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Simple tips to keep bugs at bay

Summer is here, and with it comes warm weather, lazy days at the beach, afternoons by the pool and entertaining in the backyard. But heading outdoors also means walking into a world of bugs, and those pesky gnats, mosquitoes and flies can quickly ruin an evening. Keep those bugs at bay with these simple tips.

Woman getting bitten by bug

We’ve all been there. The weather is nice and you’re relaxing outside, until suddenly you’re caught off guard by a burning sting.

Insects seem to have a natural tendency to ruin even the nicest summer day. We’ve collected a few ideas to help you fight back.




As summer weather becomes hot and humid, mosquitoes begin to rear their heads. They swarm together, biting and feeding on anything they can sink their snouts into. Considering these nasty insects can also carry disease, use these tips to ensure they’re not biting into you.

Ways to bite back:

  • Fans: Mosquitoes can only fly in still air, so if you keep a fan on it will keep them at bay by circulating the air around you.
  • Plants: Create a pretty border of marigolds around your patio, windows, doorways, patio table and in your bedroom to keep mosquitoes away. They hate the smell because the plant contains a natural insect repellent called pyrethrum.
  • Garlic: This common seasoning contains the natural insect repellent sulfur. Place garlic cloves or powder around your patio to create a barrier. Applying smashed garlic to an insect bite will help to take away the sting.
  • Vodka: Create a small insect “cocktail” by saturating a cluster of basil within four ounces of water. Strain out the liquid before adding four ounces of vodka, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray as needed.
  • Drain: Mosquitoes are attracted to damp environments and climates, so check your outdoor space for any stagnant water that might lure them in. Drain any water that collects within planters or pots, and as a general landscaping tip, do your best to level out the soil to prevent puddles from pooling in your yard.



Outdoor dining and picnics are a prize for those feisty ants. A simple crumb or morsel becomes an invitation for them to join your party for a picnic of their very own. Here are a few everyday items that can stop these industrious little pests.

Ways to bite back:

  • Draw the line: When dining outdoors, sprinkle talcum powder, chalk or salt around points of entry like doors and windows. In general, these substances are natural repellents; however, please note that salt actually attracts the ants and makes them thirsty, leading them to drink until they die. Use caution with this method. If you are not near water, you may actually create an ant problem, rather than prevent it.
  • Build a moat: To keep ants from climbing up to the table, fill small plastic containers with water and put one under each of the legs. Any ants that make it over the top of the containers will soon find themselves swimming, unable to reach the table leg.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies

Aside from flying around our homes and annoying us, here’s a gross factoid about fruit flies: One little fruit fly can lay up to 400 eggs during their approximately 30-day lifespan. Makes you cringe, doesn’t it?

Ways to bite back:

  • Compost: These flies are attracted to rotting produce, so keep your compost materials within a sealed bin, and empty the bin regularly. Check produce regularly to monitor its composition, and discard anything rotting as soon as you find it.
  • Serve them drinks: If you find yourself with a fruit fly problem, you can lure these pests into a trap with some red wine or vinegar. Pour a small amount into a dish, and then add a few pieces of fruit to the liquid. Use plastic wrap to cover the dish, and poke a few holes across the top to allow the flies access. The scent will attract the flies to the trap, and they will struggle to escape once inside.

More outdoor entertaining tips

Create an outdoor entertaining space
Fun outdoor games for the whole family
10 Must-haves for outdoor entertaining

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