How to Keep Bugs Away Outdoors

When I was little and my family went on a picnic, at the first sign of a buzzing wasp or a line of ants, my mother would cry, “Quick! Get the poison!” and out from the picnic basket would come a big can of bug spray. My father would douse everything in sight: not only were the bugs subjected to a fine mist of toxic chemicals, so were we–and so was the food we proceeded to eat. It’s a wonder we’re all as healthy as we are–and goodness knows what that stuff did to the environment.

Yes, biting, buzzing bugs can sure ruin a family picnic, or a romantic star-gazing on the deck, or a stroll around the block at dusk. But rather than exposing ourselves and the neighborhood to potentially toxic chemicals, we can use safe, natural methods that are still blessedly effective. Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping those outdoor bugs away:

If you will be staying in one place, try these methods to deter insects from joining the party:

Burn a smudge stick.
Light a stick of incense scented with essential oil of lemon balm, thyme, eucalyptus, peppermint, or lavender.
Burn candles scented with those essential oils.
Mist the area with one of the formulas below.

If you will be walking:

Click here to find out How to Custom-Make Your Own Insect Repellent.

And to repel and control mosquitoes, see these Hints and Tips.

By Cait Johnson, Assistant Producer of Care2 Healthy Living.

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feather w.
Feather W.about a year ago

tea tree oil works good..

Vivian Y.
Vivian Y.about a year ago

Besides using bug spray, it's really nice tips to kill bugs.

Patricia G.
Patricia Gall2 years ago

great information...thank you

Nils Anders Lunde


Uddhab Khadka
Uddhab Khadka2 years ago

Thank you.

wael a.
wael a.2 years ago

Thank you

Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


linda grinfelds
linda grinfelds2 years ago

I would use incense.... mostly its mosquitos that bother me

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey2 years ago

As I get older, I get more and more fascinated by life and all its creatures, both great and small... I like watching insects, and bugs and just about anything, flying around, crawling, doing what it does... I think any healthy environment has to have these lifeforms as evidence of a thriving ecosystem... I don't like killing things, simply because they might be in your line of vision...

Amandine S.
Past Member 2 years ago

Interesting article, thanks for the tips !