Bugs are part of the outdoor experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to be their constant prey. Regular bug sprays are often pungent, sticky, expensive and filled with suspect ingredients. There are many natural ways to get bugs to back off, and all of them involve a visit to your pantry. That’s right, common household foods can compel bugs to fly in the opposite direction.
As soon as you notice a bite, slice a raw onion and press over the bitten area, releasing the juices. This reduces the itch and pulls the fluids out. Rubbing onion over your skin also repels the bugs to start with. This trick works best with fresh slices. Rub a new raw slice on a bite several times a day to make it disappear completely. This works well for wasps, bees, ants and spiders too
Dairy can sooth burns, which is especially useful if you have overexposed your skin to the sun without protection. Milk also soothes the itch bug bites cause. Stop yourself from going crazy by applying a little milk paste. All you need to do is mix one part powdered milk with two parts water and a pinch or two of salt. Dab this mixture onto the burn or bite. The enzymes present in the milk help neutralize the insect venom and also provide relief to the pain caused by sunburn. Similarly applying fuller fat yoghurts can also offer some relief.
Salt is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and can provide great relief to mosquito or chigger bites. Soaking the affected area in salt water offers much relief. Apply a layer of lard or vegetable oil after. You will feel a burning sensation initially but after this the sting subsides. If you live on the coast, taking a swim in the sea helps too as the seawater has a natural salt presence. Plus swimming has vast health benefits.
Not only does this fragrant bulb inject your food with flavor, but it can scare away the bugs. This solution requires a bit of forethought and is a great way to repel bugs in the wild, perfect for camping trips and a hiking trip. Begin by ingesting garlic cloves for several days. You will sweat out the garlic, releasing a garlic odor that will make sure the insects stay away. Keeping some gum or mouthwash on hand helps keep your breath garlic free.
Orange and Lemon Peels
Some people might be put off by the idea of rubbing onions over their skin. For a more pleasant odor but equally effective bug repellant, you can also try using orange or lemon peels. While this scent is aromatic to people, mosquitos and gnats are completely repulsed by the scent and will leave you alone for the evening.
Any still body of water can be a mosquito breeding grounds. This doesn’t mean you have to empty your garden’s bird bath. Adding a few drops of vegetable oil to the water surface keeps the mosquitos from turning your bath into a mosquito baby factory. Just in case I recommend changing the water twice a week to prevent any larvae from having time to hatch.
Apple Cider Vinegar
There’s an old army trick whereby consuming one tablespoon three times a day keep ticks and mosquitos at bay. Not so mad about the taste? You can also just apply the vinegar directly to any bites with a cotton ball swab. The acidity removes the urge to scratch, restoring the skin to a natural pH balance. Regular white vinegar also helps but the apple cider variety is less acidic.
Another pleasant smell that bugs really can’t stand is vanilla. This sweet-smelling flower repels mosquitos, blackflies, and ticks. Apply a mixture of one tablespoon vanilla extract diluted with one cup of water directly over your skin and enjoy a bite-free time.