Hello, holidays! Sunny weather and longer days mean heading outside to enjoy with family and friends. Regardless of where you go, you’ll have to take care to prevent bug bites. Insects of all kinds—whether they’re mosquitos, spiders or ticks—are lurking everywhere. It doesn’t help that wearing shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and even swimsuits make you the perfect target for these pests.
With all of the controversy surrounding DEET and other synthetic chemicals in insect repellent, you may be wondering how you can prevent bug bites naturally. After all, you don’t want your children or loved ones to suffer from the itching and swelling that insect bites leave in their wake. Although you also don’t want to expose them to harsh chemicals that can have negative effects. Fortunately, there are a variety of natural solutions available. Here are five natural ways to prevent bug bites.
COMBAT their sense of smell
Most insects use their sense of smell to sniff out carbon dioxide and find victims to bite. So, it’s a good idea to make yourself less appealing to them by avoiding things which make you emit more carbon dioxide. For example, the alcohol in beer causes your body to produce more carbon dioxide thereby making you a tastier treat for mosquitoes and ticks. If you are prone to bug bites, think twice about drinking a beer outdoors without any insect repellent on.
People who have more bacteria on their skin, from doing sport or not washing up properly, also have a tendency to smell more. This will makes them an easy target for insects. While it can be tricky to stay squeaky clean outdoors, trying to do so could prevent bug bites.
Use natural insect REPELLENTS
One of the most effective ways to keep bugs at arm’s length is by making yourself smell bad to them. There quite a few natural oils that bugs, particularly mosquitoes, are not fans of.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil – This is one of the most common natural oils used to prevent bug bites. Lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to keep mosquitoes at bay for a solid three hours. Talk about peace of mind!
- Cinnamon oil – This lovely spice also makes a potent oil that can actually kill mosquito eggs. Although it also works as a powerful repellent for adult mosquitoes, too.
- Thyme oil – Thyme oil offers some of the best protection against insect bites. However, burning thyme can work just as well. You may want to throw some thyme leaves into your next campfire!
- Greek catnip oil – The leaves in catnip hold a strong oil that is amazing for keeping insects away. In fact, a study at Iowa State University stated that catnip was ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.
- Tea tree oil – This Australian essential oil has a reputation for its antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, recent studies point to tea tree oil helping to prevent bites from mosquitoes, bush flies and biting midges.
- Neem oil – Neem or Indian lilac is a tree that has a strong smelling oil that helps prevent bug bites. Nonetheless, neem oil can cause skin irritation, so it’s best to try it on a small patch of skin first.
- Citronella oil – While this can be toxic indoors, causing headaches and nausea, outdoors it works like magic to repel mosquitos. In the great outdoors, you can apply citronella to your skin or burn it in candle form and rest assured that insects will stay far away.
- Lemon grass oil – This essential oil also works well to keep bugs at bay and functions similarly to traditional insect repellents. Usually this oil is stronger when combined with other essential oils, i.e., cinnamon bark oil.
Essential oils have lots of great benefits, but it’s important to take caution when using them. For these stronger oils be sure to use them at lower concentrations with a carrier oil like almond oil to ensure that your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction to them.
Wear the right clothes
The clothes you wear can make a huge difference as to whether you get bit or not. Although insects use their sense of smell to find you, they can see you as well. Dark colors like black, blue and red have a tendency to attract insects like mosquitoes. Lighter colors don’t have that same effect.
Also, the fit and fabric of clothes can make you more prone to insect bites. Wearing thin, tight-fitting clothes makes it easier for bugs to bite through the fabric. On the other hand, wearing thicker, loose-fitting clothes means that they won’t be able to reach your skin.
Avoid contact WITH BUGS
An easy way to prevent bug bites is to keep the bugs far away from you in the first place. If your windows don’t have screens to keep bugs out, then you may be better off using fans or air conditioning to keep cool indoors. For those who do have a screen, ensure that they are secure and will properly keep the bugs out when you open the window.
Another great way to avoid being bit is to stay indoors at peak times. While you can get bitten at any time of day, the chances are much higher at dusk and dawn. Insects thrive at these cooler times of day when there’s just enough light for them to find their prey.
Preventing bug bites naturally is possible. With the help of these tips and natural ingredients, you can keep you and your family bite-free this summer. To learn more about how you can naturally care for you and your family’s skin over the holidays read Mayca’s post on homemade personal products for the holidays. Also, consider signing up for the Complete Online Skincare Workshop to discover how to make natural and safe cosmetic products at home.
ABOUT OUR BLOGGER
Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni