Skeeter Beater: Non-Toxic Tips to Prevent & Soothe Bug Bites

Skeeter Beater: Non-Toxic Tips to Prevent & Soothe Bug Bites

July 16, 2022

By Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director

Summer is peaking and so are the insects. And their bites can do more than just bug us and our kids. Rates of insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and West Nile virus are on the rise, which makes it time for chemical-free prevention measures. Getting swarmed? Try these tips.

  • Protect delicate skin with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Choose light-colored solids; insects are attracted to patterns and contrasts.
  • To stop ticks, tuck long pants into your socks and avoid tall grass and underbrush. Do a full body check once indoors.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, peak times for mosquito activity.
  • Keep your screens in good repair. If mosquitoes still get indoors, use netting over beds.
  • Keep outdoor meals safe by using a fan to discourage mosquitoes.
  • Plant mosquito-repelling plants like scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigold, tansy, citrosa plants, sweet basil and/or sassafras near your home.
  • Eliminate the standing water mosquitoes need to reproduce. Think old tires, kiddie pools, plastic pots, buckets, garbage cans, clogged gutters, etc. Change birdbath water frequently.
  • Encourage natural predators like ladybugs, bats, dragonflies, praying mantis, spiders, and birds. Stock ponds with fish—they’ll eat mosquito larvae.
  • Use yellow light bulbs in outdoor fixtures. They aren’t as attractive to bugs.
  • Fragrances draw insects so use unscented products.

No matter what you do, however, your kids are still likely to bitten or sting this summer. When that happens, reach for these natural home remedies:

  • Tea tree oil  is great for stings. Remove the stinger and gently apply it around the entry point.
  • Baking soda works, too. Mix it with water to form a paste. Remove the stinger, apply the paste, and cover until pain is gone.
  • Yellow onion contains sulfur compounds that relieve bug bite itches. Slice a one in half and rub the cut side on the bite. Refrigerate leftovers and make a fresh slice before reapplying.
  • Vinegar helps all kinds of bites. Tape a soaked cotton ball over the bite overnight.