Summertime would be heavenly – if only we didn’t have to deal with all the annoying biting and stinging pests that arrive with the warmer weather. Many of the fun activities of the season are spoiled by having to constantly swat away the incessant barrage of flies, mosquitoes and other bothersome insects. If you’ve been driven indoors by the bugs and want to reclaim your backyard without having to resort to using sprays or chemicals, here are some eco-friendly ideas to help.
Place Insect-Repellent Plants in Your Garden
There are quite a few lovely flowering plants and herbs with fragrances that are appealing to humans but not to bugs. Plant a few of these insect-repellent beauties around the perimeter of your yard to create an attractive bug barrier. Do a bit of research to find out which varieties will do best in your area and plant a mixture of different types to repel many kinds of pesky insects (granted there are other bugs that will work with you, too). There are plenty to choose from, and as a nice bonus, many of the plants on this list are also edible. In addition to helping keep the bugs away from you, these plants will also help protect your vegetable garden from insect incursions.
To fend off mosquitoes, plant herbs such as lavender, basil, dill, fennel, rosemary, mint, sage, citronella, garlic, lemongrass, lemon balm, bee balm, oregano, chives, thyme, eucalyptus, and flowering plants such as marigolds and chamomile. Other plants with powerful insect-repellent properties are parsley, petunias, nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, cosmos, and dahlias.
Water Bags Keep Flies Away
Hang resealable bags filled with water around your yard to help repel flies and wasps. Sounds crazy, but many people have reported amazing results with this method. Apparently, it has something to do with the way the light reflects off the water. Flies may see their reflection and think it's another fly and get frightened away. Whatever the reason, it works.
Chop Some Extra Onions at Your Next Barbeque
You'll probably have some onions ready for topping hot dogs and burgers whenever you light up the grill. Set some aside to help repel mosquitoes. Add some chopped onion to a bowl of water and place it close to your picnic area. Give it a swish periodically to release the aroma that mosquitoes find unpleasant.
Repel Bugs With a Pretty Centerpiece
You may have seen fragrant pomanders used as an old-fashioned Christmas decoration, but they can make a beautiful and practical centerpiece at any time of year. Simply stud an orange with cloves to create your own pomander bug repeller. You'll love the scent, but the bugs will steer clear to avoid it.
Blow Some Bubbles
Flies, mosquitoes, and wasps apparently have an aversion to the smell of soap. Put the kids to work blowing bubbles at your next outdoor event, or invest in a bubble machine to fill the air with those lovely magical spheres. You can also purchase inexpensive bottles of soap bubbles as favors for your guests, and let everybody get in on the fun. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, this is a beautiful, practical, and eco-friendly alternative to throwing rice.
Light Up the Night to Keep the Bugs Away
Good old-fashioned citronella candles are readily available this time of year, and they remain an effective mosquito repellent. However, there are other light sources that can also help to repel bugs. If you like to decorate with strings of fairy lights around the garden, make sure they are LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. Not only are LEDs the most environmentally friendly type of bulb, they are also the least attractive to insects.
Blow Bugs Away With Fans
Find a powerful fan that can be used outdoors. It will do double duty to help keep you cool while it's blowing those lightweight pests away from you.
Try these tips so you can enjoy summer in the great outdoors worrying about uninvited pests.