“It’s a beautiful tale, and today is a beautiful day without any bugs” – Hugo Pratt
We’ve all had instances when a beautiful day got ruined by annoying bugs!! Bugs are sly little creatures and they’ll follow you everywhere – in the garden, on the balcony, at a picnic, even in bed! It’s very hard to keep bugs away, and their size gives them an unfair advantage!
Any sight of a bug generally prompts us to reach out for that spray can which claims to spare no bug in sight, but unfortunately, this option doesn’t do any favors for your health or the environment. Most bug sprays contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), which is what works at keeping bugs away. However, lab tests on DEET have found it to affect the human nervous system in addition to causing skin and eye irritation in some people. And DEET being mainly a pesticide, it leaches into ground water and soil, harming the environment in more than one way.
But this doesn’t mean we have to let those pesky insects get to us and spread diseases. We can have the best of both worlds by choosing natural options that don’t harm us or the environment. So here are 10 natural ways to keep bugs away from your home and your life.
10 Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away
1. Layered Clothing
The easiest method first – dressing in layers with long sleeves and pants will help in keeping disease carrying mosquitoes at bay, especially during the summer and monsoon months. This is a great tip for kids who tend to run in and out all the time, especially during the vacations.
2. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon eucalyptus oil has been found to be as effective as DEET in keeping bugs away, without any of the harmful effects. Mix with water in a spray bottle and spray on clothes or furniture. It’s effects don’t last as long as DEET, so reapplication is necessary.
3. Soyabean Oil
Soyabean oil is used as a fixative in homemade insect repellants, which means that it can be used to extend the life of your DIY insect repellant. Mix it with an essential oil in a spray bottle and spray on. This is a good choice when you need extended protection, like when you’re on the road or outdoors for a while.
Fans are a superb way to keep bugs and insects at bay, without any side effects whatsoever! Fans help in two ways – one is by dissipating human secretions and scents, so that it becomes difficult for bugs to land on us. The second is when the high speed of the fan creates a heavy wind against the flight of bugs like mosquitoes and flies.
5. Citronella Candles
Citronella has been known to act against bugs like mosquitoes and a great way of using it is by lighting citronella candles. Citronella candles can also be made at home with wax and citronella oil. You can also add additional scents like citrus or peppermint to make it more pleasing.
Most insects hate the smell of substances that smell good to us! One example is mint, which repels most bugs and insects. Use a mint mouthwash to spray over the areas requiring bug protection and reapply in a short while when the effect seems to wear off.
A pomander is a lovely way to get rid of bugs and get your home to smell great at the same time. Take a sweet smelling orange and stud it all over with cloves. You can make it look pretty by making a pattern with the cloves and tying it up with ribbon. Hang it where you like and watch it work its magic! Look up an easy recipe to make your own pomander in this post.
8. Soap Water
Here’s an easy trick to trap pesky little bugs and flies: Fill a dish with a solution of water and dish washing liquid and some sugar. Place a tea light nearby, to attract the bugs that’ll enter the water but be trapped by the layer of detergent on top of it.
9. Pantry Staples
There are many things in your kitchen that’ll help repel insects. Cut cucumber slices, powdered cinnamon or cloves, pepper, chilli powder, garlic and mint are all effective in keeping bugs at bay. Different things work for different insects, so trial and error is the way to go here!
10. Stagnant Water
This is a preventive method to avoid the bugs from coming home in the first place! Keep your house and garden clean and dry, and get rid of any spot that might collect stagnant water, like flower pots, coconut shells, empty buckets and the like. Extra care needs to be taken before the rainy season begins, so that you’re well protected in advance.
While these are safe and natural ways to keep bugs away, it is important to take adequate precautions when using essential oils, especially with children around the house. They may be contraindicated for infants, pregnant women, seniors and people with allergies, so check before using. The best way is to go for the simplest options first like fans, and then move on to the more complicated ones like using oils. An organized step by step approach will help to keep you and your family safe from bugs, without hurting the environment!