Bye bye bugs
Bugs such as flies, bees, wasps and the dreaded mosquito serve a purpose – they are a food source for birds and other animals, and they pollinate flowers. However, they are called pests for a reason. When they bite, sting and swarm in the warmer months, it is helpful to have some natural ways to shoo them away.
An anti-mosquito garden comprised of plants such as catnip, peppermint, lavender, sage, rosemary, lemongrass, lemon balm, and basil are all great at keeping mosquitoes away. Plus, they can flavor whatever is on the barbecue.
Marigold flowers are another garden all-star, as they emit insecticides that are toxic to mosquitoes. Marigolds also help ward away bugs that prey on tomato plants. The wonderful scents and colors of all these pretty plants will add to the ambiance of your favorite outdoor hangout spot.
Many commercial repellents contain peppermint essential oil. Try adding a few drops each of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary essential oils to a spray bottle with either almond oil, sunflower oil or witch hazel, then spritz your garden and outdoor seating area. Other options to try are lavender oil, lemon eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil in a 1:10 ratio.
Spraying bath oil on one’s body can help repel mosquitoes. Moisturizing skin is a big bonus.
Less fragrant than oils but more readily available, garlic is another pest repellent. Make a garlic water spray solution by boiling a peeled and crushed garlic clove for 20 minutes. Put the water in a spray bottle and spritz when you see a mosquito. Another natural spray solution that is highly effective is apple cider vinegar. Make a mixture of apple cider vinegar, citronella, and witch hazel and spray away.
Burn incense or candles that contain eucalyptus, cloves or citronella, all of which smell nice to people but terrible to bugs. Along the same lines, burning used and dried coffee grounds is another repellent. If sitting around a fire pit, toss aromatic herbs such as lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme or sage on the fire – the pungent, fragrant smells are unpleasant for the mosquitoes.
Piñon wood, like incense, gives off a distinct odor that mosquitoes are not too fond of. Add piñon wood to your wood stack the next time you light up your fire pit. You will be able to enjoy your fireside chats mosquito-free.
By Lisa Nicklanovich