This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our Affiliate Disclosure for more information.
Nothing is worse than trying to spend time outside with family and friends in the summertime and getting harassed and bitten by insects! Conventional bug sprays are dangerous. Natural bug sprays are great, but can we do more? Of course, we can! These Brilliant Natural Lifestyle Tips will keep you, your family, and your home pest free and enjoying the outdoors this summer!
Natural Lifestyle Tips That’ll Keep You Pest Free All Summer!
BE NEAT + TIDY
Inside your home, make sure to keep food stored away and picked up, and keep dishes clean and counters tidy and wiped clean. Make sure pet foods aren’t being eaten by pests.
Make sure screens are in all your doors and windows, and repair any screens with holes in them. Use air conditioning, if available, instead of opening windows to help keep pests out.
Outside, be sure to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes like to lay eggs. Make sure your gutters are draining well, and flip over or cover backyard buckets, planters, toys, kiddie pools, pet water bowls, and other containers. Clean birdbaths with the garden hose every 2-3 days to keep the water fresh for the birds and the mosquitos away.
SHIELD YOUR SKIN
I realize this is easier said than done in the heat of summer, but covering up with clothing can go a long way toward protecting you from pests.
When you go hiking in the woods, wear long pants tucked into your socks to prevent ticks from latching to your skin. Wear light colored clothing, which keeps you cooler in the sun, repels insects, and allows you to easily spot ticks for removal.
You can also wear long pants and shirts for gardening. Tuck your long shirt sleeves into your gardening gloves and pants into boots.
Fair skinned people may also benefit from wearing long sleeves and pants to prevent sun burn. L.L. Bean offers a great line of clothing that deters pests, protects against harmful UV rays, and keeps you cool in the summer heat.
No matter the activity, remove clothing and shower immediately after coming inside. I throw my clothes directly into the washer and wash right away, so any pests on my clothes can’t escape and gain access to my home.
STAY COOL + HYDRATED
Bugs are most attracted to you when you’re hot and sweaty. Stay cool by drinking cool liquids and staying in the shade as much as possible.
Plants like chrysanthemums, marigolds, and nasturtiums can be planted next to other plants to act as natural protectors. This practice is called companion planting.
Planting native plant species in your garden also helps because these plants have evolved to be more resistant to the pests in your area.
The best plants to repel mosquitos include basil, catnip, citronella, garlic, geranium, lavender, lemon balm, marigold, pennyroyal, peppermint, and rosemary.
I have noticed that since I got chickens in 2010, my backyard pest levels have reduced drastically. When I enclosed my yard with a chain link fence last year, which allowed my chickens to become free range full time, I saw even more improvement!
In fact, my dogs and cats seem to get far fewer ticks from our backyard! Of course, please only get your own flock if you do your research, know what you’re getting into, and will take great care of them.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, a small brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night!
This is why I LOVE to see bats flying around above my backyard. Sadly, because of White Nose Syndrome, I only see about 4 or 5 at a time at the most.
Most bats that live in North America eat insects, while tropical bats eat flowers and nectar. This means we can’t just plant flowers and fruit trees in our yards to bring bats to us.
Bats don’t tend to live in cities where it’s noisy. If you live in the country where it’s quiet like I do, consider attracting bats to your yard by constructing a bat house.
A bat house doesn’t need to be large, but it should be placed in a location that receives sunlight for most of the day and should be about 15 feet off the ground to protect the bats from predators.
DON’T WEAR HEAVY FRAGRANCE
Heavily scented shampoos, lotions, perfumes, body sprays, and deodorants attract bugs. Use unscented or lightly scented personal care products to prevent bugs from swarming.
USE HOMEMADE CITRONELLA CANDLES
Here’s a fun project! With this DIY recipe, you can make a bunch of your own citronella candles to keep your home well stocked with bug repelling candles while saving money versus buying in the store. Plus, you can spread the love and give them away as gifts, too!
From Living Well Mom
USE A FAN
Install a ceiling fan in your covered outdoor areas, like a deck or patio, or use an oscillating fan, while you’re outdoors. The strong breeze from the fan will repel bugs and allow you to enjoy your backyard time in peace.
Seal cracks in your home’s foundation, and close gaps in windows and doorways to prevent insects from gaining access into your home.
Fill a small mason or jelly jar with vinegar, cover the jar with plastic wrap, and poke a few small holes in it. Fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar. They’ll find their way in the jar, but will be prevented from leaving once they get in there.
Another way to keep fruit flies away is by making sure to clean produce as soon as you bring it home. I like to use a natural DIY cleaning spray made from 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap mixed with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.
Houseflies dislike great-smelling plants like basil, bay, chamomile, lavender, lemon verbena, mint, rosemary, sweet woodruff, and thyme.
Plant these fragrant plants near doorways, porches, and decks, and keep potted plants inside near windows.
They also dislike fresh lemon. Just cut a lemon in half, and wedge as many whole cloves as you can fit in the flesh of the lemon. Then, set the lemon out in your home or near you while you spend time outdoors.
Pantry moths are the worst! I have had an infestation of pantry moths and not known it until I go to use a fresh bag of flour or reach for the bread crumbs when making dinner.
These moths are resourceful and can even bore through unopened paper packaging to access the contents!
To take care of these nuisance critters, throw away any food packaging where you find larvae or pods. Wipe shelves clean, and place bay leaves in your cabinets and pantry to keep the moths away. Use air tight plastic or glass containers to store cereals, flours, pet food, and other dry goods.
If you see any adult moths flying around, they can be caught with All Natural Pantry Moth Traps, which contain pheromones to attract the moths. I have used these traps in my home, and they work really well.
Luckily, these moths have a short lifespan, so if you throw away all packages that contain their larvae and protect the rest of your food, you should be good to go.
Ants greatly dislike the smell of vinegar. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray where ants like to go in your home or around your picnic or patio area outside.
Ants also hate walking on any powdery material and will refuse to do so. Put a chalk line around your patio to prevent ants from invading your space while you eat outdoors. You can also use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in the same way. Just be sure not to inhale the powder as you sprinkle it.
If the ants persist, you may have to find their nest to get rid of them completely. Follow their trail. I’ve seen them make nest in my basement, then travel through the floor to the kitchen for food.
Once you find their nest, spray it with the Dr. Bronner’s spray (1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap mixed with 1 quart of water). Keep an eye on the nest, and spray any time you see live ants.
Roaches are attracted to moisture, so make sure you fix any leaky faucets or pipes as quickly as possible.
Catch roaches naturally by setting out a saucer of beer, which will attract them. Once drunk, dispose of them however you wish (I don’t want to know the gory details!).
You can also sprinkle Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to keep them away.
Moths dislike the smell of lavender, mint, and cedar. Store clothes in a cedar box, and place sachets filled with dried lavender or mint in your dresser drawers, closets, and storage bins.
Lavender and mint essential oils (I recommend Plant Therapy Essential Oils) work, as well – just dab a few drops on a cotton ball, and place it in with your clothes.
MICE + RATS
Mice are super cute little critters, but I still don’t want them running loose in my house! They potty everywhere, chew wires, get in the dog food, and more.
I currently have 3 housecats (2 rescues from the SPCA and one stray). Since I got my first cat, I haven’t seen a mouse they weren’t already taking care of, if you know what I mean ?
Years ago, I paid Ehrlich to spray my home with chemicals and set out sticky traps to catch mice and bugs, but I still had bugs and mice and hated having chemicals sprayed around my family and my home.
If you don’t have cats, you can set out some mouse traps, which are better than being exposed to poisons. I don’t like dealing with dead mice, so I just let my cats do the dirty work.
Luckily, their presence must be good enough to deter rodents because I rarely see any evidence of these pests in my house. My cats also do a great job of killing bugs that get in – sometimes, to my dismay when I make friends with the stink bugs that come in every year
Some people like to forgo all bug sprays in their garden and pick off the bugs one by one.
I am definitely NOT one of those people – I just don’t have the time, patience, or desire to do something so tedious (to each their own, though, I’m not judging!).
I’ve had great luck using Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap mixed with water. Mix 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle to spray on plants to repel insects.
You can also add diatomaceous earth, or DE, to this spray. While wet, DE doesn’t harm bugs, but once it dries, it will kill bugs and insects by destroying their outer shell, which causes them to dehydrate and die.
Just be careful not to spray this solution, or any bug spray, on flowers and buds and other areas where bees may come in contact with the spray. Don’t forget – we want to save the bees!
Garlic spray can also be useful for repelling pests in the garden. Peel and mash one head of garlic – a Garlic Press works great for this step. Place the mashed garlic in a mason jar, cover the garlic with 1 cup of boiling water, and allow to sit overnight. Strain the mixture, and put the liquid in a spray bottle to spray on plants.
Here’s where that bat house mentioned above will come in handy! Bats can kill up to 1,000 mosquito-sized bugs in just one night!
You can also take some other easy steps to reduce the mosquito population in your yard. Make sure you don’t have any standing water in your yard, since mosquitos like to breed in these pools.
Add the lemon eucalyptus oil to your own DIY Bug Sprays, burn citronella candles (see the DIY candle above), and plant lemon balm around your porch and patio.
SNAILS + SLUGS
Snails and slugs hate to slide across scratchy stuff like Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, eggshells, salt, and sawdust, so sprinkle one of these around your plants.
You can also attract these pests with a saucer of beer. You can also bury a coffee can filled with beer in the ground near your plants. The snails and slugs will fall in and drown in the beer.
I have to go down into my basement to access my laundry room and back door, so I run into spiders pretty often, since they like dark, damp places.
I usually vacuum up the spiders and their webs, which helps get rid of the spiders that have already taken up residence in my home.
You should also seal any cracks in your foundation and close gaps in windows and doorways, so spiders can’t get into your home. Keep your home and yard tidy. Clean up debris and woodpiles. Pull weeds and trim overgrown plants.
I like to keep my whole yard cleaned up to prevent pests from taking up residence, but areas close to your house should always be kept neat to repel pests.
Some people recommend making an essential oil spray, but I find it just as effective – and far easier – to use cleaning spray made with Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap. Dr. Bronner’s soaps are scented with essential oils, so maybe that’s why they work so well!
For the cleaning spray, add 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap to 1 quart of water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, and shake well before each use. Spray on spiders and their webs, around doors and windows, and on any other surfaces where spiders might go.
I have never had an issue with this solution staining any of my surfaces. However, if your worried about staining, test the spray in an inconspicuous place before widespread use. Spray this solution once a week to keep spiders at bay.
If you prefer to use essential oils, spiders dislike the following scents: cinnamon, citronella, citrus, cloves, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree.
To use essential oils, add 5 drops of essential oil and 5 drops of dish washing liquid to 1 quart of water. Put this solution in a spray bottle. Shake well before use, and spray on spiders, their webs, and any other place they may travel in your home.
Please note that essential oils may stain or cause spots. Be sure to test the spray in an inconspicuous area before use. Spray around once per week.
Wasps are one of the few bugs and pests I will kill outside. Usually, I figure nature is their home, so I leave them alone. Wasps, ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are all exceptions to this rule!
Right now, I have a very small nest near where I store my hose. For the time being, I am leaving them alone because they have been ignoring me and my animals. If they sting any of us, I will be sure to use these next tips.
My first line of defense in repelling insects outdoors is putting plants they don’t like in my garden. This beautifies my garden, makes me happy, and deters pests all in one!
Wasps will tend to stay away from basil, chives, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon thyme, oregano, parsley, and thyme.
You may not think of herbs as an attractive choice for flowerbeds, but I urge you to try these plants. They smell wonderful, and some of them, including lavender and chives, grow gorgeous flowers.
I have a lavender plant in the garden near my front door. The smell is so lovely right outside my door. I love it!
Put this mixture in a spray bottle, and spray where wasps may want to live around your house, including porches, roofs, eaves, and other crevices.
Summer is a wonderful season full of outdoor parties and activities, but bugs and pests can ruin the fun. Get rid of them with these Genius All Natural Lifestyle Hacks to keep your family safe and pest free all summer long!
What do you think of this list of All Natural Pest Free Lifestyle Tips? I have implemented these ideas and have seen a huge improvement in and around my home! Please comment below to share your experience with pests.