Surprising Ways to Get Rid of Bugs at your Next Outdoor Party

Last week I tackled the question of whether or not yellow bug lights actually work to reduce the swarms of insects you usually see around a light. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the cliff notes: Yes, they do. But you’re going to need more in your arsenal.

How to Deter Those Pesky Pests

I’m one of those lucky few that seem to attract every mosquito within a 5 mile radius (my Daddy used to say it was because I was ‘so sweet’ 🙂 ). There are a handful of methods that have always been my first plan of attack: Citronella candles, dousing myself with insect body spray, and even employing the use of wonderfully entertaining bug zappers. But I’ve recently learned that there are some highly effective, though less-common methods of bug-banishment that many people swear by:

Bring out the Big Guns

Unleash your inner Clint Eastwood with this salt-laden bug obliterator. The Bug-a-Salt fires a lethal grade of table salt to destroy its winged victims.

Bug-a-Salt sprayer

Did You Know? Opt for LED light bulbs in your outdoor fixtures. Insects are attracted to high levels of ultraviolet light. Though any light will attract some bugs, LED’s emit almost no UV light, so they don’t attract as many insects as a regular bulb would. Incandescent & CFL ‘bug lights’ also attract less insects by using yellow bulbs to change the color temperature that bugs can see. (Read more in Bug Lights: Do They Work?)

A glass sphere that deters flies.
via Design Milk

Reflective Water Reservoirs

Urban food markets in Mexico often use plastic bags full of water to deter flies. The lights and shadows refracted from the water confuses the flies and scares them away.  In this post, Design Milk showcases a way to implement these eco-friendly repellents in true designer fashion.

TIP  For an affordable take on this decorative repellent, DIY your own hanging sphere by repurposing an old light bulb to use as a water reservoir. Some sites even suggest adding pennies to the water for more reflection.

Dryer Sheets

Aside from cleaning baseboards and toilet seats (thank you, Pinterest!) dryer sheets with fabric softener also repel bees. Putting a few in your pocket or taping them under the picnic table deters bees from your barbecue.

Go Heavy on the Garlic

Apparently Count Dracula isn’t the only blood-sucker that has a distaste for garlic. Spraying a mixture of garlic powder & water on your plants and lawn will send mosquitos elsewhere (and as a bonus, it also repels any lurking vampires). Interestingly, so does its counter-measure when sprayed on the body: Listerine.

DIY Mason Jar Luminaries with Rosemary, Lemon and Lime
DIY Bug Repellent Mason Jar Luminaries via A Little Clarification

Vanilla, Basil and Mint Cups

It sounds like a new gourmet ice-cream flavor more than a fly deterrent, but Fresh Eggs Daily says this sweet little combo will thwart flies extremely well. Another flavor-filled insect repellent is a mixture of Lemon, Lime and Rosemary. This Pinner floated candles on top of the mixture and turned them into luminaries!

Get them Drunk

(The bugs, not your guests.) I’m not sure how it actually works, but apparently insects don’t like vodka. Combine it with vinegar and an essential oil like lavender to mask the smell and spray away!


How About You? Do you have any tried-and-true insect deterrents that you recommend? Comment below!

Renee Carlson

Renee Carlson

Renee specializes in digital marketing & content development for Pegasus Lighting. When she's not blogging about all-things-light, you’ll find her nestled in the ‘burbs of Raleigh with her husband & three active boys, getting lost in her Kindle, tackling a long list of home improvement projects, or cheering on the Carolina Panthers.