When it comes to summer bugs, I have no chill. Instead, I get aggravated, irritated, and annoyed when a swarm of gnats interrupts a perfect hike, mosquitoes eat me alive, and ticks appear in between my toes. (Gross!) So, what can you do about my number one grievance with summer? PLENTY. We are no longer powerless, and I will break down eight different ways to get a handle on summer bugs before they swarm your paradise. Summer bugs, begone!
1. Bug Spray (vs. Repellant)
The first way to keep bugs out of your cabin is to make sure you are protected outside so a summer bug doesn’t piggyback all the way home. Any time you go outside, you want to spray spray spray this summer! Now, for those readers who love to go au naturale when possible (I’m with you), I HAVE to share that you want to stick with something traditional like OFF Bug Spray instead of falling for the essential oils repellant. Essential oils bug repellant has been debunked as an effective method of keeping you safe. Instead, opt for the traditional stuff for protection against critters like mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers, and gnats.
2. Physical Barriers: Install Window Screens, Re-Caulk, & Mosquito Netting
This may seem obvious, but make it part of your summertime checklist to double-check some key structural components! Keeping mosquitoes, flies, and spiders at bay can start with something as simple as installing or reinstalling holey window screens. Also, ants and other crawlers can be deterred by the simple task of re-sealing the place up. Sometimes, something like a bit of tube of Gorilla Sealant will do the tidying trick.
Another barrier to buggery you might want to consider, depending on your location, is mosquito netting. I like to do this for the kids’ bedroom to ensure they are completely protected in the humid, hot months. Go for something whimsical like this light-up mosquito netting.
3. Your Compost Pile Might Be Attracting Summer Bugs
With so many housekeeping projects, prevention starts with basic check-ins. An often overlooked bug prevention measure is making sure your compost and other waste, like a trash or recycling bin, is at an appropriate distance from your home. I like to keep my compost pile at least 25-feet away.
4. Termite Prevention
Treat the outside of your home with a simple anti-termite spray. Protect your cabin from these summer bugs that thrive in the heat. I love this guide to help you find the termite spray that is right for your family. I like Bora Care for natural wood structures.
If your home is a cabin, the best thing you can do is take care of your cabin year-round to make sure the wood doesn’t get too wet and rot. A great way to take care of wooden log cabins includes staining, which I break down in my Painted Cabins article you can read here. Now, remember that termites are not often an issue, but you want to vigilantly look out for them, especially if you are in a classic log cabin. Still, have questions or concerns about an infestation? It is always best to call a professional.
5. The Peppermint Trick for Summer Bugs
There are so many natural uses to keep summer bugs outside and far away from where they belong. In my previous article, I discussed getting a spray bottle and some peppermint extract or soap, like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap, and spray the entrances of doors and windowsills. Ants, ticks, mosquitoes, and many other summer bugs, HATE peppermint. Whether using real leaves or multipurpose soap, this mint explosion will keep crawlies out of your house and off your edible plants, so use it for your herbs, fruits, and veggie garden. Leave no planter un-spritzed!
6. Try Lavender – Sachets and DIY Candles
Like peppermint, lavender is another EXCELLENT, wholly natural, and organic summer bug stopper! I love lavender because you can naturally incorporate it into your home without feeling like a dramatic scent intruder like old-fashioned mothballs in your grandmother’s coat closet.
Fun ways to use lavender: have bouquets in mason jars in major gathering spaces like the kitchen and living room. Tuck lavender sachet packets under all pillows or make some for the bathrooms.
DIY Sachets: Make cute lavender sachet packets by getting little fabric mesh baggies, and mix lavender buds with rice in a 1:2 ratio.
7. Wipe Surfaces & ‘Sills with Citrus To Combat Summer Bugs
I love this tip because you can eat oranges for a snack and then use the peels before adding them to your compost pile. It is such a high-yield win! That’s right, by the way. If you directly use an orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit peel to wipe down surfaces and windowsills, you will repel ants, mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and other summer bugs.
If you aren’t digging the peels, use some citrus juice (all-natural, not Sunny-D) mixed with water to be spritzed about, and then wipe down your surfaces.
8. Make a Soap Flytrap
This isn’t entirely natural unless your dish soap is, but this is an at-home summer bug saver if you have flies in the kitchen. The great news is you use everything that would be in your kitchen cabinet anyway. Fill a mason jar ¾ the way with white vinegar. Add 10 drops of dish soap. The flies and ladybugs will be attracted to the vinegar and then become stuck in the solution. Make sure to clean it out and make it again as necessary.
BONUS: Grow Catnip to Fight Mosquitoes
This tip is new to me from my mother-in-law, and I am excited to see how it turns out! My mother-in-law has a green thumb. Honestly, she can make anything grow. Therefore, I’m unsurprised that her pro-tip on getting summer bugs under control involved growing some roots. Catnip plants keep mosquitoes away, so plant some of these natural fighters in your outdoor gathering spaces, including the backyard patio and near the entryways.
If you have any of your home tips for getting rid of summer bugs, feel free to comment!
For more tips and tricks on natural living and how to prepare your home for the hotter months, check out these articles: