Long lazy summer days.
On the beach. By the lake. In the woods. It’s glorious isn’t it?
But don’t stress, these brilliant summer hacks will keep pests away and treat everything from bug bites to sunburn naturally without any toxic chemicals using simple ingredients you already have around your home.
The super simple hacks include :
- Natural Mosquito Repellents
- Mosquito Repellent Candles
- DIY Bug Spray
- Natural Bug Balm
- Mosquito Bite Treatments
- Wasp Repelling Plants
- Wasp Repellent Spray
- DIY Wasp Trap
- Ant Repelling Hacks
- Natural Sunburn Treatments
PLUS for an added bonus I’ve got cool hacks for keeping kids happy outdoors all summer long.
Natural Mosquito Repellent Hacks
I live on one of London’s old marshes – there’s an underground river at the end of the street – so come summer there are mosquitoes everywhere. But luckily some super easy hacks keep them away & stop them breeding:
- Burn scents they hate on BBQs or in candles, incense sticks or infusers e.g. rosemary, sage.
- Spray yourself with scents they hate e.g. lavender, mint.
- Use quick DIY fly trap jars.
- Avoid standing water.
- Keep pond water moving with an aerator or bubbler.
- Put a fan on outside tables & by your back door.
- Cook garlic on BBQ – they hate it.
- Drink mint tea – so you smell minty, which they hate.
- Hang old fashioned lace curtains just like grandma used to!
- Plant flowers & herbs they hate.
But if you have big mosquito problems check out this big guide to repelling mosquitoes.
Mosquito Repellent Candles
Mosquito repellent candles are a great hack for summer evenings but you don’t have to fork out for them.
You can easily make them with just :
- Empty jars
- Any of these mosquito repellent herbs you have to hand.
But you can also use basil as in these from The Country Chic Cottage:
You can also add lemon going spare from your drinks or if you have it a few drops of citronella oil as in these versions from Bunch of Posies …
DIY Bug Spray
Simple DIY bug spray is a must know hack for keeping bugs away in the backyard, camping or anywhere your kids are having fun outdoors.
All you need to make your own is :
- Small spray bottle
- Witch hazel (also a great natural treatment for blackheads!!)
- PLUS any combo of essential oils bugs hate the smell of
- OR herb tea.
There’s some great tips here from One Essential Community on how to make bug spray with essential oils.
- Seep a handful of herbs in boiled water for 3 or 4 minutes
- Leave to cool (shove in fridge if you’re short on time)
- Combine in spray bottle with equal parts of witch hazel
- Shake well to combine
You can then spray all over but making sure to keep away from eyes.
Natural Bug Balm
If you really struggle with bug bites you can make your own bug balm.
The simplest trick is to add a few drops of essential oils in scents bugs hate to a big dollop of sun cream in your hands. Lightly rub together to combine then use on bare arms and legs but NOT your face.
If you are up for making simple potions, you can make this quick bug balm from Wendy Polisi …
Mosquito Bite Treatments
If you do get bitten there are lots of natural mosquito bite remedies in your kitchen for fast relief.
Ice cubes and honey are your best bug bite treatments but you can use everything from lemon juice to raw potato or banana skin!!
If you are going camping, hiking or off on an outdoor adventure take aloe vera gel or witch hazel.
For a big list of bug bite remedies read this bug bite treatment guide …
Wasp Repelling Plants
Wasp stings can be nasty and wasps in the garden seriously distressing.
One of the best hacks for getting rid of wasps is planting stuff they hate.
For more herbs, flowers and bigger hedging plants check out this guide to the best wasp deterrent plants from Five Spot Green Living …
Wasp Repellent Spray
A simple DIY wasp repellent spray will also help keep wasps away.
You can spray yourself – carefully – and around tables and doorways.
Lots of common herbs repel wasps, so you can make a DIY wasp spray with an infusion of any of these in your kitchen cupboards :
- Fennel seed
Cloves are great at repelling wasps – as well as flies – but you may not want to spray yourself with them!!
Just combine equal parts of your infusion – basically a herb tea – with witch hazel in a small spray bottle.
Alternatively, essential oils fan can make this DIY wasp spray from Fivespot Green Living with clove, geranium & lemon grass oils …
Wasp Killer Spray
I do try not to kill bugs unless really essential but sometimes if wasps get in the house needs must.
You do have to be careful killing them as it is so easy to get stung.
But if they’ve landed on a hard surface I use my quick DIY fly spray …
DIY Wasp Trap
Unfortunately, it is hard to keep wasps out of the garden if like me you’ve got lovely sweet smelling fruit trees drawing them in.
So you may need to resort to a DIY wasp trap. BUT only put up if you have a problem else you’ll just attract more wasps into the garden.
The trap is simple to make :
- Take a large plastic bottle
- Cut off the neck
- Pop it upside down in the bottle to make a funnel as below
- Poke handle holes on either side of bottle with a screwdriver
- Remove funnel
- Add wasp bait (see below)
- Put funnel back in and tie string through holes to create a handle
- Hang the opposite end of the garden from where you want to sit!
Wasp Trap Bait
Different wasp trap baits work best at different times :
- Spring : combine cooked meat fat, water & a little dish soap. The meat fat attracts wasps when breeding.
- Mid–Late Summer : once fruit ripening use fruit juice or pieces of ripe fruit with dish soap.
The dish soap suffocates and prevents them flying so they get stuck in the trap.
Be very careful emptying trap in case live wasps still in there.
Quickly drop a tennis ball on top of the trap to block funnel over night. The wasps will be dead by morning. You can then flush them away.
Ant Repelling Hacks
Nothing, I tell you, ruins a summer morning more than an army of ants marching across your kitchen!!
I still have nightmares years later.
And the problem is lots of ant poison is toxic for other wildlife and pets.
But a few simple natural hacks can keep them at bay :
- Act fast on first sight of them inside
- Squidge any you see
- Thoroughly clean with dish soap where entering
- Wipe down with vinegar & let dry
- Create a “barrier” line on edge of floor where they are entering with :
- diatomaceous earth
- baking soda (bicarb)
- cornflour / cornmeal
- or crumbled chalk
- You can strengthen the barrier by mixing in these repellents :
- ground cloves
Once you’ve stopped ants coming in tackle the source outside. There’s simple practical tips in this guide to getting rid of ants naturally …
Natural Sunburn Treatments
It is easy to get sunburn in summer despite covering up carefully.
Oddly those days with a cooler breeze can be most lethal as we’re less aware how strong the sun is.
But luckily, lots of common kitchen ingredients are brilliant for easing pain & preventing blisters naturally.
I have got a big list here of natural sunburn remedies but my favourite for bad sunburn is an oat milk bath.
My super pale Scotch-Irish skin sizzles horribly but a cool oat milk bath really relieves the pain fast.
All I do is :
- Chuck in the blender a few tablespoons of oats
- Add a cup of tepid water
- Whizz smooth
- Pour into a cool to tepid bath deep enough to submerge burned area
- Relax in it for a good 15 minutes
For even more sun soothing power you can make this oat milk mix with added chamomile and lavender from Shaken Together Life …
And there you go, a big bunch of quick clever hacks for dealing with summer pests and problems naturally with stuff in your kitchen.
But before you go DO check out these fun summer hacks for kids outside.
Outdoor Fun For Kids
I love these summer hacks for outdoors play for kids because they are super fun but unbelievably easy to make so older kids can actually enjoy making them before enjoying playing with them. Win, win!!
DIY Garden Hose Sprinkler
This DIY garden hose sprinkler from Housing A Forest will entertain the whole family but can be put together fast without prior planning …
These bubble snakes are also super simple but super fun.
To make the snake you need :
- Plastic bottle
- Old sock
- Elastic band
- Dish soap bubble mixture
To make your snake :
- Cut off bottom of bottle
- Pull sock tight over bottle bottom
- Fix in place with elastic band
- Dunk bottle in bubble mixture
- Blow hard through bottle neck
- Watch your bubble snake wiggle through the bottom
Tic Tac Toe Stones
These DIY tic tac toe stones from Taryn Whiteaker. are a lovely way to make something with kids they can plan with outside all summer long.
And they couldn’t be simpler.
Just gather stones on a hike or the beach and spend an afternoon painting them any way you like.
Older kids can get arty but even tiny kids can make their mark.
Natural Paint Brushes
These lovely natural paintbrushes from Messy Little Monster are again a wonderful no prep activity kids of all ages can make and enjoy using.
Simply head outside to the back yard, park or woods :
- Gather leaves, grasses & flowers
- Plus a bundle of twigs
- Attach together with rubber bands
- And paint away!!
And for more super fun & easy ideas for painting outside with kids checkout this guide :
I really hope these simple hacks help you deal quickly and easily this year with all the challenges summer throws up so you have got more time to enjoy a summer of fun.
If you still need more help do check out these guides :
- How To Get Rid Of Flies
- How To Get Rid Of Ants
- How To Repel Mosquitoes
- Quick Remedies For Sunburn
- Quick Remedies For Bug Bites
- 101 Outdoor Activities For Kids