Summer’s here! Which not only means you’ll be outside more, but you’ll be around bugs more, too. But using a pesticide like DEET isn’t always the best way to go. Because the chemicals have been linked to skin rashes, headaches, and vomiting. And if you apply it with sunscreen, your skin absorbs more pesticide. So, here’s how to keep bugs at bay the natural way, courtesy of First magazine:


  • To begin with, keep gnats and black flies away with mentholated ointment. Just apply Tiger Balm or Vicks Vapo-Rub to exposed skin. The scent of eucalyptus confuses bugs, and keeps them from homing in on the human scent that attracts them.
  • Waving at the fly circling the potato salad is not actually pointless. A study from Cal Tech found that stressed-out flies emit an odor filled with carbon dioxide that warns other flies to stay away. So, what’s the down-side? That distress odor actually attracts mosquitoes.
  • So how can you deal with mosquitoes naturally? Citronella oil. It shoos skeeters away by masking the carbon dioxide you exhale - which is actually what biting bugs are attracted to. For an easy mosquito repellent, mix 10 drops of citronella oil with half an ounce of olive oil, and dab it on your neck, wrists, elbows, and knees before you go outdoors. Also, take a multivitamin every day. The scent of vitamin B that seeps through your skin makes you smell bitter to insects.
  • Finally, keep ticks at bay with lemongrass oil. A study at the University of Florida discovered that it may guard against ticks even better than pesticides like DEET. Why? Because the lemon-rose scent, which is pleasant to humans, smells perfectly repulsive to bugs.