Summer is typically a time for holidays, backyard BBQ’s, pool time, and just lounging on your deck. But it’s also a time when the bugs like to come out and play, at the expense of your outdoor enjoyment. If all you’re doing is swatting and shooing, it’s time to do something about the problem.
Of course, you can always use an insect repellent to keep bugs at bay. But if you’re not a fan of all the chemicals that many of these commercial products are littered with, you might want to use something a little more on the natural side that’s still effective.
Here are some natural insect repellent ideas to consider to ward off insects and keep on enjoying the summer heat.
You might be able to pluck off a few bugs from your garden plants, but if you’re dealing with a whole whack of them, this might not be a time-efficient tactic. Instead, you can use garlic to fight off these pesky buggers. Peel one head of garlic, and mash it. Put it inside a glass jar along with boiling water, cover it, then let it sit overnight. Strain the concoction, put the liquid portion into a spray bottle, then spray the areas that need protection.
2. Vanilla Extract
If garlic is a little over the top for you, try vanilla extract. This wonderfully aromatic ingredient that’s widely used in many recipes can also be used as an insect repellant when blended with a little water. Just lather yourself in the mixture to smell delightful while battling mosquito bites. If the smell is bit much for you, there’s always the option to add a couple of drops of essential oils into the mix.
3. Citrus Peels
To keep spiders out of your house and fill your interior with a delightful aroma, use citrus peels from oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Rub them on all the spots in your home where you’ve noticed spiders hanging around, such as shelves, window sills, and baseboards.
4. White Vinegar
Honestly, white vinegar can be used for so many things in the home, which is why you should always have a bottle of the stuff laying around. When it comes to fighting ants, white vinegar is perfect. Fill a spray bottle with the liquid, then spritz the spots where you’ve been noticing congregations of ants. Before you use it on colored textiles or carpeting, however, you might want to test it out on a small patch to make sure the vinegar doesn’t discolor them.
Another way to fight off ants is with borax. Sprinkle a little of the powder in the paths that ants take in your home to stop them from colonizing. A word of caution: if you’ve got little kids or pets, make sure to keep them away from the borax.
6. Baby Powder
While not exactly entirely natural, baby powder is certainly a lot better than some of the products you’ll find on supermarket shelves. Not only does it act as a deodorizer, baby powder can also fight off bees and wasps when sprinkled lightly around your home.
If you’re tired of being eaten alive while trying to enjoy a nice outdoor meal in your backyard, use some citronella. A lemon grass type of product, citronella works really well at keeping mosquitos away. You can use it with citronella-infused lanterns and candles; or else, you can rub citronella oil on your body for an added layer of protection.
Fruit flies are a major nuisance, and can run rampant if you’ve left ripe fruit or leftover beverages out on your counter for hours. To keep fruit flies away, put a few basil leaves in a cup of water, and let it sit overnight. The next morning, pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and spritz the areas of infestation.
Instead of using potent and foul-smelling moth balls, you can easily combat these bugs using natural cedar. Moths have a natural dislike to cedar, so you can use it to keep them from gnawing through all of your clothes. You can get cedar blocks or shavings, and place them in your dressers before these bugs are able to wreak havoc on your wardrobe.
Having a herb garden is not only a convenient way to have flavorings readily available for your dishes, they’re also helpful at keeping bugs out of your house. Plant some aromatic herbs, such as citronella, basil, bay leaves and mint around all the exterior entrances into your home to keep insects outside where they should be.