Bug Off!

Summer Tips to Help Reduce Bugs

I grew up in Central Texas and bugs and sunburns were just part of our summer routines each year. After becoming a mom, these became a much bigger deal. My daughter could not shoo away a bug or run inside away from it. If a fire ant found a way to her she would not be able to brush it off and scratch the awful itch. If the sun was out she could not turn her head to get away from it or blink/squint to protect her eyes. Suddenly the sun and bugs became something I stressed about each year.

One little trick that can work for any child that spends time in a playpen (little crib) outside is super simple and has been used for years (my mom used to do this when I was a baby). The cribs have fitted sheets that you can pick up at most baby supply shops. Grab an extra fitted sheet. When you are outside use the extra fitted sheet across the top of the crib. This will prevent those nasty flying bugs from getting into the crib and potentially biting or stinging your little one.

You can make your own bug spray to use as well. I love this idea. The harsh smell that comes with the store bought sprays can be enough to put a child with sensory issues into a spin. When you are making your own spray you can use essential oils that your child likes and it will help encourage them to use the spray without the melt down. Here is one recipe that you can use, but you can find LOTS more if you Google ‘DIY Bug Spray’ or search on Pinterest.

  1. Put 15-30 drops of your child’s favorite essential oils into a spray bottle (if you can use oils like lemongrass, or citronella it will work even better- avoid using sweet smelling oils as they may have an attracting reaction instead of repelling).
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
  3. Add ½ cup of witch hazel
  4. Add ½ cup of water
  5. Put spray cap back on bottle and shake it up

Here in Texas mosquitoes are a problem in the summer as well. Being that we haven’t had many hard freezes in a few years they seem to get worse each summer. There is a DIY trap that you can make at home. It’s pretty simple.

  1. Grab a 2 liter soda bottle (empty).
  2. Rinse it out really well and then cut it in half.
  3. Boil about 2 cups of water with ¼ cup of brown sugar (or white sugar).
  4. After the sugar dissolves let the liquid cool and then pour it into the bottom half of the bottle.
  5. Add a pinch of yeast (do not stir it in, just drop it into the liquid).
  6. Turn the top half of the bottle upside down and insert it into the lower half.
  7. Wrap the bottle in black paper (or any dark paper or tape product you have).
  8. Stick it outside and mosquitoes will get stuck in the bottle instead of bothering/stinging you.

You can watch an instructional video to see how it is done here:

One last tip, use plants to help. You can plant lavender around the house to deter scorpions. You can plant lemongrass to deter mosquitoes. When selecting any plants, talk to the people that are selling them. They can tell you if it attracts bees, wasps, etc. and they can help you find plants that fit your look without the bugs you want to stay away.

I hope these tips help you keep the bugs out and enjoy a wonderful summer with your family- don’t forget the sunscreen!