Gnats and mosquitoes are two of summer’s biggest headaches, and a swarm of either of these pests can break up a barbecue faster than even the biggest social faux pas. You don’t want yourself and your guests to be hopping around and madly swatting at the air, but you might not want to bathe in smelly chemicals, either. Read on to discover 5 natural, DIY ways to stop the “bugging” this summer.
1. Use Lavender to Keep the Bugs at Bay
Most humans may love the smell of lavender, but lots of creepy-crawlies loathe the fresh clean scent of this lovely bloom. You can use this to your advantage by making a homemade gnat or mosquito repellent using lavender, such as one of these three recipes. Add “insect repellent” to the long list of uses for this wonderfully versatile beauty!
2. Get Rid of Gnats
Gnats have a bad habit of invading your home and pestering you day in and day out, until you feel like you’re losing your mind. But you can outsmart them with these easy tips that will help you eliminate their food sources, set up traps using common household items, and kill gnats when you see them. You also can use these same strategies to get rid of gnats outdoors. Lots of gardening enthusiasts swear by the “mouthwash method” for outdoor gnat control, as well: pour basic mouthwash into a spray bottle, and spray it around the area where you plan to spend time. The smell discourages the little critters from paying a visit.
3. Give Mosquitoes the Heave-Ho
Mosquitoes are not only very annoying–they also leave behind bites that can itch for a week and become infected (see photo above), and can even carry potentially dangerous diseases such as West Nile virus.
Insect repellents that contain DEET can keep mosquitoes away, but some people prefer not to use DEET because of its potential for irritation. The CDC also recommends repellents that contain picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Here are some natural mosquito repellents for those who prefer a gentler approach, and here are a few more natural bug repellent recipes courtesy of DIY Natural. Here is a review of some commercially-available natural mosquito repellents, courtesy of About.com.
4. Stay Sweet and Bug-Free with Vanilla
We may think that vanilla smells delicious, but gnats and mosquitoes apparently do not. To keep these bugs at bay, dab a little vanilla extract at your pulse points, or mix 2 ounces of vanilla extract with 2 ounces of water in a spray bottle, and spray on exposed skin just before going outside. Some people’s skin is sensitive to vanilla extract, so be sure to test it on a small area first.
5. Natural Repellent Roundup
There are countless species of insect out there, and many can respond differently to repellents, so here is a roundup of more natural repellent recipes. First up is a homemade insect repellent that Scottish fishermen swear by, courtesy of DoItYourself.com. Finally, here’s a collection of 20 homemade insect repellents, courtesy of Jill from the Prairie Homestead.
Enjoy a fun, fabulous, bug-free summer!