Natural ways to keep bugs at bay

mosquito-pestsLet’s have a B-B-Q, play ball, toss a Frisbee, read in a hammock, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, blow bubbles and just enjoy being outside.  Got bugs? Plant a defense.

Once you have gotten rid of any sources of standing water in your yard that attract mosquitoes (bird baths, tire swings, watering cans), consider adding some garden plants that are natural repellents.  Put them in pots on your deck or patio or along a sidewalk.  While you’ll enjoy the way they look or the tasty treats some provide, mosquitoes may become annoyed and decide to move out.  Scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigolds, pennyroyal, citrosa, sweet basil, rosemary, mint (make sure you keep it in a container or it will take over your yard) and sassafras all have some degree of built-in repellents that drive bugs away.  But, the repellent factor works much better when the leaves are crushed rather than sitting still, so rubbing a leaf between your fingers occasionally while you’re sipping your iced tea can give this property a boost.

So what’s good to put directly on you and the kids?  While it is a very effective chemical, we have written before about the safety issues related to products containig DEET.  Soybean oil based repellents are healthier for you and tests have found them to be as effective as a 15% concentration of DEET, lasting for 4 to 8 hours.

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