Ah, spring. When it arrives, it brings with it warmer weather and gardening season , which I love. But it also means it’s time for bugs to emerge from their winter hiatus. And who likes having swarms of mosquitos hovering around them or invading their house? Am I right?
When buying a house , pest problems are certainly important to consider. This time of year, most homeowners probably stop by the local hardware store and pick up a bug repellent to spray around the house to keep the bugs out . Sure, it works well and is fairly affordable, but some of these insect repellents contain dangerous chemicals that are toxic to humans and animals.
So if you’re looking for something that doesn’t cause skin and respiratory irritation, you’re in luck. It’s time to make some bug- and mosquito-repelling plans. Check out some of these inexpensive but effective natural insect repellents that can protect your home.
Garlic, Cinnamon and Cayenne Pepper Powder
You can pick up garlic, cinnamon and pepper powder at the dollar store or get some huge containers of them from a warehouse store for a few bucks. Sprinkle heavily around the foundation of your home every month to create a bug-proof barrier.
Vinegar, Herbs and Water
Vinegar is a super multitasker around the home. Not only is it a great cleaner, it also keeps bugs at bay. Grab a large spray bottle and fill half of it with white or apple cider vinegar. Next, add any or all of these herbs: mint, lavender, catnip, sage and/or thyme. Top it off with some water, shake well and let it steep overnight. The next day, you’ll have a super-pungent bug repellent.
Vinegar and Essential Oils
For an even more effective bug repellent, fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water and add 10 to 15 drops of any of these essential oils: mint, tea tree, spearmint, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, clove, citronella and/or eucalyptus.
Witch Hazel, Water and Herbs
This recipe is pretty much the same as the vinegar one above but with two small changes: Substitute witch hazel (which you can get at most grocery or drugstores) for vinegar and distilled water for tap water.
Vodka and Essential Oils
Vodka is another versatile item to have around your home – and I’m not just talking about cocktails, either. Fill a small spray bottle with your favorite bottom-shelf vodka and add about 20 drops of any of the essential oils mentioned above.
Last year, I used the vinegar and herb solution because we noticed a lot of earwigs (so gross) and ants hanging out around the house. Within a day of liberally spraying the solution around the foundation, the bugs vanished. We continued to spray around the house and didn’t see any bugs indoors for the rest of the summer.
Bonus Tip: Mosquito-Repellent Plants
There are many plants that you can grow in and around your home to repel pests, especially mosquitos. It doesn’t get much more natural than that! Not only are they useful, but many of these plants smell and look great, too. Here’s a list of some of our favorite natural mosquito-repellent plants that will send those bugs flying away from your house.
Lemon Balm – Not only will lemon balm repel mosquitos, its lemon-minty smell also attracts good pollinators (which is great as long as you’re not trying to get rid of mosquitos and bees).
Growing Climate – Lemon balm is pretty versatile, but it prefers dry climates.
Planting Info – During the early spring, you can plant lemon balm seedlings inside, or you can plant the seeds after the last frost of spring.
Catnip – Nepetalactone is a natural chemical inside catnip that repels lots of insects. It’s been proven to be much more effective that DEET , which is a common compound used in commercial insect repellents. You might also attract cats with this, though, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have outdoor cats in your neighborhood.
Growing Climate – Catnip’s a pretty hardy plant, so it’ll have some resistance to colder climates and frosts.
Planting Info – Plant after the last frost or indoors. Ideally, the soil should be very slightly acidic, but it’s pretty adaptable.
Basil – If you haven’t noticed already, mosquitos are pretty sensitive to smelly plants, and basil, which might smell amazing to us and taste good on pizza, is a great repellent for pests. Since it gives off an aroma even without its leaves being crushed, you can easily enjoy its anti-insect effects if you plant it outside your home.
Growing Climate – While basil can grow in most places during the summer months, it needs to be in a warm climate to grow year round.
Planting Info – Heat is a major requirement for basil. An ideal temperature for seedlings is 70°F, but you can use plant lights to keep them at the right temperature. I wouldn’t recommend leaving basil outside until the last frost has ended.
Instead of spraying dangerous chemicals around your home , give natural insect repellents a try. They’ll keep the bugs at bay without dousing your home and yard with harmful substances. When buying a house , beat the bugs ahead of time by scheduling a thorough home inspection to identify any problems with pests.
Have you used natural insect repellents around your home? Did they work? Tell us below in the comments section!
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