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7 Easy Tips That Will Help You Avoid Bug Bites

Avoid Bug Bites

When you think about it, summertime is a pretty rough season for skin. It’s tricky enough to avoid getting burnt to a crisp by the sun, but to avoid getting covered in bug bites too? It’s a lot to keep in mind! But no one wants to spend their summer getting eaten alive by mosquitos. So I thought I’d put together a few simple tips to help us all avoid those painful, itchy bites!

Some of the things in this list may land in the “common sense” category, but I was surprised by a couple of them! So even if you think you know all the tricks for avoiding bug bites, it never hurts to refresh your memory. :-) So here’s to us all remaining bite-free in the coming weeks. (Fingers crossed!)

Related: This Is What Solved My Mosquito Problems In My Backyard

7 Simple Tips For Avoiding Bug Bites

1. Keep It Breezy

Sitting near a fan is a simple and effective way to keep insects at bay. If the airflow is strong enough, bugs will have trouble navigating through it. And if bugs can’t get near you, they can’t bite you! You can find high-velocity fans that are perfect for patios online, like this one.

Avoid Bug Bites

2. Say No To Standing Water

Standing water is an open invitation for mosquitos and other pesky insects to invade your yard. Take a walk around your house and check for sources of standing water. Look for puddles, dips in your grass, anything that might hold water. Eliminate standing water to keep insects at bay. (And you don’t have to get rid of your bird bath—just put a water agitator one in it (like this one) to keep the water moving.)

Avoid Bug Bites

3. Use The Right Ingredients

When buying bug spray, make sure to check the active ingredients list. We all know that DEET is effective against mosquitos, but it’s not the only thing that works! Another effective ingredient is picaridin, which is similar to DEET but feels a bit less greasy. For a more natural option, look for products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus (also called OLE or PMD). The CDC recognizes DEET, picaridin, or OLE as effective active ingredients in insect repellents.

Avoid Bug Bites

4. Keep Calm & Chill Out

It turns out that some mosquitos are attracted by carbon dioxide (CO2). While we all exhale CO2 all the time, but we put off more of it under certain conditions. For instance, strenuous exercise will make you breath more heavily and increase your production of CO2. So if you find yourself out and about during peak mosquito hours, you can make yourself less of a target by breathing calmly and steadily.

Avoid Bug Bites

5. Know What Doesn’t Work

When it comes to repelling insects, some products just don’t work. Other products are mildly effective, but are much less effective than most spray repellents. Some of the products that struggle to perform effectively in tests include most wearable repellant products (like ultrasonic devices, etc.), skin patches, supplements, and eating bananas.

Avoid Bug Bites

6. Dress Properly

Mosquitos can easily bite you through breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. But tightly-woven fabrics can be a more effective barrier against bites. Wearing synthetic fabrics or athletic materials can be better if you want to avoid bites.

Another thing to keep in mind is that mosquitos can be attracted to bright or dark colors, like blue, red, and black. Wear lighter colors like white and khaki to avoid standing out.

Avoid Bug Bites

7. Avoid Peak Insect Hours

Finally, you can avoid a lot of insect bites simply by staying inside during the peak activity hours of dawn and dusk. These tend to be the least windy times of the day, which means it’s party time for biting bugs.

How do you keep the bugs at bay and avoid bites?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I work outside on a patio just off a lake in Oklahoma… man when I tell you we have mosquitoes I mean tons of them!!! But I have started wearing the ultrasonic insect repellent bracelets ( people always ask if I’m in house arrest though?? I’m mean house arrest?? I’m at work silly!!) but they truly do work!! And to make the bite quit itching I have a specific jar of Vicks with kosher salt in it to rub on it and it definitely makes it better fast!! And I also have Irish spring bars of soap laying around EVERYWHERE!!!!!
    I love this page and definitely love the great tips everyone shares!!!

  • Not extremely related, and a little late, but where is that “This is a good place” pillow from? I love it and would love one for my own “good place.”

  • Years ago we found that when camping that if we had a fire in the fire pit at night the smoke seemed to deter the bugs. Easy enough to shower off the smoke smell when we went in for the night. For any other times we use a homemade tea that smells great & really works – and that’s coming from the mosquito magnet herself. I’ve never had a bite using this. https://wellnessmama.com/2565/homemade-bug-spray/ is where I found the one we use. I just make a batch & keep it in the fridge in a small spray bottle & keep the rest in a repurposed witch hazel bottle. Just spray & play, then reapply a few hours later or if you notice bugs trying to land on you. We’ve never had to reapply it for our needs. Some may easily find the herbs in stores – like the catnip & cloves – others are easily found on Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs, or any other bulk herb site.

    1 tbsp lavender buds
    1 tbsp catnip
    1 tbsp peppermint
    1 tbsp spearmint
    5 whole cloves thrown into a jar
    1 cup boiling distilled water
    1 cup witch hazel


    Place herbs & boiling water in a & cover several hours or overnight. Strain herbs out and mix water with witch hazel. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place. Use as needed.

  • I have one daughter that is a mosquito magnet. They just love her. I used to get the Avon Skin-so-Soft body oil with the spray top and lightly spray her arms and legs before bedtime. (And her sister and me!) It worked great. Probably baby oil would work too; I don’t think they like the slightly slippery texture. Leaves your skin soft too.

    • It’s the scent they don’t like. You can also do your own version with essential oils and almond, fractionated coconut or jojoba oil (I find mineral oil clogs my pores). Any combo of citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, bergamot, peppermint and eucalyptus will keep the bugs at bay!! Some oils can’t be worn in the sun, like bergamot. I make a linen spray (OGT has a great recipe) with lavender and bergamot for bedtime and diffuse lemongrass, rosemary and orange throughout my house. If I’m outside, I make a spray oil with rosemary, peppermint and lavender ! Works like a charm and so much healthier.

    • Megan, Back when I had horses, we used Skin-so-Soft to spray the horses for mosquitoes. It worked on horse flies, too. Mixed it – 1 part Skin so Soft to 7 parts water. Shake before each use. Worked very well on us also.

  • It’s interesting about CO2 because my blood test shows I’m slightly on the acidic side. DEET doesn’t work for me at all! Neither does the other other one. I haven’t tried OLE, but if I’m eaten alive on the chemical grade ones, I don’t see how that would be much different. I know those candles and other chemical free options don’t work either.

  • I’ve heard that if you have what my family calls “sweet blood”, bugs are attracted to you more than other people. My dad & I have to make certain we have repellent on, or we get eaten alive. My mom & brothers, not so much! Something about blood type, one is more attractive to the bugs.

    Lavender essential oil works wonders on bug bites, takes the heat, itching and swelling out of your skin. I always wash a bite right away with soap and water, then the lavender…heals quickly for me. Hope this helps someone!

  • How about a post on what to do to soothe bites from mosquitos? I’ve been trying tear tree and witch hazel. Not sure it helps. Maybe it makes the bites go away a tad sooner.

  • Interesting.. I ve always had a problem with attracting them., A few years ago I finally broke down and bought one of those bug zapper devices. It has a little fan and you turn the device on and clip it to your clothes. It works. I was tired of having to wear the bug spray and the smell of the sprays.,Mymom for some reason never seems to get the mosquito bites.

    • So you don’t get bites anywhere with the clip on your clothes? I need to look into that, thanks! when mosquitos bite me they itch and swelling where the bite is last a really long time.

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