Don’t put up with the aggression any longer – fight back with a natural insect reppellent 

Friday 01 Aug, 2014 

  • Are you prepared to face the stings and teeth of the invading armies?

  • Get the 8 home grown tips to avoid a ruined snooze in the garden

  • Bust a Bug today!


Nature seems to have a balance to it.

There is a reason for everything to be here either as part of the food chain or to help other organisms exist in places where they would struggle otherwise.

So if that’s the way nature works where do wasps fit in? Or the plague of horrible biting insects that are blighting my garden at the moment?

These nasty bugs don’t seem to have any beneficial reasons to be here... they just taunt me.

Just when I sit out with a newspaper and a glass of iced delight squadrons of murderous creatures are lying in wait for me.

Banzai warriors with stinging bottoms and huge teeth lurk under the apple trees, by the lavender bushes and around my favourite shady spots.

Why has nature created such vile creatures?

Clearly they must be there for a purpose, acting as part of the symbiotic web that makes my garden flourish... but they don’t half annoy me!

More importantly where the little blighters have managed to get through my defences they are leaving huge angry red lumps on my skin that itch like crazy – especially in bed.
So here are a few handy tips you might like to try if your garden siestas are being interrupted:

8 handy ways to keep the bugs at bay

1) Citronella; This oil is absolutely brilliant for keeping the mossies and other creepy crawlies at bay, but you have to buy pure 100% oil rather than the aromatherapy type which just isn’t effective. I mix mine with lamp oil and burn it in an outdoor lamp or mix up 50:50 sprays with lavender oil to zap any winged monsters that happen into my vicinity... makes the garden smell divine.

2) Garlic; One that needs no further introduction to any loyal Good Life Letter reader, this is a truly potent way to keep a clear space around you – eat plenty, have crushed bulbs of it on the table with a little oil poured over it or again make up your own spray by steeping crushed garlic bulbs in oil... doesn’t have the same fragrant qualities as the citronella but it works!

3) Soy oil; One that I found after a bit of research. A paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that repellents made of soybean oil are just as effective as chemical repellents (including the highly dangerous DEET ones). Soy oil is inexpensive and easy to find, making it an excellent choice. Plus, it is a rather good body moisturiser. As an aside, research shows that an ingredient in soy can slow the growth of body hair when applied topically (always a handy tip for the hirsute gentleman of a certain age!).  Choose organic soy oil if possible since many soy crops are now genetically-modified.

4) Black pepper; Another bit of research has shown that an extract of black pepper is effective in repelling all sorts of insects (the study used an alcohol extract but black pepper essential oil would probably work too). I like the idea of using a pepper spray on the critters that invade my garden, a bit like an American cop in a riot – maybe I have been eating a bit too much cheese!

5) Catnip; This is a member of the mint family and has the unfortunate effect of driving cats wild as it seems to have a hallucinogenic impact on them... still the sight of a moggie doing a weird trancy dance adds to the family entertainment! A clump of this plant by your favourite seat allows you to brush your hand through it and release a fragrant cloud which definitely deters any flying or crawling insects.

6) Cucumber; A remedy that my ageing neighbour swears by is to put a few strips of cucumber out around his patio and he says he never gets bothered by wasps (I suspect he flicks them into my garden!).  It sounds odd, but the acid in this salad vegetable does deter wasps and other insects, as well as helping soothe any bites you might get.

7) Jam jar traps; Surely your Nan used these as well? Just get an old honey or jam jar that still has residue in it and fill with a soap solution to a third of the way up the jar. Put these at strategic points around the garden and empty them of their victims regularly.

8) Nicotine; Oh the heady days when everyone used to smoke, and even the pub was a fuggy room... bizarrely this used to act as a powerful insect repellent (maybe because they were all anti-smoking long before we caught on!).  Now though you can make your own tobacco oil spray by soaking a pack of tobacco in oil for a few days, straining it and using it as a spray – if that doesn’t appeal other relations like tomato plants can be used, just chop up the leaves and steep in oil to get a useful spray.

The other alternative though is...

Make use of something that even the voracious Scottish midges quail at the sight of.

A proven bug buster of great renown which contains; Citronella, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Aloe vera and Chickweed.

This means that it is not just effective for keeping bugs away, but also soothes any nasty bites that you may have already got... in my case when a night out at a friend's this week means that my knees now look like a relief map of the Himalayas!

Yours, as always


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