Easy, Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away From Your Yard
Gathering with friends and family for barbecues and backyard parties is a hallmark of summer. But warm weather doesn’t just bring people out — it also brings out pesky little bugs. If mosquitoes, flies, ants or other insects are hindering your backyard fun, try these simple, DIY bug repellent ideas.
One of the best ways to keep bothersome bugs out of your yard is to make sure you aren’t unknowingly attracting them. According to the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, tall grass is a great hangout for adult mosquitoes. Consumer Reports notes ticks also make their home in tall grass because of the shade it provides. In addition to mowing regularly, keep leaves and debris out of the grass so there are fewer places for these critters to hide.
Another surefire way to attract bugs to your yard is with standing water. Mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs on the surface of water, says the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), which means water in pools or ponds is potentially inviting these pests to make a home.
But, large areas with permanent standing water aren’t the only potential mosquito attractions in your yard. Anything that can catch rainwater — a wheelbarrow, a bucket, clogged gutters — is a potential mosquito breeding ground, says HGTV, and should be cleared when possible. You should also avoid over-watering your lawn and fix dripping outdoor faucets, both of which can create pooling water.
Along with keeping your lawn short and limiting standing water in your yard, the Environmental Protection Agency advises that you keep trash covered. This is because common stinging bugs, like yellow jackets, love to rummage in old food, and garbage cans can become a prime spot for them to forage.
If you have taken all the necessary precautions to keep bugs away from your yard but are still pestered by them when the family gets together, there are a few natural ways to help keep bugs away from where people are congregated. These actions include:
- Run a fan: Because mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, they won’t be able to stay in one place long enough to bite if they have to fight against the wind created by a fan, according to Good Housekeeping. HGTV notes that a fan may also help to keep flies away, as they tend not to like breezy conditions.
- Switch out light bulbs: Many bugs are attracted to light and will swarm to bulbs, which are usually where the people are. Consumer Reports suggests using LED or yellow light bulbs around your yard and porch to help prevent this.
- Plant repellents: According to BobVila.com the Mother Nature Network, certain plants act as natural bug repellents. Lemongrass (which is where produces citronella oil comes from), lavender, marigold and rosemary pitcher plants all may help keep mosquitoes away — and may make your landscaping a little nicer, as well.
- Make a DIY trap: If you notice an army of ants invading your space, Hometalk.com suggests making a simple, homemade trap to attract the critters: Place cotton balls soaked in a mixture of water, sugar and borax around your yard to kill the ants.
Don’t let pesky bugs ruin your outdoor gatherings. If you prepare ahead of time and jump to action to keep these critters away from your yard, you can better enjoy the time you spend with friends and family this year.
Originally published on June 23, 2015.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home
View of light wood counter top with pretend ants lined up next to a silver bowl full of apples.
Voiceover: Have a few unwanted house guests? Learn how to rid your house of pesky ants.
Title Card appears: How to: Get rid of ants in your home
Shows clock with text: 5 minutes
Voiceover: All you need is a bowl, measuring cups and spoons, sugar, borax, rubber kitchen gloves and cotton balls. From start to finish, it will take you about five minutes.
Graphic: A list of all the materials needed appears, showing a bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons, powdered sugar, borax rubber gloves and cotton balls
Cut to a shot of a bowl sitting on a kitchen counter. A hand pours in the water, powdered sugar, and 3 tablespoons of borax then mixes it all up.
Voiceover: Pull on your rubber kitchen gloves, and mix one and a half cups of warm water, a half cup of sugar and one and a half tablespoon of borax, and stir until dissolved. Adjust these ratios, depending on how much you want to make.
Cut to an above shot of the bowl as a hand enters frame holding a bunch of cotton balls. The cotton balls are then placed into the solution. Hands then set timer, shaped like an apple, to five minutes, and place it next to the bowl.
Voiceover: Place a handful of cotton balls into the bowl, and let them soak for five minutes.
The gloved hands place cotton balls near the bowl of apples, on a white near a covered blue butter dish and on a table next to a fan.
Graphic pops up warning to keep the soaked cotton balls away from children and pets, and to throw them out when you’re done.
Voiceover: Place the soaked cotton balls around your home in the areas where you’ve seen ants. The mixture will attract and kill the ants. Don’t place the cotton balls in areas where children and pets can get them. And remember to throw the cotton balls away once they’ve done the job.
We see the materials needed for this hack dance across a wooden countertop as the video ends.
Voiceover: Well done! Those ants didn’t stand a chance.
Cut to Allstate logo and links to source materials.