from the lower calf to my lower foot with 60-70 bites. But arms, waist and neck were virtually bite free which is a big score in my book!

Since then, I’ve started applying it more religiously when I’m outdoors, and have converted all of my friends. I might just have to start selling this online or at a farmers’ market! 🙂

If you or your loved ones don’t like bug bites, you’ve got to try this out. It’s super simple, non-toxic and it really works! The Listerine seems to keep the bugs away and the witch hazel helps reduce the itching should any bugs resist your force field. The tea tree also acts as a repellent and healing agent.

Best Mosquito Repellent Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Best Mosquito Repellent Recipe


  • 1 part Original Listerine (the yellow one) (ex 1 cup)
  • 1 part witch hazel (ex 1 cup
  • 1 little bit of tea tree oil (ex 2-3 drops)


  1. Mix together Listerine, witch hazel and tea tree oil in a jar or medium - large spray bottle.
  2. Spray over exposed skin once every 1-2 hours, or as needed. Repels mosquitoes and no-see-ums.
  3. Note: Here in South Florida, I like to fill this into small spray bottles and carry one everywhere I go.

Try it out and share your experiences with us below!