4 ways to repel bugs naturally

By Teresa MorgadoTeresa Morgado

Repel bugs

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Tired of using smelly bug sprays? Work with nature and try some of these eco-friendly solutions with birds, bats, and plants.

Attract birds

Inviting insect-eating birds to your cottage can help reduce the bug population. Installing a bird bath and bird feeder, if possible, is the best way to attract birds.

Species especially keen on eating insects include:

White Throated Sparrows

White Crowned Sparrows


Black-capped Chickadees

Northern Mockingbird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Purple Martins

Black Headed Grosbeaks

Birds are attracted to a wide variety of plants, so consider planting low-maintenance native species around your cottage.

Build a bat box

Like birds, bats also help control bug populations. According to Bill the Bat Boy, lactating female Canadian bats can eat up to half their weight in insects per night, while a Little Brown bat eats up to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour. Because of their diet, bats can help prevent West Nile virus infections.

A safe way to keep bats out of your home (but still around it) is by building them a house or purchasing a ready-made box, like this one from billbatboy.ca.

Use plant oil-based products

If you’d rather avoid DEET-based products, try ones that contain natural plant oils such as geranium citronella, tea tree, catnip, marigold, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, and picaridin.

Use safer bug sprays

There are many DEET-free products available, including: Bite Blocker, Herbal Armor, Natrapel, Ecosmart, and Badger Anti-Bug.

We have not tested these products and can’t guarantee that they repel bugs, but many contain the natural plant oil deterrents listed above.

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Aug. 1, 2011

11:27 am


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