Gathering with friends and family for barbecues and backyard parties is a hallmark of summer. But warm weather doesn’t just bring people out — it also brings out pesky little bugs. If mosquitoes, flies, ants or other insects are hindering your backyard fun, try these simple, DIY bug repellent ideas.

Preventive Measures

One of the best ways to keep bothersome bugs out of your yard is to make sure you aren’t unknowingly attracting them. According to the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, tall grass is a great hangout for adult mosquitoes. Consumer Reports notes ticks also make their home in tall grass because of the shade it provides. In addition to mowing regularly, keep leaves and debris out of the grass so there are fewer places for these critters to hide.

Another surefire way to attract bugs to your yard is with standing water. Mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs on the surface of water, says the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), which means water in pools or ponds is potentially inviting these pests to make a home.

But, large areas with permanent standing water aren’t the only potential mosquito attractions in your yard. Anything that can catch rainwater — a wheelbarrow, a bucket, clogged gutters — is a potential mosquito breeding ground, says HGTV, and should be cleared when possible. You should also avoid over-watering your lawn and fix dripping outdoor faucets, both of which can create pooling water.

Along with keeping your lawn short and limiting standing water in your yard, the Environmental Protection Agency advises that you keep trash covered. This is because common stinging bugs, like yellow jackets, love to rummage in old food, and garbage cans can become a prime spot for them to forage.

Taking Action

If you have taken all the necessary precautions to keep bugs away from your yard but are still pestered by them when the family gets together, there are a few natural ways to help keep bugs away from where people are congregated. These actions include:

  • Run a fan: Because mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, they won’t be able to stay in one place long enough to bite if they have to fight against the wind created by a fan, according to Good Housekeeping. HGTV notes that a fan may also help to keep flies away, as they tend not to like breezy conditions.
  • Switch out light bulbs: Many bugs are attracted to light and will swarm to bulbs, which are usually where the people are. Consumer Reports suggests using LED or yellow light bulbs around your yard and porch to help prevent this.
  • Plant repellents: According to BobVila.com the Mother Nature Network, certain plants act as natural bug repellents. Lemongrass (which is where produces citronella oil comes from), lavender, marigold and rosemary pitcher plants all may help keep mosquitoes away — and may make your landscaping a little nicer, as well.
  • Make a DIY trap: If you notice an army of ants invading your space, Hometalk.com suggests making a simple, homemade trap to attract the critters: Place cotton balls soaked in a mixture of water, sugar and borax around your yard to kill the ants.

Don’t let pesky bugs ruin your outdoor gatherings. If you prepare ahead of time and jump to action to keep these critters away from your yard, you can better enjoy the time you spend with friends and family this year.

Originally published on June 23, 2015.

The post Easy, Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away From Your Yard appeared first on The Allstate Blog.

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Gathering with friends and family for barbecues and backyard parties is a hallmark of summer. But warm weather doesn’t just bring people out — it also brings out pesky little bugs. If mosquitoes, flies, ants or other insects are hindering your backyard fun, try these simple, DIY bug repellent ideas. Preventive Measures One of the best...