There are a few things that can really make your backyard an unpleasant place to be, and one of those is definitely bug bites! Here are some tips on bug bite prevention and remedies. They will help you be able to take back your backyard and use it without fear of pests!
When we moved to San Antonio we were NOT prepared for the horrible reality of mosquitoes. We were kind of sort of prepared for the giant cockroaches (Ugh). The cicadas are kind of cool. (Fire ants caught us totally off guard!). But those biting bugs are a real pain!
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to deal with biting bugs. What’s the point of yard if you can’t actually use it!
Tips for Bug Bite Prevention (and Remedies!)
The best thing you can do is to try to not get bit in the first place. For some areas, using a DEET based repellent is the only option that works. My kids and I have tried the long sleeves and pants thing and we’ve had mosquitoes bite us THROUGH our clothes. Some people have great success with making their own bug spray from essential oils. Of course you can always try buying one pre-made.
Try to cut down on the number of bugs living and breeding in your yard. Wide spread pesticides are not a great option, especially for gardeners. However, you can make your yard a little less attractive to pests in other ways.
For mosquitoes, empty out any potential water sources like buckets or trash. Cover any openings to your rain barrels with mesh. Also, empty your chicken water regularly or make sure to use a covered waterer.
When we moved into this house, broken PVC remnants of an old irrigation system were half buried all over the yard. Those were prime mosquito breeding grounds. We also added bucket traps along our fence lines. These have been helpful, because we also have some neighbors that don’t keep their yards cleaned up.
Ticks and Chiggers
If you have ticks or chiggers in your yard, try running your chickens through to eat them up. Guinea fowl are particularly good at managing them. Click here to read the related post Pros and Cons of Raising Guinea Fowl. Chiggers and ticks prefer shady, overgrown areas and brush piles. Try to keep areas of the yard that you use frequently well trimmed and cleaned up.
If fire ants are the bane of your existence, they need the opposite conditions. They thrive in hot, sunny landscapes and will not as commonly build nests in damp, shady areas. By far the best way to control fire ants is to sprinkle ant bait directly on the mound (NOT broadcasted!). Click here to read How To Discourage Fire Ants In Your Garden.
Bug Bite Remedies
If you do get bitten, try not to scratch at the bites. This is easier said than done, for sure! Get some ice or aloe vera onto that bite immediately to help it not be as painful.
If you have a tick on you, pull it out with tweezers by grasping it as close to the skin as possible. For chiggers, take a hot shower with soap and water and wash all your clothing in hot water as well. If you were stung by a bee, scrape out the stinger with a fingernail or credit card.
For some reason my son is a mosquito target. Several of the kids will go out to play and he will come back covered in bites. He will also scratch himself until he has open wounds. For him, an immediate ice pack and calamine lotion are a great combination. Even if he has scratched his skin, the calamine will not sting.
For some people a baking soda paste or a benadryl cream are the most effective options. My husband prefers these for his bites, as he is particularly sensitive to venom and toxins of all sorts.
There are other popular home remedies that I have not tried personally. Some people swear by essential oils. Both peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil are recommended for bug bites.
Plantain leaves could be a really easily available remedy in a pinch. If you get a bite and have plantain available, crush up the leaves and apply over the top. One remedy I discovered while writing this article is toothpaste! Minty toothpaste is supposed to have a soothing effect. I’m all for multipurpose items so I’ll definitely be trying this out.
Bug bites can be a real pain and make it very difficult to enjoy your time outside. Hopefully these tips help you to enjoy your backyard even when it’s not perfect.
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