It’s time to stretch your weary winter legs, and spring is a beautiful season to begin enjoying the great outdoors once again. The trees are green with budding leaves, flowers are blooming everywhere you look, and watermelon just tastes better when the sun is hot and shining.

But with the warm weather of spring comes a few uninvited guests you don’t want hanging around your family picnic. Keep the ants, flies, and mosquitoes away naturally with a homemade insect repellent and a handful of other simple—but effective—solutions.

The scent of vinegar, citrus, cloves, and some essential oils, like peppermint and tea tree, deter ants and flies. If you have a hard surface to bear down on, like a deck or patio, a heavy line of chalk will help keep ants away from your annual barbecue.

Flies and mosquitoes hate the smell of certain herbs commonly found in the garden or kitchen, including basil, mint, and rosemary. Similarly, citronella candles and torches will help keep mosquitoes at bay as spring turns into summer and are widely available across department stores.

Tip: If the natural approach isn’t enough, take back your backyard and enjoy a bug-free season with the help of a Best Pick mosquito control company.

Infographic on Natural Solutions to Keep Bugs Away from Your Picnic

Natural Bug Repellant Spray:

  • 7 drops citrus oil (or 3 drops clove oil)
  • 15 drops peppermint oil
  • 15 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake thoroughly to mix before each use. Spray the solution onto the ground surrounding your picnic to help keep ants and other bugs at bay.

Herbs: Place potted herbs around your picnic. Basil and lavender help keep flies away from food; mint, lemongrass, and rosemary repel mosquitoes.

Chalk: Draw a chalk line around the edges of your patio or porch to keep ants away naturally. Repeat as necessary to create a thick barrier.

Citronella: Light several citronella candles or place torches around the perimeter of the area to deter mosquitoes.