10 Simple All Natural Bug and Mosquito Repellents
Bugs. Can't live with them, but can't live without them. Despite all the good flies, mosquitoes, bees, and other insects do for our ecosystem, they can sure seem like pests during that backyard BBQ or annual camping extravaganza. With a little foresight, common sense, and maybe a few essential oils, however, you can battle with these creatures and win. Better yet? You can do it all without using harsh chemicals or other ingredients that are hazardous to your health. Here are 10 ways to keep the bugs away. (See also: Homemade Sunblock and 6 Other Recipes to Get Your Skin Ready for Summer)
1. Loose Cover
When I hang outdoors for long periods of time or go camping, I try to wear a lightweight layer, usually loose cotton or linen, that covers my extremities as much as possible. It's not a perfect method because bugs can squirm their way in wherever there's an opening, but it can dramatically reduce the number of bites and stings I experience. Tucking in shirts and wearing shoes instead of sandals is the next stage of defense.
2. DIY Bug Repellent
With a base of purified water or witch hazel, this DIY bug repellent comes together quickly and easily. You can use any combination of essential oils that appeal to your senses (or that you happen to have around the house), but the most effective and long-lasting combo is lemon and eucalyptus. (See also: 15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel)
3. Natural Wasp and Bee Repellent
My friends and family know I am terrified of anything that stings. So, when I hear a buzz, I go running. I'd love to make some of thisnatural repellent — just equal parts peppermint essential oil and water. Peppermint is one of my favorite scents and is also cooling, which is an added benefit for the steamy summer weather.
4. Bug-Off Bars
For more portable bug protection, try these moisturizing lotion bars made with Purification and Thieves oil blends whipped into a coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter mixture. Also? They make great gifts — you can pour them into fun molds for extra flair.
5. Citronella Candles
If you're having company over, why not protect them all with these beautiful floating candles? They contain citronella oil, sliced citrus fruits, and sprigs of mint and evergreen. Yet another genius use of the ubiquitous Ball jar.
6. Mosquito Plants
I'd never heard of Mosquito Plants until I saw them pop up at our local garden center. The concept makes total sense to me, though. Though the plant itself doesn't repel insects — the citronella fragrance in the leaves works when crushed and rubbed on the skin. If you plant one of these, it's always in your garden and ready to use.
7. Fan Away
A trick my family has used for years involves nothing more than a standard box fan. Simply plug one in by your party (use an outdoor extension cord if you must) and make sure to weigh down any light objects that might otherwise fly away.
One of the surest ways to keep insects of all sorts away is by physically screening them out. If you don't have the space or funds to enclose a patio or porch, consider purchasing an inexpensive screened gazebo or umbrella net.
9. Color Game
Wasps and bees are attracted to the colors yellow and white. Conversely, they cannot see the color red. So, a great way to stay relatively invisible when you're working or playing outdoors is to choose your wardrobe wisely. And the same goes with any overly smelly perfume — they'll be attracted to it.
10. Avoid a Squashing Spree
It can surely be tempting to swat or squash a pest — especially bees, wasps, etc. — but doing so can cause more harm to you than good. Crushed bees emit a pheromone that attracts more of their buddies to come running toward the scene. Swatting makes the situation worse. If you find yourself in a swarm, run for the nearest indoor area and try to cover your head and face with a shirt for protection from stings.
How do you keep bugs at bay — naturally? Please share in comments!