Buzz Off! 10 Ways to Keep the Bugs Away this Summer

by Lauren Caggiano

With warmer temperatures and increased foot traffic, has your home become bug central? (Gross!) Nothing ruins a get together like a creepy crawler parading across your living room. Fear not; there are some precautions you can take to cut down on unwelcome guests like mosquitos and ticks. Show insects who’s boss with these practical tips for outside and inside the home:

1. RETHINK YOUR LANDSCAPING.

While mulch can keep the weeds away, it can provide ideal shelter for pests. You might consider rock or stone to make the area less attractive to bugs. Consult with your landscaper about the best options for your home and budget. As far as plants go, the herb basil and marigold flower give off a scent that bugs find repulsive. Consider planting them near entryways.

2. KEEP UP WITH YOUR LAWN.

Dreading mowing after a long day at work? This factor might motivate you. The longer the grass blade, the more time it takes for the dew to evaporate. These conditions create an ideal habitat for insects. A well-manicured lawn not only looks good; it can keep pests at bay.

3. GET CRAFTY.

Did you know a candle can do double duty? In addition to providing illumination at night, you can tap into the power of aroma to keep those blood suckers away. Citronella candles are easy to make, non-toxic and known for their repellent nature. Place a few candles around your patio or garden and enjoy evening outdoor fun without the hassle of something buzzing in your ear.

4. INSPECT DOORS AND WINDOWS.

Even the smallest gap or hole can provide an entry point for bugs. They are tiny after all. Repair any rips or tears in screens. A storm door can provide an extra layer of protection, too. Plus, it can keep add an extra layer of insulation, keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

5. USE LIGHT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

Color can deter insects. For example, bulbs that have pink, yellow or orange tints tends to turn them off.

6. MIND YOUR SINKS AND DRAINS.

Drains are known to retain gunk and hair, which is welcoming to pests. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos, too. Regularly examine drains for clogs and use a DIY unclogging solution as an alternative to toxic chemicals.

7. KEEP FIDO GROOMED.

Pets, especially dogs, drag in a lot of dirt, pollen and bugs without you realizing it. This is why regular grooming is necessary and important. Bugs can catch a ride in fur coats and enter with the pet. Plus, you don’t want them to contract an insect-borne illness when it could be prevented. If you see a tick on your furry friend, be sure you are taking the proper steps to remove it.

8. EMBRACE A NO-SHOE POLICY.

Just like pets can track in insects, ticks can hitch a ride on your socks and shoes. Have guests remove them in your entryway or mud room before entering the house.

9. KEEP A CLEAN HOME—INSIDE AND OUT.

This one is simple, but very effective. Start by keeping the exterior tidy. Trash and debris are attractive to pests as a feasting ground. Make sure your yard is litter free and trash and recycling bins are tightly sealed.  Attention inside the home is just as important. Clutter is bad for your headspace and your health. That’s because piles can be a breeding ground for bugs. Hidden by piles of paperwork or magazines, insects can reproduce in huge numbers before they're visible. By that point, it's virtually impossible to get rid of them. Keep clutter to a minimum, and you won’t have to worry about calling the exterminator.

10. GO NATURAL.

There are a few tried and true methods for keeping bugs away that won’t harm kids, pets or the planet. Garlic, mint, peppermint, lavender and tea tree essential oils are known to repel bugs. Dilute in water and sprinkle a few drops at entry points.

Your home is your castle so naturally you want to guard it against invaders. A little bit of prevention can go a long way. Here’s to a bug-free summer!

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