Nothing can spoil a backyard barbecue or summertime picnic faster than an invasion of insects. Follow these four natural tips to help keep your backyard bug-free this summer:
1. Clean up the yard. Keep your lawn mowed and your landscaping neat and trimmed to limit the places where bugs can hide and breed. Be on the lookout for any standing water in old pots, garbage cans or other containers, as these can be a breeding ground, especially for mosquitoes. Use sand to dry out any damp areas that may occur under decks or near outdoor faucets.
2. Use essential oils. Take advantage of the bug-repelling power of aromatic essential oils, including peppermint, citronella and lemongrass. Use an oil-based bug spray or consider adding essential oil-fueled torches or candles to your backyard to keep bugs at bay. Vitacost.com carries a variety of natural solutions, such as EcoSmart Organic Insect Repellent.
3. Spice things up. When it comes to ants, certain spices may be an antidote. Cinnamon and chili powder can be especially helpful — just sprinkle these spices on your lawn or create a barrier around your yard, deck or picnic area to keep ants from crashing the party. If you already have ant mounds in your yard, boiling water or mint tea can help kill the colony.
4. Keep pets protected. Don’t forget your pet! Discourage mosquitoes and fleas from feeding on your pets (and hitching a ride into your house) by using natural products made especially for cats and dogs, such as a garlic wafers or essential oil sprays.