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Summer Buggin': How to Keep the Mosquitoes at Bay

Summer Buggin': How to Keep the Mosquitoes at Bay

Summer Buggin': How to Keep the Mosquitoes at Bay

Ah, the joys of summer: Sunny days, sprinklers in the yard... and itchy, itchy bug bites.

Yep, there is always a downside to each season. Summer’s bummer is all the mosquitoes that come out to lunch on us as we try to enjoy long, languid days outside.

But before we vilify the buggers too much, we should tip our hats to their role in our ecosystem. They do, after all, feed fish and act as pollinators.

That’s about the only nice things that can be said about those pesky buggers. The fact that they carry diseases — including the West Nile virus that is now being identified in the Midwest — makes them an easy target for our grumbling.


I want them dead,” says Circle of Moms member Jenn H. in the Debating Mums community, without mincing words. “No love for the mosquito.”

She’s not alone in her loathing. In Pinellas County, Florida alone, nearly $4 million is slated for public mosquito control programs this year, according to the website Can you imagine what we spend nationwide?

But what about your own backyard? How can you keep your kids from getting eaten alive?

For some of us, mosquito control actually starts in the kitchen.

Garlic naturally repels insects,” advises Constance.

“Last summer my sister's husband cooked with garlic in everything. She said that she may have smelled like garlic the whole time. At  least she wasn't being bitten. I have been cooking with garlic lately because I also have a really bad reaction to mosquito bites.  My entire arm will swell up, and Lily (my daughter) and I haven't been bitten yet,” she explains.

Krista E. is another mom who uses garlic to keep the mosquitoes away.

“Evidently if you spray your yard and house with it (garlic oil), the mosquitoes (and ticks) will stay the h*ll away. The smell dissipates quickly for humans, but those bugs can smell it for about a month or so. My husband’s cousin tried it just on their deck just to see and said that they could actually see the mosquitoes flying toward them and then turning around.”

If garlic's not your ticket, there are other natural scents known for repelling the pesky insects.

Iris P uses tea tree oil: "Just a drop and mix it with water, then either spray it on or apply it on the skin with cotton pads,” she shares. And Stephanie W. concurs: “Mix a few drops [of tea tree oil] with water and spray or rub onto skin. It's kind of strong smelling, but it keeps the bugs off. I use it while camping and everyone makes fun of me for smelling like it, but pretty soon, after many bug bites, they all end up using it too,” she writes in the Breastfeeding Moms community.

“After working out in my huge rosemary bush, I’ve noticed I don’t get eaten by bugs. So I guess rosemary oil is a good one too,” posts Kate C.

“We always ate a lot of dill pickles and that kept them off us,” reports Barb S. (She doesn't say whether it's the garlic or the dill.)

But perhaps the best way to keep mosquitoes at bay is to not give them a place to live and breed: Standing water.

That cute pool your kid loves to play in all summer is a mosquito’s reproductive dream come true.

“I don't leave any standing water in our yard. Empty every children's toy. Look under the deck. Empty that old plastic bucket. (Check your) husband's abandoned tire stack behind the garage. Water stands inside the tires. Remove any and all standing water. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant standing water,” advises Ink E.

Where there is water, there will be mosquitoes...Before we moved, my neighbor in Florida went on vacation and it rained quite a bit while she was gone. She had a planter that filled with water and the mosquitoes swarmed her yard and mine. I actually jumped the fence when I saw what the problem was, so that I could dump the planter, and within about half an hour they were gone,” shares Joy B.

On the other hand, water that's well-placed can be to your advantage.

“Get a strong plastic Ziploc bag and fill it with water. Hang it somewhere in the yard. The mosquitoes will be drawn to that and leave you alone. You might want to do this with several bags,” shares Sara H.

And it might not be fashionable, but there is an old Boy Scout trick that seems to keep bugs away: dryer sheets.

Dryer sheets just being in the vicinity would keep them away, probably because of all the chemicals that are toxic,” writes Dana S.

Bottom line: As Joy B. says, “There is no way to totally prevent mosquitoes." When you're outside, you're in their territory. But you can limit your exposure.

Donna N. advises covering up by wearing "long sleeves and long pants in light colors" plus"closed shoes to keep toes from being eaten." 

And the best prevention? "Don’t go outside at dawn or dusk.”

Image Source: dr_relling via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
LindaVenter82727 LindaVenter82727 6 years
I have heard that detol rubbed on exposed skin works ...have not had an opportunity to try.
ColleenGamache ColleenGamache 6 years
I have to laugh at the garlic because mosquitoes suck your blood and so do vampires lol so it keeps both of them blood suckers away. just having a little hummor. not meant to upset anyone.
GLADYSGarnett29975 GLADYSGarnett29975 6 years
wow its helpful it's been my problem especially in my place which has lots of it and to think i've been actively & prayin to remove that mosquitoes away from my place...
PaulSnyder PaulSnyder 6 years
The best, and relatively unknown repellant is Avon's "Skin- So-Soft" bath oil. The smell is pleasant and it works very well. - Paul in Miami.
MarcyMurray32873 MarcyMurray32873 6 years
Taking a B- complex vitamin can also make you less tasty! If you smell the bottle, you will know why!
CharliForbess CharliForbess 6 years
We use real vanilla at our house to keep the bugs a bay...but i wouldnt suggest if you dont like flies...they tend to like you a bit more...but for active kiddos, a little vanilla on pulse points and they are good to go!
JayneKeegan JayneKeegan 6 years
Many herbs will repel mosquitoes as effectively as synthetic repellants such as DEET.Catnip,basil,lemon eucalyptus,neem,cinnamon,lavender,lemongrass,pennyroyal,citronella,and wintergreen are just a few.You can apply homemade mosquito repellant to your body,plant mosquito-fighting herbs around your home,and burn herbal candles,incense,and use herb bundles in a firepit or barbeque,as well.
JaneSlaight80342 JaneSlaight80342 6 years
This MiMi is so proud to have read this article and will be trying some if not all these treatments!
CrystalMulkey CrystalMulkey 6 years
i have been told to go and buy garlic pellets... i havent had the chance to do it yet, but i did put a whole jar of minced garlic around my daughter's sandbox. she went from having about 10 mosquitioes on her to only 2 or 3. to be fair i live with my husband and our roommate and they are both machanics and have tons of stuff everywhere in the back yard so it's a losing battle trying to get all the standing water out..
I wouldn't rub a dryer sheet on my skin and definately not on my chcildren, dryer sheets contain a lot of chemicals. Tea Tree Oil is a natural repellant and be applied directly onto your skin. Sol-U-Mel contains Tea Tree Oil and is easy to use you spray it on your skin, on your clothes, and also pets. Sol-U-Mel is an excellent product and has other uses besides an insect repellant. if you would like to know where you can get some message me at or call at 416-265-3947
LindaShumate37181 LindaShumate37181 6 years
I've kept hearing about how Avon's skin so soft original lotion repels mosquitoes, so, finally, i tried it. It really does work, much to my surprise!!!!! smells good too!!!! I''m no longer the "all you can eat" buffet for mosquitoes!!!! My kids are grown, but, I put it on my 2yr. old grandson and he remains bite free!!!
ReginaDavis23494 ReginaDavis23494 6 years
You can plant marygolds ... they hate marygolds.
LindseyPalmberg LindseyPalmberg 6 years
Thanks for the great advice... cuz they love me and i ahte staying indoors just becasue of them!!! im gonna try as many til i find which works best for me and my kids! thanks everyone fr your input and advice too!!!!!
CoriMiller CoriMiller 6 years
We used dryer sheets in marching band in college. We had practice midday and didn't want to smell like bug spray going to our afternoon classes. One sheet can last for a few days. Rub it all over your skin and clothes and save it for another day. Or use one sheet for your whole family. It doesn't have to be wasteful.
YalanaTuten YalanaTuten 6 years
I was wondering what to do because my oldest is allergic to store-bought repellants.
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