Picture this: a cool summer evening, relaxing by a campfire, enjoying the tranquility of the night, up until… that pesky mosquito bites your ankle, and then the back of your neck, followed by a nice big bite on your cheek.
Now you have to spend the rest of your evening itching your body like a child with the chicken pox or resort to smelling like bug spray.
There’s no escaping the fact that mosquitoes can put a damper on your evening. Of course, there is the option of bug spray. But with bug spray, you risk being covered in a sticky spray, smelling like bug spray, and dealing with numb lips (you know what I’m talking about!). If you prefer to keep the bugs at bay without the chemicals that are contained in bug spray, then you’re in luck. Did you know that you can actually minimize the amount of pesky insects around you without using bug spray? In fact, you can take steps in your yard without bug spray to ensure that the bugs no longer enjoy your outdoor living area. The following article from LifeHacker.com provides some great tips on keeping the bugs to a minimum without using bug spray!
Keep the Bugs at Bay Without Bug Spray
Earlier this week we sang the praises of a good bug spray, but what if you want to enjoy your backyard without all that bug spray every time you step out? Use these tips and DIYs to make your yard bug resistant.
As we highlighted in our guide to avoiding summer nuisances, nothing’s as effective as good ol’ DEET-based bug spray. We also understand that not everybody likes spraying chemicals on themselves, and even those of us not afraid to lather up with DEET don’t always want to hose on the bug spray every time we’re in the backyard.
The following tips will help you keep annoying summer bugs of various sorts away from your yard and patio, so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces while using less bug spray and shooing away fewer creepy crawlies.
Remove the Bug Attractors
One of the easiest things you can do to cut down on the number of bugs in your backyard is to cut down on the number of reasons those bugs would want to pay you a visit. A few minutes of tidying and rearranging things around the yard and patio can yield a huge return.
Remove Standing Water: Mosquitoes lay eggs on standing water. Go around your yard and look for any place that water gathers: uneven gutters, kiddie pools, those buckets you left behind the garage, that planter tray you never got around to using. A single five gallon bucket left out in the rain can become a mosquito nursery in single day—the one I just dumped over beside my garage had easily several thousand larva in it.
If you can’t remove the standing water you can do two things to help. For things like rain barrels, buy some window screen and secure it to the top to keep the mosquitoes from landing on the water. For things like large bird baths or garden water features, add a small pump to agitate the surface to discourage mosquitoes from landing to lay eggs.
Move Trash and Recycling Far Away: Put your trash cans and recycling bins as far away from your house as you can, and while you’re at it make sure that the lids on your trash cans fit snugly. Flies love garbage and ants love the sugary residue in recyclables. Moving both away will cut down on the flies buzzing around your patio table and the ants crawling around near your house.
Keep Food Covered: When you’re outside enjoying a summer meal on the patio keep food covered. It won’t stop flies and such from being drawn over, but it will cut down on it and keep them from putting their disgusting little hands on your salad. You can find metal and nylon mesh “food tents” at your local grocer or online.
The Advanced Preventative, DIY Arsenal
While removing standing water and moving your garbage cans behind the garage might have helped, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and invest a little time, money, and sweat into making your yard extra unpleasant for bugs.
Use Bug-Repelling Essential Oils: The right oils are workable deterrents whether you buy some tiki torches and load them up with citronella-infused lamp oil or make your own citronella-candles. Citronella torches/candles are only effective for about a four-foot radius so you’ll need enough of them to blanket the area you’re in. If you want to make some torches for your patio that don’t have the Tiki-Island-Adventure vibe, check out these DIY oil lamps.
Build a Bug Trap: The number of DIY insect traps that exist is a testament to how much people dislike being bothered by bugs and how much effort they’ll put into keeping bugs away. Earlier this week we shared the Cadillac of fly traps with you, a worthy time investment if you live in an area plagued with flies. Check out this fly trap for fly-snaring on a smaller scale. If the pests have followed you inside, this fruit fly deathtrapwill make short work of them. Finally you can build a DIY mosquito trap to lure all your blood-sucking patio companions to their doom—and not to your neck.
Plant a Mosquito Repelling Garden:While having plants that contain mosquito-repelling oil in their leaves isn’t as effective as putting that mosquito-repelling oil on your skin—check out this combination DIY bug repellent and sunscreen to put those oils to good use or this all-natural bug spray here—it can’t hurt to plant some lush greenery that might have the added benefit of warding off bugs. Plants like Citronella grass, Rosemary, Catnip, and Marigolds all have properties that repel mosquitoes. You can read more about that here.
Use Non-Toxic Ant Repellents: Once ants find out the party on your patio is in full swing you can expect a continual stream of them. You can repel ants by putting a chalk line around the area you don’t want them to cross—just like the Smoke Monster!—or if they’re creeping into your house to find the party leftovers you can also use cucumber slices and other natural repellents.
When it comes to adventures in Malaria-infested jungle backwaters, your best bet is a strong bug spray with proven ingredients. When it comes to surviving your bug-heavy backyard without smelling like bug spray or dousing your patio with harsh chemicals, then these tips should help get you through your night without wearing Deep Woods Off! bug spray as your new cologne of choice.
Here at Camosse, we are dedicated to making your outdoor living space look beautiful. We know that mosquitoes will keep you from enjoying your yard, so we hope that we have helped you learn more about expelling insects without the unpleasant and toxic smells of bug spray.