What’s the Buzz? Natural Methods for Bug Bites this Summer

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, many of us are starting to think about our outdoor adventures for the summer. Hiking, camping, barbeques, and picnics are all a big part of summer fun, but one evil villain threatens them all:

Insect bites.

There is no worse way to end a great day outdoors than with itchy bumps all over your body and realizing that while you were snacking away during the day, so were the bugs.

There are many ways to protect yourself from bug bites this season, but some are ineffective or laced with chemicals that aren’t great for our health or the environment. So, we compiled a list of 5 natural methods that keep the bugs away and you and your family safe.

1. Wearing high-coverage clothing

If the bugs can’t get to your skin, they can’t bite you. It's as simple as that.

While we know this isn’t exactly everyone's favorite tip, it truly is one of the best ways to protect yourself from bug bites. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and long pants doesn’t give insects a chance to bite you.

We understand that it’s hot outside, and being fully covered doesn’t help you catch the tan you have been looking for. We also get that wearing long sleeves and pants seems like a recipe for a sweaty day. However, choosing natural fabrics like cotton or linen allows for increased breathability and keeps you cool and comfortable, even in hot and humid conditions.

2. Lighting citronella candles

The smell of a citronella candle is often associated with warm summer nights. It isn’t just for show, though. Citronella is an herb that is known for its insect-repellent properties. When its oils are mixed with candle wax and burned, it offers a natural solution to repelling bugs set on biting you and ruining your evening.

In addition to the chemical properties of citronella, bugs also avoid smoke. So, if you don’t have access to these candles, starting a bonfire or using fire as a light or heat source is another way to send bugs buzzing off.

3. Using essential oils

Many essential oils are known to repel insects and offer protection from bug bites. These include:

• Mint

• Sage

• Rosemary

• Thyme

• Basil

• Garlic

• Clove

• Lavender

Diluting these essential oils with water and rubbing alcohol can create a fantastic natural alternative to harsh bug sprays. Making your own bug spray is also an excellent choice for the environment.

These sprays may not work as well as DEET, an ingredient found in most supermarket bug sprays, but they are a more natural and organic option that is gentle on the skin.

DEET is a synthetic insect repellent that has been used for decades. It is mostly safe, but when used in excess, it has been linked to skin irritation, low blood pressure, agitation, and even seizures.

DEET-free bug repellents may require more frequent applications but don’t come with the possibility of behavioral changes and health issues. Natural alternatives are the perfect choice for those looking to get outside this season while opting out of the chemical lifestyle.

4. Eating certain foods

Did you know that certain foods change the chemical makeup of your sweat?

Eating foods like garlic or onions can help repel insects when you sweat out the byproducts of those foods. You may find yourself a bit smellier, but it’s worth not being itchy all over, right?

We should warn you, though, that it takes a lot of these foods to really make the most of this method, so we wouldn’t recommend this as your primary method of bug repellent. We mention it because it can be a great natural boost to any other strategies you use to keep the bugs at bay.

5. Using a bug-repellent soap

Pine tar has a long history dating back to ancient times. It has roots in being a universal solution to all sorts of problems, from dry skin to eczema to dermatitis.

One historical use of the ingredient is as an insect repellent.

Using all-natural pine tar soap may help keep insects away but can also help treat bites that have already developed.

Pine tar soap is partly known for its antibacterial and antipruritic properties. This means that this insect repellent soap can do triple duty, warding off bugs, cleaning the affected areas, and helping to relieve the itchiness of bug bites.

It is the perfect camping soap, as it is easy to pack, is all-natural, smells fantastic, and helps prevent and soothe bug bites.

Bonus point!

6. Wearing antiperspirant.

Bugs tend to be attracted to sweaty skin, and when it’s hot outside and you are getting active, you will certainly be a bug's best friend.

Using an antiperspirant is a great way to make yourself less attractive to bugs by reducing the amount of sweat they can pick up.

Choosing a natural antiperspirant is always a great choice to limit the amount of toxic chemicals you expose your body to. Choosing a product that is unscented or has a very light scent is also a good idea.

Personal care items that are heavily scented, like many box-store deodorants and antiperspirants, can attract bugs. Insects like flowers, and if you smell like one, they’ll definitely like you. While perfumes, colognes, and heavily scented soaps and shampoos may be your go-to for everyday care, skip them on your next trip outside in favor of a more discreet, unscented product.

Keeping you and your loved ones protected from bugs and the many chemicals in modern products is an issue near and dear to us. We want to ensure you know of all the options available, especially those that are as natural and safe as possible. They may require a little more effort or patience, but choosing natural alternatives to bug-repellent products is an excellent choice for your health and the environment.

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