A couple of mosquitoes can take the most enjoyable of evenings straight into the pit of hell. There are all kinds of ways to combat the pesky bugs of summer, most of them containing impossible to pronounce chemicals that may or may not be harmful to the humans as well as the insects. Here are some safe, natural ways to keep the pest population under control in your outdoor space.
- Cut your grass. Tall grass is the perfect place for ticks and other undesirables to make their homes.
- Get rid of all standing water in your yard. That means all standing water, no matter how small the container. That empty flower pot may look perfectly harmless; to a mosquito its the ideal nursery to hatch a thousand nasty offspring. Ditto for the sand bucket your kid left by the sandbox.
If you have a water feature or small pond in your yard, make sure to keep the water moving. Mosquitoes will not lay eggs in moving water.
- Grow insect repellant plants. Plant them in your yard, or add them to pots on the patio. I never begin a summer season without several citronella plants scattered around. They really will deter insects from invading your cook-out.
Some plants that have natural bug repellant properties:
Alliums (aka chives)
- Burn citronella or citrus candles and torches.
- Spray your patio and furniture with a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water.
- Change your white lights to yellow bulbs; bugs are not as attracted to the warm glow.
- Create your own bug spray from essential oils. Good choices are citronella, eucalyptus, lavender and anise.
Natural Bug Spray
1/4 c. witch hazel
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
20 drops of any of the essential oils names above. Or get crazy and use a combination.
Mix and put into a glass spray bottle. Avoid getting into eyes or mouth.
- Run a fan outdoors. The breeze is a deterrent to flying insects; it also diffuses the carbon dioxide the human creatures are adding to the atmosphere when they exhale so mosquitoes lose interest.
Here's to a bite and chemical free summer!