Ahhh Summertime cottage living, camping, sitting by the lake, lounging by the pool, drinks on the patio, paddling in the canoe, there is so much to do out-of-doors when the days are long and the weather is warm. It’s a wonderful time to be outside being active and enjoying nature, if you can handle the insects.

But how do you take advantage of the great outdoors without getting eaten alive or spraying yourself with neurotoxins? Here are some helpful tips and product recommendations that will take the sting out of summer insects and keep you safe.

Keep Covered.

It’s a challenge when the mercury rises, but do you best to keep your skin covered. Wear a hat; keep your legs covered; wear socks; and choose lightweight long-sleeved shirts in light colours to repel mosquitos. Mosquitos like heat, dark colours absorb heat and light colours reflect the heat. Also consider staying indoors in the early morning hours and at twilight to avoid mosquito feeding times. Another tip for the hot summer days; run a fan to keep cool and blow away the black flies.

Stop Screaming, Start Screening.

Make sure that all open windows and living spaces have screens to let the outdoors in and keep the mosquitos out. Whether you’re in a tent, under a canopy, or in your home, make sure you have screens in place.

Food for Thought.

There are a number of foods that you should add to your summer menu that will help fend off unwanted pests. Garlic is widely known as a natural insect repellent eat lots and rub garlic on your body to keep mosquitos away but don’t be too aggressive or nobody will want to get near you! Choose low-potassium fruits and veggies like blueberries, apples, watermelon, cucumbers, cabbage, and green peppers. A regular regimen of apple cider vinegar is supposed to deter insects, you’ll know why when you taste it!

Bring in the Beeswax.

When the evening arrives and the mosquitos are out in full force, light up a beeswax candle and slip a couple of drops of citronella in to send the insects in the other direction.

Go Fragrance-Free.

Leave the fruity and floral perfumes and fragrances in the bathroom cupboard and go fragrance-free. When you’re showering, bathing, or fixing your hair, lay off the scented product. Also think about scented products like dryer sheets, laundry liquid, and fabric softeners that you use that may attract pests choose scent-free options for best results.

Begin with a Base.

When you are getting ready to start the day, consider using shampoos and soaps that contain essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, or lemon. Grassroots Store Manager, Magenta Suzanne, recommends starting the day with a “base layer of soaps and shampoos that contain natural essential oils that repel mosquitos. These products will help increase the effectiveness of other natural repellents that you are using”. Suzanne recommends the following products, especially for kids on their way to summer camp:

  1. Dr Bronners Peppermint Castille Soap
  2. Citrobug Moisturizing Outdoor Cream for Sensitive Skin
  3. EcoTrail Certified Organic Shampoo/Shower Gel with Sandalwood and Cedar

These Oils are Essential.

There are many natural essential oils that have been proven to deter the mighty mosquito. Magenta Suzanne from Grassroots recommends incorporating Peppermint, Lavender, and Citronella into products to act as natural repellents. A couple of drops on a candle, in your soap or moisturizer, or on your backpack (test a small, discreet area first) will help drive away pests.

Spray On and Bug Off.

There are a number of ready-to-use natural solutions that smell nice and are safe and easy to apply. The current best-sellers at Grassroots include:

  1. Take A Hike Outdoor Joose
  2. Eucalyptus Herbal Body Oil
  3. Palmarosa Outdoor Spray

Store Manager, Magenta Suzanne, recommends frequent application of natural insect repellents to maintain effectiveness throughout the day. She also recommends the Outdoor Essentials Roll On as a natural “after bite” treatment to soothe and calm itches.

Ditch the chemicals and fragrances and go natural this summer. Outdoor summer fun should begin with safe, natural products that will repel insects and allow you to enjoy the season. Go natural in nature!

About the Author

Rob Grand is a leading advocate, spokesperson, and educator on green lifestyle products and issues. Rob has appeared in every major print, radio, and television media outlet in Canada including CBC, the Globe & Mail, and Canadian House & Home. He has also served as a Director of over a dozen environmental non-profit organizations and is the Founder and Director at

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