Buzzzzzzz. Swat! Yep. It’s that time of year again. The insects are back with a vengeance, thanks to our mild winter and torrential rains. I must exude tons of carbon dioxide because I attract pesky buffalo gnats in droves. My neighbor has learned to sit next to me as he knows they’ll attack me first and he’ll be in the clear. You could spray yourself with poison or lounge around in a full body net. Since I’m a fan of neither, I searched high and low and discovered a few non-toxic anti-beast remedies I’ll be trying this summer.


Buffalo Gnats

BANANA BOAT SPORT SUNSCREEN: Evidently, it’s the one in an orange bottle. They say it’s worked for everyone who tried it in Natchez, Mississippi.


VANILLA: Not the cheap imitation stuff. Pure vanilla. Dilute with water in a spray bottle and spritz away. Must reapply throughout the day.

FABRIC SHEETS AND SOFTENERS: Tuck the sheets in your pockets. Wipe yourself down with them. Pin them to your hat or cap. One gentleman mixes liquid fabric softener with water in a sprayer and sprays his yard. Said it worked for about a week.



MOSQUITE MASH: In a glass jar, combine ½ cup of vodka, 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh basil (1 teaspoon if dried) and 1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces. Steep concoction for 2 weeks, then add ½ teaspoon of lavender essential oil and stir. Rub mixture onto exposed body parts, keep it away from your eyes. NOT for human consumption!


MEOW MIX: Ellen Sandbeck, author of Green Housekeeping (Scribner, 2008), recommends catnip as a natural mosquito repellent. You can purchase it in oil form or grow your own. She recommends mixing 1-2 drops of catnip oil with 1 Tablespoon of olive or jojoba oil, applying it to exposed areas.


LAVENDER LOTION: Add 1 teaspoon of lavender essential oil to 1 cup of unscented hand lotion. Stir until blended. Apply to exposed areas, avoiding the eye and mouth areas.


REPEL WITH PEEL: Rub exposed skin with orange or lemon peels. Mosquitos hate citrus.


Hopefully these options will keep pests at bay the natural way! Know of other tried and true home remedies? Send them to


More Tips For What Bugs You

Keep bugs out of your soda cans: Cover top of soda can with foil, then poke a straw through.

Keep bugs out of your pantry: Place a few sticks of mint-flavored gum (wrapped or unwrapped) inside.

Keep bugs out of your yard: Chop 1 small onion and 1 head garlic, mix with 4 cups water, 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper, and 1 Tablespoon dish soap. Spray around decks or places where humans lounge.

Keep aphids away from plants: Chop onion, add 1 cup water. Puree until liquid. Place in sprayer and mist plants.

Keep Japanese beetles away from roses: Dust entire plant with self-rising flour.


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