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Home Remedies to Keep Outdoor Bugs & Pests Away

By: EarthKind

Are you looking for ways to better coexist with nature? Itchy bug bites can really ruin the vibe when we’re outdoors, but smelly insect repellents, poisonous insecticides, and noisy bug zappers don’t exactly bring peace of mind. That’s why we’ve put together tried and true outdoor pest control hacks that will make it easy for you to enjoy your time outdoors – worry-free!

Before you pack your bags or fire up the grill this weekend, check out these easy DIY natural remedies to make sure unwanted rodents and insects don’t crash your outdoor party. EarthKind Founder & CEO, Kari Warberg Block, shared the tips she was using during a live video chat – you can watch the video, or find out what she had to say below. 

10 Natural Outdoor Pest Control Hacks

Having an outdoor space for backyard BBQs, gardening and campfires is great, but sometimes when we gather together, bugs and other creatures gather, too. Flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other little pests love showing up for a free meal. Fortunately, when you’re planning a day outdoors, there are a few things you can do to reduce bothersome bugs. A little prevention goes a long way!

Keep Up with Lawn Care

Aside from the refreshing scent of newly cut grass, a well-trimmed lawn will help limit the infestations of biting insects like ticks and mosquitoes in the area. This will help save you and your pets from having to go inside because you’re being chewed up. 

Bonus tip: Remember to make sure your pets are protected from ticks. Talk to your vet about preventative tick treatments, and make sure your furry family members are well-groomed. Inspect your dog for ticks every time after being outside (this job’s much easier when their fur is clean and trimmed!). You’ll be protecting yourself by making sure your four-legged friends are tick-free, too!

Use Fresh Water in Bird Bath

If you have a birdbath or any water features, make sure the water is fresh – mosquitoes can breed in standing water in less than a week! Inspect any planters you may have to see that they are draining properly, and if you have any kids’ toys or other items around the yard, make sure no rainwater has pooled in them.

Wash Away Any Spider Webs & Keep Them Away

Look around the area for concentrations of cobwebs or spiderwebs, or hornet and wasp nests. Wash webs away with a water hose. Try using a spray bottle to spray areas where the webs were with a mix of water and herbal-scented Castile dish soap – the scent will deter spiders from returning, and soap will make it harder for their webs to stick. You can make a decoy wasp nest by hanging a brown paper lunch bag in a nearby tree – wasps may avoid the area if they’re afraid of stepping on someone else’s turf.

Cut Up Lime Slices 

A great natural way to keep your outdoor space critter-free is to slice a lime in half and stick a few cloves in each piece; place them around your outdoor space to keep bugs away. Many outdoor pests hate the pungent smell of cloves. 

Pro-tip:  Keep a pouch of Fresh Cab® Rodent Repellent under your grill cover. Rodents and other pests love to clean up any crumbs you leave behind, but the balsam fir scent of Fresh Cab is another smell that’s offensive to them and will deter them from the area.

Place Fruit Juice in Containers 

Place fruit, fruit juice, or soda in containers a little distance away from your outdoor gathering – it will lure the pests away from your space without causing any harm.

Burn Dried Herbs

When having a bonfire, place dried herbs in a paper bag and toss on the fire — the smell will be AH-MAZING and the scented smoke helps get rid of pests in the area.

Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper

Sprinkle the perimeter of your yard with cayenne pepper. This natural ingredient will help keep crawling pests away. Remember to reapply if it rains or after running the sprinklers.

Use Herbs as Decor

While colorful, sweet-smelling floral decorations are a lovely way to bring natural beauty to your décor, they may also attract insects like ants and bees. 

Many herbs like basil, mint leaves, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme naturally repel pests, so adding them to your outdoor décor will look great and help with pest problems. Display fresh-cut herbs in assorted repurposed jars for a shabby chic look, or tie them in bundles with twine to use as placeholders or hang around the area for a rustic look. You can even use the herbs as a garnish or add them to your drinks!

Use an Outdoor Fan

Flying insects have a hard time sticking their landing when the wind is blowing, so if there’s no breeze, get out the fans.

Keep Your Garbage Bins Far Away

Garbage bins are easy to overlook, but rodents, insects, and all kinds of pests will be attracted to any waste left behind. Set trash cans a short distance away from where you’ll be, and make sure to use one with a tight-fitting lid.

Bonus Tip: Use a Botanical Pest Repellent

For added protection and peace of mind without needing to call an exterminator, turn to Stay Away® pest repellent pouches. Our pouches are made with different essential oils including rosemary, lemongrass, citronella, sunflower, and other plant-based ingredients. The pouches create odors that are offensive to pests, but not to humans.  

Although they are designed for indoor use, they can definitely help keep ants away from an outdoor buffet or picnic. Place the pouch somewhere dry and remember that increased airflow and extreme temperatures will cause the scent to wear off quickly. So, while they might not be a long-term solution outside, the pouches can still be helpful for outdoor gatherings. Keeping an extra pouch by the door is also a good idea if guests will be going in and out frequently.

If you’re looking for bug spray, consider using Stay Away Mosquitoes® unscented, skin-friendly spray. This mosquito repellent makes you invisible to flies, ticks, chiggers, gnats, and mosquitoes. It provides long-lasting protection, is water-resistant, and can be used on the whole family, including children and pregnant women when used as directed.