With the summer months fast approaching more people will be spending time outside doing their favorite activities with family, friends and invited guests.
There are many annoying and uninvited guests that show up especially in North Central Florida during the late spring and all summer long. Many of the common maladies of summer time are caused by bug bites. Some are harmless and some can be life threatening. Mother Nature comes to the rescue in many ways so you can enjoy the outdoors with out having to use harsh chemicals or other unnatural treatments to prevent bug bites from happening in the first place.
Instead of using an insecticide, buy or build a bat condo, yes a bat condo. Bats are natural born bug killers. One bat can eat more than 3,000 bugs in a night. Some bugs are detrimental to crops and indigenous flora, so the bat can help control bad bugs by consuming their weight and more each night. Visit http://www.floridabats.org/Bats to learn more about these amazing mammals and how beneficial they are for the environment.
Another natural method to keep the bugs away is to use a product that is cedar oil based. An EPA Review done 7/14/10 strongly indicates that Cedar Oil is non-toxic to terrestrial life, infants, people of all ages and pets. It is also environmentally safe to endangered terrestrial or aquatic species. Cedar oil is a unique non toxic product, low use volume, with high biodegradability.
The simplest and most effective way to get rid of fire ants is to pour scalding hot water right on the mound. Make sure the mound is completely saturated. This is a method I learned in Master Naturalist Training and found it to be very effective. Please use caution when doing this so as not to get burned by the hot water.
To repel mosquitoes, use lemon eucalyptus oil. To help alleviate the itch following a mosquito bite rub on lemon juice or white vinegar. And if those products are not handy, then rubbing your own saliva on the affected area may relieve the itching and scratching because our saliva acts as an antibiotic.
If you have a history of severe reactions to insect stings particularly bees, call emergency medical services immediately. Remove the stinger right away if it is still present. Gently scrape the skin with a credit card, your thumbnail, or a blunt knife. Don’t pinch or squeeze the area of the sting because it could release more venom. To help reduce swelling apply ice or cold packs to constrict the capillaries and reduce swelling.Clean the area with soap and water and apply a hydrocortisone cream or a mixture of baking soda and water.
If no other treatment is available, just scoop up a handful of mud and hold it on the sting until the mud dries or apply a slice of onion to the spot and hold it for a minute or so.
Ticks are a common nuisance and can be carriers of Lyme disease. A good way to avoid having a tick latch on to you is tuck your pants in your boots. Wear gloves in your yard if you are working with wood piles or raking leaves, etc. Wear light colored clothes so they can be seen and removed immediately. Lemon eucalyptus oil or rose geranium are excellent natural repellants for ticks. To kill a tick simply place it in plastic baggy and seal the baggy tightly. Ticks do not drown in water, so please do not flush them down the toilet.
If you are adventurous and want to create your own all natural bug repellent, the essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are;
•cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
•lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
•citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
•castor oil (mosquitoes)
•orange oil (fleas)
•rose geranium (ticks and lice)
Chemical bug repellants may work temporarily, however some bugs do build up an immunity to such products. And you are putting chemicals on your skin, which can be absorbed into your body. There are so many natural products to help enjoy the summer without being bugged out.
Be safe this summer and protect your family and pets from those annoying uninvited biting guests.