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Ever since the warm weather came around, I have been dealing with my own personal bug hell here in the country. We have bugs in the house, bugs in our yard and even bugs in our cars. Roaches, wasps, yellow jackets, ants, mosquitoes, beetles, spiders, stinkbugs and, of course, cicadas. I consider most insects just harmless annoyances. But the black widow spiders on our front door are unacceptable. As are the mosquitoes, ants, roaches and anything that stings.
A pest control expert came by and recommended spraying pesticides monthly and leaving poisonous baits around the house. Pesticides are not an option for me. Even the organic sprays can have potentially harmful effects on people, especially children. So I have been investigating alternative approaches. You can read more about how I deal with bugs inside the house in this post and this one.
Want to relax on your back porch without being swarmed by mosquitos? Before you reach for the bug spray, consider a more permanent solution. Many plants, such as citronella, marigolds and catnip, have insect repelling properties. Surround your outdoor living space with these plants, and you will have a chemical-free solution to dealing with annoying bugs.
2. Bug Spray
I recently posted a recipe for making your own bug spray. While this spray is intended for applying directly on your body, it can also be used in the areas surrounding you. Spray it on your chair, table, umbrella, beach towel, pretty much anywhere. Just remember to reapply every so often.
3. Peppermint Oil
If the insects are venturing from your yard into your house, you can control them using peppermint oil. Just fill a small spray bottle with water and add 20 drops of peppermint oil (or enough so that the water smells very pepperminty). Spray this solution around doors and windows and anywhere else you think the bugs might be coming in. Or you can soak cotton balls in the peppermint/water solution and place the cotton balls near any cracks or holes. This is also great for deterring mice.
4. Candles and Oil Lamps
Candles and lamps use the same approach as bug spray with longer lasting results. As long as the candle is burning, the bugs will stay away. While it is easy to find citronella candles and torches in stores, I prefer to make my own using more natural ingredients, especially since my children will be breathing in any fumes that are released.
One option is to take a regular soy or beeswax candle and just add a 10-20 drops of essential oil to it and reapply as needed (one or more of eucalyptus, citronella, catnip, cinnamon, lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, orange, clove, cedarwood). Or I just make my own candle by melting beeswax and combining it with the essential oils. I have also made oil lamps with essential oils using this tutorial.
5. Wasp Traps
If you can’t keep the bugs away, trapping them is another option. This tutorial shows you how to make a wasp trap out of a plastic water bottle. Be sure to hang it away from where you and your kids plan to spend a lot of time because it will attract stinging bugs.
I hope these tips help. Let me know if you have any tricks that work for you.
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