With the onset of the warm weather comes bug season. Little pests of all kinds wreak havoc on our early summer outings, play dates and get togethers. Don’t distress. A few quick tips will help you to keep the bugs and bay and get you on your way to enjoying a glorious start to the summer season.
Mosquitos love dark clothing and they love yoga style, tight pants. To deter the bugs, wear long, light baggy clothing in light or white colours. Choose long pants and long sleeves when you can.
Did you know that blackflies gravitate to the highest point of your body – behind your ears and neck? If you get caught in an area where there are quite a few blackflies buzzing around, put your hand in the air. The flies will go to your hand where they are not likely to bite.
In the Yard
The best way to keep the inset population in check is to plant an organic garden and flowers to attract birds and other insects that will eat the bugs. Songbirds feed loads of insects to their young and to themselves. Woodpeckers and other cavity nesters such as nuthatches, and chickadees also eat insects. Remember the Basicstoads, snakes, bats, dragonflies and spiders and you have a great defense against the summertime bugs.
*The best bloom to attract songbirds in cornflower. Hummingbirds love coral bells. Along with the organic garden, you may want to consider planting insect repelling herbs such as lavender, thyme, mint and citronella near the patios and use fresh plants as bug repellent in a pinch.
Here are a couple of great recipes for natural bug repellents.
MOSQUITO YARD SPRAY
Big bottle Blue cheap mouthwash
3 cups of Epsom salts
3 stale 12 oz cheap beer
Mix those three ingredients together until salt is dissolved and spray anywhere you sit outside. It will not harm plants or flowers.
NATURAL BUG REPELLENT CANDLE
2 lemon wedges
2 lime wedges
Mason jar with water
7-10 drops of lavender essential oils
Ticks have emerged as a real problem lately. Kids love playing in the leaves and grasses that can be heavily populated with ticks which can cause Lyme disease. Make sure your kids are covered up if they are out playing or walking in wooded areas. If you think you have been exposed to ticks, be sure to check for tick bites on your scalp, ankles, armpits, , l and behind your ears and knees. Wash yourself right away and launder your clothing including drying in a hot dryer. Don’t forget to check your pets.
Here’s the recipe from Dr. Marie Matheson (Lyme Literate Naturopathic Doctor):
100ml spray bottle
30 drops Solvarome essential oil blend by Seroyal
10 drops Bergamot essential oil
Top up the rest of the bottle with water
Optional: 4 citronella essential oil for mosquitoes
To remove an attached tick use fine-tipped tweezers or tick remover (can be purchased at most pet stores) at the surface of the skin as soon as you notice it. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. If tweezers are not available use a tissue to protect your fingers as exposure to tick fluids may lead to transmission of disease. Try not to twist the tick because you do not want to break it and leave any parts in the skin. Do NOT burn the tick off with a match or lighter. Do NOT try to suffocate the tick with petroleum jelly or oil – this will cause the tick to regurgitate its infected guts and saliva into your body increasing your chance of getting the disease
Let’s not forget the fruit flies. The best way to avoid the flies or course is to keep fresh produce covered and sealed. If you do happen to get a few in your kitchen, try this quick and easy recipe and can be left on the counter to collect the flies.
· red wine vinegar or red wine
· drop of dish soap
Add water to create bubbles. That is what traps the fruit flies.
Using pesticides is tempting to get rid of nasty bugs but you could also be killing the useful bugs. Here are some planting tips from Canadian Wildlife Federation. http://cwf-fcf.org/en/explore-our-work/connecting-with-nature/in-the-garden/cwf-day.html