The summer solstice arrives this weekend. Let the fun begin! But while the beginning of summer brings an abundance of lively outdoor activities, it also brings more bugs. Luckily for me, those pesky biting ones (I’m talking about you, mosquitoes) only find me moderately tasty, but they adore my hubby and two of our boys. After a baseball game, all three of them will inevitably end up itching for days.
My aversion to DEET runs as deep as the next guy’s, but I admit there’ve been times when it seemed like using it was the only way to keep those biters away. According to the National Institutes of Health, other so-called natural insect repellents that rely on pyrethrins, a pesticide created from chrysanthemum flowers, can cause problems as well. So I’m always looking for “tried and true” nontoxic options that will send those bugs buzzing in the other direction—and take their mosquito-borne illnesses with them.
The citronella incense sticks I tried on our deck were fairly effective…as long as we kept within the radius of the wafting smoke. But we can hardly carry a burning incense stick with us wherever we go. Another idea I recently read about is planting potted lemongrass to deter bugs from hanging around. Still, I’m not so sure how my boys would feel about hauling a potted plant around to their summer evening activities. It just might hinder their ability to round third base when it counts most.
This recipe for homemade insect repellant from the book Little House in the Suburbs, by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin, also sounds promising. I just haven’t gathered up the ingredients yet, and their suggestion to reapply every 30 minutes may not always be possible.
What’s been the most effective, nontoxic, and portable keep-the-bugs-away trick you’ve ever used?
Photo from iStock/TinkerJulie