Easy, Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away From Your Yard
Gathering with friends and family for barbecues and backyard parties is a hallmark of summer.
But the summer doesn’t just bring people out — it also brings out pesky little bugs. If mosquitoes, flies, ants or other annoying insects are hindering your backyard fun, try these easy, DIY bug repellent ideas.
One of the best ways to keep bothersome bugs out of your yard is to make sure you aren’t unknowingly attracting them. According to the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, tall grass is the ideal hangout for unwanted bugs like mosquitoes. Consumer Reports notes ticks will also make their home in tall grass because of the shade it provides. In addition to mowing regularly, keep leaves and debris out of the grass so there is nowhere for these critters to hide.
Another surefire way to attract bugs to your yard is with standing water. Mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs on the surface of water, says the American Mosquito Control Association, which means water in pools or ponds are potentially inviting these pests to make a home.
But, large areas with permanent standing water aren’t the only potential mosquito attractions in your yard. Anything that can catch rainwater — a wheelbarrow, a bucket, clogged gutters — is a potential mosquito breeding ground, says HGTV, and should be cleared when possible. You should also avoid over-watering your lawn and fix dripping outdoor faucets, both of which can create puddles.
Along with keeping your lawn short and limiting standing water in your yard, Consumer Reports advises that you keep trash covered. This is because common stinging bugs, like yellow jackets and bees, love to rummage in old food, and if they find a place that has it, they may make a nest or hive.
If you have taken all the necessary precautions to keep bugs away from your yard but are still pestered by them when the family gets together, there are a few natural ways to keep bugs away from where people are congregated. These actions include:
Run a fan: Because mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, they won’t be able to stay in one place long enough to bite if they have to fight against the wind created by a fan, according to Good Housekeeping. Additionally, the New York Times explains that fans move around odors and carbon dioxide in the air, which can interrupt the trail mosquitoes and other bugs may follow to find you.
Switch out light bulbs: Many bugs are attracted to light and will swarm to bulbs, which are usually where the people are. Consumer Reports suggests using LED or yellow light bulbs around your yard and porch to help prevent this. According to Good Housekeeping, these types of lights won’t attract insects.
Plant repellents: According to the Mother Nature Network, certain plants act as natural bug repellents. Lemongrass (which produces citronella), lavender, marigold and pitcher plants all may help keep mosquitoes away — and may make your landscaping a little nicer, as well.
Use citronella: If you don’t have room to plant natural repellents, Mother Earth Living says citronella candles or torches can be purchased for a fairly low price. With the torches, simply fill the canisters with oil about 20 minutes before you plan to light them so the wick can get good and soaked. For candles, adds Mother Earth Living, buy the ones made of soy wax, not paraffin, as the latter could cause respiratory problems.
Make a DIY trap: If you notice an army of ants invading your space, Good Housekeeping suggests making a simple, homemade trap to attract the critters: Place cotton balls soaked in a mixture of water, sugar and borax around your yard to kill the ants. This may also kill other unwanted pests, says BeyondPesticides.org, such as termites, silverfish, various beetles and cockroaches.
Don’t let pesky bugs ruin you summer outdoor gatherings. If you take the right precautions and jump to action to keep these critters away from your yard, you can better enjoy the time you spend with friends and family this summer.
Originally published on June 23, 2015.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home
View of light wood counter top with pretend ants lined up next to a silver bowl full of apples.
Voiceover: Have a few unwanted house guests? Learn how to rid your house of pesky ants.
Title Card appears: How to: Get rid of ants in your home
Shows clock with text: 5 minutes
Voiceover: All you need is a bowl, measuring cups and spoons, sugar, borax, rubber kitchen gloves and cotton balls. From start to finish, it will take you about five minutes.
Graphic: A list of all the materials needed appears, showing a bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons, powdered sugar, borax rubber gloves and cotton balls
Cut to a shot of a bowl sitting on a kitchen counter. A hand pours in the water, powdered sugar, and 3 tablespoons of borax then mixes it all up.
Voiceover: Pull on your rubber kitchen gloves, and mix one and a half cups of warm water, a half cup of sugar and one and a half tablespoon of borax, and stir until dissolved. Adjust these ratios, depending on how much you want to make.
Cut to an above shot of the bowl as a hand enters frame holding a bunch of cotton balls. The cotton balls are then placed into the solution. Hands then set timer, shaped like an apple, to five minutes, and place it next to the bowl.
Voiceover: Place a handful of cotton balls into the bowl, and let them soak for five minutes.
The gloved hands place cotton balls near the bowl of apples, on a white near a covered blue butter dish and on a table next to a fan.
Graphic pops up warning to keep the soaked cotton balls away from children and pets, and to throw them out when you’re done.
Voiceover: Place the soaked cotton balls around your home in the areas where you’ve seen ants. The mixture will attract and kill the ants. Don’t place the cotton balls in areas where children and pets can get them. And remember to throw the cotton balls away once they’ve done the job.
We see the materials needed for this hack dance across a wooden countertop as the video ends.
Voiceover: Well done! Those ants didn’t stand a chance.
Cut to Allstate logo and links to source materials.