I mostly don't have trouble with bugs, but then I spent a summer living in a cabin in a very wet, muddy woods. The mosquitos were horrific and I was desperate to find a solution. Here's a few of the natural solutions I tried:
- Pure citronella oil, diluted in cheap vodka in a spray bottle. Maybe 30 drops oil in 1 1/2 cups vodka? I think I added a few drops of other insect-repellant oils to make it smell pretty, like lavender, rosemary and geranium. This worked when the bugs weren't too
bad. And it was very gentle on the skin, no burning. You can find a recipe online, I'm sure.
- For slightly worse bug nights, I would take 3-4 drops of pure citronella oil, rub them in my palms, and then rub my palms all over my body & face. Not too bad in terms of burning, though I don't know if I'd recommend it for really sensitive skin, esp. faces.
- Raw garlic, pressed to a pulp and rubbed on skin. Doesn't work at all, and it makes you smell ferocious. Eating raw garlic for a week also didn't work -- the bugs still came around, but the people stopped visiting!
I think the citronella mixture seemed to do the trick for most of the time. And certainly plain citronella works well for me in ordinary summer-bug situations. By the middle/end of my summer in the woods, the bugs were so outrageously bad that nothing seemed to help -- even yucky commercial sprays -- and I finally resorted to plain liquid 10% DEET, which I rubbed all over my body and face. I shudder to think of those chemicals on my body now. But at least the bugs left me alone! I don't think I'd go back to the woods for a whole summer again...