Keep the Summertime Pests at Bay

Summertime in coastal North Carolina brings to mind a number of seasonal staples: balmy temperatures, the bright summer sunshine, salty sea breezes, and lazy afternoons spent on the porch to name a few.

But there are other characteristics of the season that make themselves known that are not quite as pleasant. Mosquitoes and other pests often come out in full force during the warmer months, casting a pall on some of your favorite outdoor activities with all of the diseases they carry, not to mention annoying bites and stings.

Luckily, we’ve come up with some DIY tips for keeping these critters at bay, even if you’ve run out of bug spray.

Cultivate your green thumb

Before you buy another can of bug repellant, take a look at what you have growing in your garden! Certain herbs and flowers are actually quite effective when it comes to warding off the more irritating insects that come out during the summer months. Some of these include rosemary, lavender and basil plants, which tend to do fairly well in our coastal climate with the proper care.

Keep caffeinated

If your backyard tends to keep standing water after heavy rainfall, you know that critters like mosquitoes are never far from your space. If your puddles are becoming breeding grounds for pests, save your coffee grounds and dump them into the water that won’t run off quickly. The grounds stir up the water and bring any existing eggs to the surface, where they are then without oxygen thanks to the thickness of the ground and water mixture. It keeps the eggs from hatching, therefore controlling the bug population in your space.

Heat things up

With the warmer temperatures and often muggy, humid days, summertime might not seem like the ideal season in which to host a lot of bonfires. But, the smoke from your outdoor fire pit helps to ward off insects when they would otherwise swarm in to take bites out of you and your guests. So instead of moving the backyard barbecue indoors, stock up on some firewood and let it smolder for a while when things start to die down on the patio.

Make your own repellant

If the odor of store bought bug spray makes it harder for you to use, consider a few other scents and substances that will help you repel summer’s most persistent insects. There are a number of essential oils that will do the trick, including peppermint and clove bud oil, or you can try your hand at a simple spray you can make in your own kitchen. One of the most basic ones we’ve seen only has a few ingredients: apple cider vinegar, water, fresh lavender, sage, and thyme. Pour equal parts water and vinegar into a bottle, then add in the herbs at your discretion. Let it all sit overnight, and then shake before each use.

While a run-in or two with mosquitoes and other interfering insects is a summertime inevitability, it doesn’t have to be a regular occurrence. Try out a few of these tips and see the difference they make on your summer! For more seasonal suggestions and hints for making the most of your coastal North Carolina home, stay tuned to the Michelle Clark Team’s blog!