Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Bug Bites

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

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    Don't swat it: You can fend off bugs without chemicals.
    Unsplash/Tania Malréchauffé

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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 clothing 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:

2/23/2016 12:06:26 PM

My grandmother used to make a balm from hibiscus leaves and glycerin or cooking oil for treatment of insect bites. It was wonderful and took itch away immediately. She has passed away and has taken her recipe/formula to the grave. Does anyone know anything like this that I may try. I certainly miss her and her wisdom!

joe sturgill
8/8/2007 12:00:00 AM

for honey bees, chew green grass and clover, seems to only help with honey bee stings.

Kiwi Will
8/7/2007 12:00:00 AM

In last 20 years spent a lot of time in the outdoors tramping (hiking) sea-kayaking in New Zealand and other trips abroad in warmer climates and find all these fancy clothes which may look poncy for the city-slickers but are generally hopeless when it comes to insects. The colours are too appealing to them! Especially the dark colours. Look for lite colours every time and forget the purple, black, blues. Also get to know what the orginal folks (natives) used from their back doors. It works and is not only cheaper & environmentally & user friendly but also far more gratifying.

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