Ditch the Bug Zappers, Try This Instead

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It’s summer, your garden is blooming, and you are anxious to host weekend outdoor parties and show off your beautiful patio and yard, but… you live in an area where mosquitoes are like vicious sharks, seemingly waiting in the air to attack. Perhaps you have tried those noisy bug zappers that annoyingly let you know every time they annihilate a flying pest (some of which are not bad pests, either).  Between the annoyance and guilt, it may be time to try something more natural to keep the unwanted guests from crashing your party. Here are a few great options.

The good news is, there are several natural tactics that you can employ to keep mosquitoes at bay while preserving the night fliers who cause more good than harm. Combining a few of these non-toxic methods should result in an outdoor space that you can truly enjoy.

Organic mosquito away yard spray

Spraying your yard and any grassy area with this easy-to-make, minty-smelling, organic solution will repel mosquitoes for several weeks at a time. 

What you need

  • 2 spray bottles (24 oz)
  • Spoon
  • Big bowl
  • Funnel
  • 16 oz bottle of minty mouthwash
  • 3 cups lavender and eucalyptus-scented Epsom salt
  • 3 stale beers

How to make it

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until Epsom salt dissolves
  2. Use the funnel to pour into spray bottles
  3. Spray all around your yard and patio – especially in areas where you plan to entertain.

Note: This solution will not harm grass but should not be sprayed directly on flowering plants.

Mosquito repellent bands

If you live in an area where mosquitoes are bothersome on a low scale level, these bands will work great. As a bonus, you can give them to your guests as a party favor they can take home with them.

What you need

  • 2 different colors of paracord (54 inches of each color)
  • Paracord bracelet clip
  • Clean and sharp scissors
  • Lighter
  • Spray bottle
  • 1 cup of witch hazel
  • 15 drops citronella essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops lemongrass essential oil

How to make it

  1. Fuse the two pieces of paracord together by lightly burning each end and pushing them together.
  2. Met the opposite ends of the cord slightly using a lighter so that they do not unravel.
  3. Put the cord through one side of the clip and make a loop to secure it.
  4. Put the other end of the cord through the other side of the clip.
  5. Put the bracelet on your wrist so that you can make it the right size.
  6. Unclasp the bracelet and hold the loose clasp in place so that you can make it the right size.
  7. Decide which of the two colors you would like to be in the center of the bracelet design. Loop that piece of cord over the top of the cords. The other color will go over, under, and through the first cord. Pull the cords tight.
  8. Repeat the above step, looping the first cord on the opposite side first. Repeat alternate sides until you get to the end of the bracelet.
  9. Cut off any excess cord and use a lighter to melt the ends so that they don’t unravel.
  10. Combine the witch hazel and essential oils in a spray bottle and shake.
  11. Spray both sides of the bracelet and let it dry.
  12. Repeat when the bracelet begins to lose its aroma.

Mosquito be-gone balm

This hard-working and organic balm not only repels mosquitoes but all biting flies and bees. Dab on a little before you go out to work in your garden and stay protected for hours at a time.

What you need

  • Small, clean glass containers with lids
  • 30 drops citronella essential oil
  • 25 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 25 drops lavender essential oil
  • 25 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 6 ounces unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 ounces shea butter
  • 1 ½ ounces beeswax

How to make it

  1. Heat coconut oil along with shea butter and beeswax in a double boiler. 
  2. Stir well to combine as it melts.
  3. Once the mixture is melted, transfer it to a glass measuring cup and stir in oils.
  4. Transfer immediately to your glass container.
  5. Apply arms, legs, and behind ears and neck before going outside.

Plant the right stuff

In addition to using the methods above, surround your outdoor entertaining areas with plenty of plants that repel mosquitoes and other unwanted pests. These include.

  • Scented geraniums 
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Floss flower
  • Garlic

Happy outdoor partying!

-Susan Patterson

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