4 easy ways to repel bugs
Ah, the great outdoors: sun a-shining, breeze a-blowing and bugs a-buzzing. Our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski, shows you how to keep the pests at bay.
Photography by Donna Griffith
Begin by assessing the problem areas in your yard
Tall grass and standing water attract mosquitoes, so don’t get lazy with the mower, and stay on top of any pooling water. Empty and refill bird baths daily, fill the saucers of potted plants with sand and populate ponds with mosquito-eating fish. (No need to be concerned about your pool; the chlorine will effectively deter bugs.)
Though insects are known to love flora, some plants will actually discourage them. Add anti-bug herbs like lemon balm and rosemary to your garden, strategically placing them around the areas where people gather. Another great option is a citronella bush, which is synonymous with natural insect control–but practice caution and plant it out of the way, as the leaves can cause skin irritation if they tear.
A low dose of Deet (the industry’s go-to insect-repelling substance) provides effective protection with minimal chemical exposure. Great outdoors Family Defense Insect Repellent Pump Spray, J.R. Watkins, $11.
A plant-based option from a trusted brand, this non-greasy cream is light on your skin but a heavy-hitter with insects. Off! Familycare Botanicals Insect Repellent Lotion, available at mass retailers, $10.
Rub this goat’s milk bar on your pulse points (your body heat will release the scent of the essential oils it contains) or, for heightened protection, use it as a shower soap before heading outside. Natural Bug Repellent bars, Beekman 1802, $15 US per pack of 10.
Arrange a set of decorative lanterns like Crate and Barrel’s Petalumas in your seating area. Fill with natural citronella candles to create an ambient bug-free zone. From $45 each.
Tip: To keep the cook happy, throw a few sprigs of rosemary on the hot coals of the barbecue. It will not only infuse your food with a savoury flavour but also scent the air with an aroma that wards off bugs.