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How to Get Rid of Summertime Pests, Naturally

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Some people are naturally sweet – not their personalities, just their blood. A great way to prove this is to invite a work colleague with a superiority complex (or other mortally sworn frenemy) to a lazy-day, summery picnic right next to a stagnant body of water. Yes, that's somewhat evil, but there are certain things we must do in the name of science.

When they ask you why you’re wearing a head-to-toe white turtle neck, stirrup pants and socks in 95 degree heat while they’re wearing dark Daisy Dukes and a black tube top, just tell ‘em that your skin is prone to sunburns. And be sure to wear your contact lenses because the riveting results of your experiment will unfold before your very eyes.

Insects such as blood-hungry female mosquitoes – which love to lay eggs in standing water -- will literally descend upon your bare-fleshed cohort in record numbers, particularly because they’ll detect the presence of carbon monoxide, scented body products and perspiration (although the unique body chemistry of each individual also factors into the equation).

Crafty, flesh-hungry and otherwise creepy little critters can, however, be successfully foiled when you use naturally effective repellents such as these:


What Attracts Them:

  • Exposed skin
  • Windy conditions
  • Dark colors
  • Thick weeds
  • Lactic acid
  • Sweaty socks (no joke!)
  • Carbon dioxide (which we exhale) and a semiochemical chemical that we all release called nonanal
  • Incandescent lighting
  • Limburger cheese (strange but true!)
  • Standing water

What Makes Them Get The Heck Outta Town:

  • Garlic oil or juice. Your pores will exude this naturally offensive odor if you add more fresh garlic to your diet, making mosquitoes less likely to chomp down. You might instead prefer soaking fabric strips in a homemade garlic juice-water solution and hanging them around your outdoor dining area or cooking up a garlic-based, skin-safe repellent which can be sprayed liberally to keep those bloodsuckers at bay!
  • A far more pleasantly scented mosquito deterrent can be achieved simply by dabbing vanilla extract on your pulse points.
  • Bats! Lure them to your home by hanging a homemade bat-friendly ‘house’ on a tree that is especially close to your property. They’ll thank you by dutifully munching on all of the mosquitoes hovering around your air space – score!
  • Surround your patio or any outdoor congregation spot with the following plants which all release naturally offensive volatile oils: Pennyroyal, marigolds, lavender, basil, tansy, catnip and citronella.


What Attracts Them:

  • Odiferous garbage cans
  • Compost piles and bins
  • Food and crumbs
  • The water bowls of your household pets
  • Cardboard
  • Moisture
  • Makeshift shelters (such as open containers, storage boxes, etc.)

What Makes Them Get The Heck Outta Town:

  • An immaculately clean house.
  • Impossible to access food secured in airtight containers.
  • Outdoor cats. Naturally resilient roach populations can’t hold a candle to the hunting prowess demonstrated by hungry little protein-seeking felines.
  • The stinky scent of bay leaves, whether crumpled and scattered in trouble spots or tucked into ramekins or fabric bags.
  • Sprinkle a 50-50 blend of baking soda and powdered sugar near entry points. This remedy is admittedly cruel since it will cause their stomachs to explode, so only pull it out if you’re incredibly desperate.
  • Dough balls composed of boric acid, white flour and powdered sugar which can be tucked behind frequented areas as a form of bait. Cockroaches will eat them and ultimately die.


What Attracts Them:

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From the Organic Authority Files

  • Gaps underneath your garage door and other household entry ways
  • Bird feeder spillage
  • Easily accessible food – especially PEANUT BUTTER!!
  • Easily accessible garbage cans
  • Readily available nesting materials
  • Woodpiles
  • Overgrown shrubs

What Makes Them Get The Heck Outta Town:

  • Planting eucalyptus plants around the perimeter of your home or scattering their dried leaves near trouble spots.
  • Alert, preferably young and attentive outdoor kitties!
  • Steel wool tucked underneath or inside of entry points.
  • A devilish mixture of either equal parts sugar, baking soda and flour or a sugar, plaster, flour combo – both of which will rather cruelly cause them to meet their maker by triggering tummy explosion.
  • Cotton balls saturated with straight-up peppermint oil or citronella oil.
  • Fabric pouches filled with mint, whole cloves and/or bay leaves.


What Attracts Them:

  • Garbage cans
  • Food and crumbs
  • Spills (fresh or dried)
  • Sugar in any incarnation
  • A reliable water source
  • Pet food and water bowls
  • Aphids

What Makes Them Get The Heck Outta Town:

  • Cucumber peels
  • Damp coffee grounds
  • Boiling water
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dry instant grits, which will forcefully bloat tiny ant bellies once they find a good drink of water.
  • Naturally poisoning DIY boric-acid-corn-syrup blend (using 9 parts corn syrup to 1 part boric acid). Pour it into a recycled yogurt or cottage cheese tub, punch several holes in the lid and the dirty deed will be done.
  • Dried peppermint or liquid peppermint oil
  • Cayenne pepper or cinnamon


What Attracts Them:

  • Warm, moist environments
  • Diaper bags
  • Exposed compost piles
  • Decomposing waste of any kind (yard, vegetables, animal feces, etc.)
  • Garbage cans
  • Food

What Makes Them Get The Heck Outta Town:

  • Create a simple fly trap using a recycled container.
  • Better yet, tuck mango peels inside a narrow-necked wine bottle and watch as your winged invaders enter but never successfully exit.
  • Pour one tablespoon of liquid dish soap into an empty spray bottle, topping it off with plain water, and spray the mixture directly on flies (yes, even mid-flight).
  • Accent your landscaping and kitchen windowsill with basil plants, which smell great to us but simply stinky to flies!
  • Stud fresh apples with copious amounts of cloves and hang them in front of entry points.

Image: Lambroso

For more juicy green goodness, follow Elizah via Twitter @elizahleigh

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