Ahh, summer! The sun, the water, the good food…the mosquitoes, bees, and other creepy crawlies. You want to enjoy your time outdoors without getting stung or bitten, but you don’t want to subject yourself or your family to harmful, harsh bug repellants. Are there any natural remedies that actually work?

Bee, hornet, or other stings. When stinging insects sting you, they inject venom into your skin that causes swelling, itching and redness. To combat this, you can use several natural products. Baking soda mixed with a little water to make a thick paste will help neutralize the acid in bee venom. In a pinch, toothpaste with baking soda in it can be used, too. Good old ice is a tried and true method for stings of all kinds, and can provide immediate relief from soreness. If you’re dealing with a wasp sting, you’ll want to neutralize it with something acidic, like vinegar.

To avoid seeming attractive to stinging insects, don’t wear bright or floral patterned clothes. Forgo the heavy flower scented perfumes, too. Don’t forget, your shampoo, soap, or lotion could also attract insects.

Mosquito repellant and bites
. First, make your home as uninviting as possible for these pesky critters. Don’t leave any standing water around your yard, as this provides a great mosquito breeding ground. Foil their attempts to buzz into your home by putting screens on your windows and installing screen doors. Use fans to circulate the air, because it also helps blow mosquitoes away. If you’ve been bitten, there are several natural remedies that can relieve the irritation. Ice works well for mosquito bites, as does heat, for soothing the immediate itch. Essential oils like lavender or tea tree also do the trick. One surprising remedy? Honey, the byproduct of stinging bees! Dab a bit of raw honey right on the bite and feel the soothing power.

It’s impossible to enjoy summer if you spend all your time swatting bugs away or constantly scratching. Get outside and protect yourself from bites and stings without using products that will harm your health or the environment. You may even find yourself enjoying the company of those non-stinging and biting bugs like dragonflies, lightning bugs, and grasshoppers!