When Bugs Are Bug’n Ya … Remedies

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Post by Contributing Writer, Holly

Exodus 8:20b-21

20b) “… Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 21) Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand…” ‘ “

I love the detailed, historical account in the book of Exodus of how God rescued the enslaved Israelites out of the land of Egypt. After the 10th plague, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave.

I’ve read that story many times, and tried to picture what Egyptian homes, crops, and land looked like, covered in flies, locusts, and frogs of an epic proportion. What a sight it must have been. (If you’ve never heard the story, you can read it here.)

Summer is a time we deal with many insects – gratefully, not to the extent the Egyptians did! However, even small numbers of aphids, flies, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, and ants can make for an unpleasant time spent outdoors.

Here are some easy chemical-free ways to manage unwanted insects.

Beneficial Insects

Some insects eat and destroy plants, while other insects eat the insects that eat and destroy plants. The latter are garden-friendly beneficial insects.

A popular beneficial insect is the ladybug. A ladybug’s lifespan is about one year, and in that short period of time, it can eat approximately 5,000 aphids (definitely a “bad bug”). Ladybugs also eat mites and other insects.

You can order beneficial insects online, to help naturally control the pests in your garden.

(Most ladybug species are considered beneficial. There’s a small percentage that eat plants, and are considered pests.)

Clear Plastic Bags of Water

Bags of water are said to significantly reduce the number of flies in an area. There are a couple theories as to why this is effective. One theory is that the fly observes a crazy prism display as the light bounces off the water and back to their compound eyes. It confuses or startles them, so they stay away.

A woman at work said she used to place bags of water on the picnic tables at the fairgrounds, and it worked.

Pure vanilla

Photo Credit

Vanilla Extract

For a simple and natural mosquito repellent recipe, click here. I’ve also heard it works on a particular fly, but I don’t recall which fly. It smells good, too.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Okay, this isn’t exactly chemical-free, but close. Fabric softener sheets are said to repel mosquitoes and yellow jackets. My next-door neighbor likes to keep a softener sheet in her shirt pocket to keep the mosquitoes away. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that mail couriers are encouraged to keep a softener sheet on them to protect them from yellow jackets.


Bats truly are amazing. They’ll eat more insects in a single week than probably any bug zapper would kill in an entire year … maybe even its factory lifetime. I’ve seen bats up-close and personal, and they’re fascinating to watch. Building a bat house is one way to encourage them to stick around.


Like a comfortable breeze, a fan keeps the mosquitoes away. That’s what we use when enjoying time on our front porch. It keeps us cool, and the mosquitoes stay out of the path of the airflow. It’s very effective.

Olive Oil

If you have an ant problem with your hummingbird feeder, apply olive oil to the shepherd’s hook/post. If your feeder is suspended from a tree, apply it to the hanger. You can also apply it to the surface of the feeding ports. The slick surface will make it difficult for ants to crawl over it.

These are just a few of many chemical-free ways to control unwanted bugs.

What chemical-free methods do you use in your garden or backyard?

Holly is a wife to her loving husband, John, and a “mother” of 3 canine “children.” She loves sharing her faith, gardening, and fascination and appreciation of animals (birds, bats, butterflies, and the cute furry ones too) over at Your Gardening Friend.

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7 comments to When Bugs Are Bug’n Ya … Remedies

  • I love this type of post! So helpful in the summertime (or year-round here in Costa Rica). We’ve found another ant bait recipe that works well too. It’s a combo of boric acid (found in the pharmacy) and sugar water. Works like a charm! Thanks for sharing.


    Holly Reply:

    Thanks, Jelli. And thanks for sharing your ant bait tip too.


  • Melissa

    I use almost all of those ideas. I also love the picture of the ladybug. Did you take it?


    Holly Reply:

    The ladybug photo IS beautiful, isn’t it?! Nope, I didn’t take it. I wish I was that good at photography. :)

    If you click on the link below the ladybug photo, you can visit the website where I found it, and see other photos by the same photographer.


  • Heather

    Visiting from YGF. I hadn’t heard of a few of these ideas, so glad to know them, especially since my husband seems to be a really tasty treat for mosquitoes. He detects them and gets eaten up before we even notice them. I never realized that a breeze or a fan would help keep them away. I didn’t know about vanilla either. Thanks.


    Holly Reply:

    So glad to hear that some of these ideas are new for you to try. Hopefully one or more of the mosquito repellents will work on your husband with the [apparently] yummy blood. 😉


  • Thanks Holly WOW. I don’t know weather I’m gonna bake a cake of get rid of some pests. Such an awesome article. Thank you for sharing. Pest pest pest. Such a nuisance but we need them. Have a pleasant day.


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