Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Bug Bites

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Don't swat it: You can fend off bugs without chemicals.

It’s hard to resist the lure of the outdoors during these summer
months. But whether it’s a chore, a meal or a simple frolic that
beckons you into the open air, you’re likely to be stung, feasted
on or just irritated by bugs.

Rather than reaching for manufactured insect repellents that use
powerful chemicals to keep bugs at bay, try these tips to naturally
prevent bug bites.

Wearlight-colored, loose-fitting
when outside. You’ll lower your chances of
popping up on a mosquito’s radar, as these bugs are attracted to
dark colors and easily bite through tight clothing. Also avoid
wearing bright or floral patterns, as resembling a scrumptious
flower can make you attractive to bees and wasps.

Even if you don’t have a pool or pond, you still need to
eliminate standing water around your home, which
is an invitation for mosquitoes to lay eggs near your abode. Drill
holes in the bottoms of things like trash bins to drain water that
may collect in them. Change birdbaths and pets’ water dishes at
least once a week and as often as possible in the summertime to
wipe out any breeding grounds mosquitoes may have created. Check
for other standing water sources, such as gutters, flower pots and
children’s toys.

Rosemary, basil, catnip,

lemon balm
and rose geraniums are a few of the plants
you can grow
that have insect-repelling qualities. Lemon
balm and catnip are especially good for warding off mosquitoes:
Researchers at Iowa State University found the essential oil in
catnip to be about 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes
than DEET, the widely used synthetic repellent. Simply crush the
leaves of any of these plants to release their scents and rub them
on your exposed skin.

Make your own catch-all insect repellent from a
concoction of essential oils:

  • 2 ? teaspoons total of any of the following essential oils:
    basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose
    geranium or rosemary (available at health food stores)
  • 1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available at liquor stores)
  • Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake
    vigorously. Transfer to a small bottle for storage. To use, rub a
    small amount on exposed skin, though test first to make sure skin
    doesn’t react negatively.

Don’t like measuring and mixing? Buy an herbal insect repellent


An irritating mosquito to humans is welcome nourishment to
bats. See

Beat Mosquitoes with Bats
for more on attracting these
incredible insect-eaters.

Turns out garlic wards off more than vampires.
You can make a potent mosquito repellent by mixing one part garlic
juice with five parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake and
spray a light coating of the mixture on exposed skin.

If you are bitten or stung, try the following natural healing
Plantain, a common weed in yards and parks, can
zap out pain, heat and swelling when its leaves are chewed and
applied to a bite. Identify plantain by the five parallel veins
that run the length of each leaf. Get a closer look


Rub aloe vera leaves on stings or bites to
relieve burning sensations.

Ease itch by applying a few drops of lavender
as needed.????????

These are just a few of the dozens of safe, natural ways to
prevent and soothe bug bites. Share your strategies by posting a
comment below.