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How to Repel Bugs Naturally (and Cheaply)

Posted on 5/22/2013 15:12 EST

Mosquitoes and fleas and wasps... oh my! Insects are a major drawback of the summer months but there are simple and cheap ways to repel bugs naturally. We've compiled a life of tips and DIY projects that can minimize the ick factor this season.

DIY bug repellent.

To cut costs, repel bugs naturally by making your own bug spray and lotion. Aside from the gratification of doing it yourself, you're sure to benefit from the chemical-free composition.

Photo by Gucio_55/Shutterstock

Ingredients needed for a bug-repellent lotion bar include coconut oil; shea, coconut, or mango butter; beeswax; dried rosemary leaves; dried whole cloves; dried or fresh thyme; cinnamon powder; dried catnip; and mint leaf. The instructions at Wellness Mama are a bit time-consuming, but don't let that deter you.

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An easier (but possibly less effective) way to keep the bugs away is DIY bug spray, with directions courtesy of the same site. Simply boil a cup of water and add a tablespoon each of peppermint, spearmint, catnip, and lavender and a few cloves. Once the mixture has cooled, strain out the herbs and add a cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol and pour into a spray bottle. Store the brew in the refrigerator.

Need a quick fix way to repel bugs naturally? Mix vanilla and witch hazel and use as a spray; apply lavender oil to your skin; rub any type of mint (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, etc.) leaves over your body.

Homemade citronella candles.

Barbecues are a summer essential, but mosquitoes can turn this pastime into a nightmare. Rather than rushing to the store for an antidote, repel bugs naturally with DIY citronella candles. To get started you'll need safe-to-melt wax, crayons, containers (for melting the wax), wicks, citronella oil, spoon, thermometer, old jars, letter stickers, and hot glue. To make the citronella candles, heat water to 140 degrees, add wax and stir (adding in crayons gives the wax a nice color), add then citronella oil. Attach a wick to the bottom of each jar and pour in the melted wax (leave some wick showing), and let cool.

Create a wasp trap.

A little creativity (with a soda bottle) can save you lots of money and keep you from getting stung. To make a wasp trap, slice off the neck of a plastic soda bottle, turn it upside down, place the inverted neck into the opening, and secure in place with duct tape. For bait, mix sugar and water and smear petroleum jelly or cooking oil along the steep inner sides of the trap. Hang it from a tree and watch the wasps swarm its way.

Photo by sxc.hu/gorand1983

Use household products to get rid of ants and fleas.

Inevitably, ants find their way through every crevice in your home every time summer rolls around. To repel these bugs naturally, sprinkle cinnamon over the areas they seem to be coming from, along the back edges of kitchen counters, and around the cabinets. If cinnamon doesn't do the trick, try this recipe: 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons boric acid, and 3 cups warm water. Combine the ingredients in a jar, put some cotton inside the lid of a jar and saturate it with the mixture; leave on the counter and the ants will find it, drink up, and bring the "goodness" back to their nest.

Repel fleas naturally from carpet and upholstery by sprinkling on some baking soda before vacuuming. If you own a pet, bathe it in sea salt water dressed up with rosemary and skip the pricey flea medications.

Avoid salty or high-potassium foods and drink apple cider vinegar.

If you eat foods containing large amounts of salt and potassium, your body will produce more lactic acid and a scent that attracts insects. Staying away from salty and high-potassium foods repels bugs naturally and helps make mosquito bites a thing of the past.

To deter ticks and mosquitoes, down one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and include garlic in your diet. The addition of vitamin B1 to your morning routine might help repel pesky bugs, as well.

by Alyssa Goldman (Google+ Profile)

Filed in: DIY, Medicine, Outdoors, Summer
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