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Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

Last post Jun 29, 2008 7:07 PM by marasmom . 25 replies.


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  • Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    Hey everybody, my husband loves to fish and lately the gnats, mosquitoes, and flies have been just awful! They get to me when I go outside to tend to my flower beds too.

     We bought several different products to keep the bugs away including deep woods off, and none of the commercially made products are working.

     A friend of his who is an avid fisherman told him to go to the grocery store or Dollar General and buy a bottle of cheap IMITATION vanilla. He said to either put it into a small spray bottle and spray it on, or you can just pour it into your hands and wipe it on. We got a big bottle of it at Dollar General for $1.00 and it really works! Be careful not to get it on your clothes as it may leave a stain.

     My husband has to reapply it about every hour to hour and a half, but it works longer than that for me. (Probably his body chemistry, we can be sitting next to each other outside and for every 1 mosquito bite I get, he gets 10! )

    I always worry about poisoning myself or my kids when we use  the Off stuff because of the Deet in  it, so this seems like a great alternative, plus it's really cheap and it smells good too!

     I'm wondering if a vanilla scented candle would help when we are sitting out on our patio, I'm going to try that out and I'll let everybody know how it works. KC:)

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I read a while back that you can keep bugs away by spraying Listerine around the area you would be sitting. I haven't tried it yet, but it is some thing that could work as well. If it does work the listerine would be preferable to using some of the commercial bug sprays.

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    What a fantastic idea!  I'll have to give that a try.  I was planning a trip to the dollar store within the next week, so I'll try to find a big bottle of Vanilla.   My son and I are always being bitten. :-)

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    Vanilla would cretainly smell much better than many of the bug sprays around. 

     

     Avon, Skin So Soft also works quite well.

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    Doesn't that vanill make you sticky?

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    tkayf
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    The imitation vanilla didn't make us sticky, but  using the pure vanilla extract  might make a person sticky. I looked at my bottle of McCormick pure vanilla extract and it has corn syrup listed as one of the ingredients.

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I buy the Jerry Baker books, he's a gardening expert. I believe he had a radio program and a tv show (on PBS?) He has a lot of "recipes" (he calls them "tonics") made up of common household products that you can mix up and spray on your grass, vegetable plants, flowers etc. The stuff you mix up gets rid of bugs, helps to fertilize etc. Household stuff like dish soap, vinegar, peroxide, compost tea etc. One of his "tonics" included listerine. It was for keeping bugs away. It also called for lemon scented dish soap. We mixed it up and put it into a hose end sprayer and sprayed down the bushes, grass and the patio when we were having friends over for a bar-b-que. It smelled good, and it did work but not all day. Once it dried the flys, gnats and mosquitoes came back although not as many of them. I do think it was worth my trouble to make it up. 

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I use the Skin So Soft, and I have had very good results with it. If I'm going  fishing with my husband for a day, I use the Skin So Soft. The smell stays strong for a long time, and when I get back home I'm usually hot and sweaty so I take a shower and get it off of me. If I'm home or going to have some friends over, I just use the imitation vanilla. I'm not really fond of the Skin So Soft fragrance.

     

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I have never used the skin-so-soft but heard its great.  We have misquitoes really bad on our carport why we do not know.  So I am anxious to try this vanilla thing.  I have heard that taking Joy Lemon Scented dish soap mixed with water and sparying yoru lawn will work as a flea and tick killer.  I have a very large yard so not sure how much it would take I would like to know the ratio of soap and water.  Right now we are fighting ants.  I think our house was built on a anthill.  I have bought the Torro stuff but seems like it dosen't phase them anymore. I have heard that putting cinnomon out works cause they will not cross it.  But I cannot find where they are coming in at.  Any suggestions anyone?

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    becca5775

    I have never used the skin-so-soft but heard its great.  We have misquitoes really bad on our carport why we do not know.  So I am anxious to try this vanilla thing.  I have heard that taking Joy Lemon Scented dish soap mixed with water and sparying yoru lawn will work as a flea and tick killer.  I have a very large yard so not sure how much it would take I would like to know the ratio of soap and water.  Right now we are fighting ants.  I think our house was built on a anthill.  I have bought the Torro stuff but seems like it dosen't phase them anymore. I have heard that putting cinnomon out works cause they will not cross it.  But I cannot find where they are coming in at.  Any suggestions anyone?

    Hi Becca, do you or your neighbors have any containers sitting around collecting water? The mosquitoes will be bad in areas where they can lay their eggs in standing water. I dump out any standing water to prevent the eggs/larvae from becoming adult mosquitoes.

     I have a next door neighbor who had an awful problem with mosquitoes. She was always complaining about how bad they were. (We were getting some of them, but not near as many as she had) She had them really bad because she had a 24 ft above ground pool with 2 ft of standing water in it.(They basically just let the pool go and quit using it)

     I kept telling her that she needed to get rid of the pool if they weren't going to use it anymore in order to rid themselves of the mosquito problem. Finally, after 2 or 3 yrs, she got rid of the pool and we have seen a dramatic decrease in the mosquito population.

    You can use mosquito dunks to get rid of them in areas where you can't drain the water. Our county gives them  free to residents to lower the mosquito populations in rural areas. I think I've seen them at Lowe's too.

    I've heard that sprinkling instant grits around the ant hills kills the ants, not sure how that works. I'm using the Terro outdoor ant baits in my flower beds with great success, but they have gotten SO EXPENSIVE!! I'm going to start making my own recipe for that stuff to save money. It's basically sugar water and 5% boric acid. I posted about that recipe recently, but I still haven't tried it out yet.

    As far as the anthills in my yard, we've had success with commercially made insect killing granules. We had to treat the yard for fleas and ticks anyway. sometimes it takes 2 applications about a month apart to get rid of most of the hills.

    I was in Wal-Mart a few days ago buying a bag of the granules. A man was standing next to me picking out a bag also. He told me he quit buying the granules that claim that you only have to apply it once for the whole season, he said it didn't last the whole season. Plus those are more expensive.

    I don't like using the chemicals on my lawn, but the granules are the only thing I've found so far to get the fleas and ticks under control. I DO NOT use the granules in my flower beds because it also kills off my earthworms, and they are a gardener's friend. I just use the ant baits in my beds so it just kills the ants.

    You  have to look around your home's foundation for the ant trails, (I know you've probably done that already) sometimes I can't find where they are coming in either. I wonder if maybe they have their hills in the crawlspace under my house and they are climbing up the inside of the foundation walls?

    Even with the granule application and ant baits in the flower beds, I still have to use the Terro stuff indoors and let them carry it back to their nests. Last summer, it took 2 months of letting them eat that bait indoors to finally stop seeing them in the house!!

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I have a problem with those little sugar ants!  They are on my kitchen counters and bathroom sinks!  I guess they just want water.  I keep those areas clean.  Once, I used bottled lemon juice as a counter rinse but left it watery to dry into the lemon.  That helped a little.  Then I read that you take a small container and fill it with vinegar and apple juice.  That's pretty much to keep fruit flies away (gnats).  I like the vanilla, though I haven't tried it yet.  I shall tomorrow!  They also say if you are outside to hang a Bounce sheet somewhere on your clothing.  One of the TV shows is selling a product containing mint - so maybe that's another trick?

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    My husband tried the dryer sheet trick. A fishing buddy told him to put a sheet of it under his hat. It worked a little but not near as good as the imitation vanilla.

    I think since everybody's body chemistry is different, what works for one person may not work for the next.

    My sister has tried EVERYTHING and she found that the only thing that worked for her was a product made by Burt's Bees. It was an oil in a little spritzer bottle that had lemon oil, and some other herbal oils in it (I think it may have had mint too). I bought some to keep on hand when she visits me and I tried it. It didn't work for me.

    I can be sitting next to my husband and for every 1 bite I get, he gets 10! He just has a body chemistry that they LOVE! I can understand that, he really is quite loveable!!

     I'm going to get some reasonably priced strongly scented vanilla candles to use the next time we gather on our patio and see how that works. I love vanilla so if it doesn't work, I'll just burn them in the house. It's so nice outside today, I'm going to get some stuff done in the flower beds and such so I'll be splashing on my vanilla later. Have a great day!

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    I have the little red ants in my area and this method works quite well and is very safe to have in your yard.  Watch the weather forecast and when there is going to be a few days of dry weather, sprinkle Malt-O-Meal (this is the quick-cooking hot wheat cereal) cereal granules around the yard and particularly near anthills.  The ants take the granules into the nest to share with the rest of the ants. After the granules are ingested and they have a drink of water, the water makes the granules swell.  No more ants.  Just watch your weather forecast because you need to give the ants time to collect the granules before a rain dissolves the granules and wastes your efforts. 

     Another method that I have tried and found very interesting to watch is to pour a line of baby powder around all entry points, such as windows and doors.  The red ants will not cross that line. 

    I do not have the big black ants, so I don't know if the Malt-O-Meal will help for ants that big.  Maybe using a bigger granule-type such as granulated tapioca would do the trick?

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  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    Hey ya'll, I've been working on solving bug problems again and being frugal at the same time. This time it's the flies I'm trying to get rid of.

     Last summer the fly problem was awful. EVERY TIME we went outside to sit on our covered patio, we would have to get out the fly swatters and each time we would kill about 30 flies! They were biting my poor dogs ears too.

     We couldn't figure out where all these flies were coming from, we didn't have full trash cans sitting out or really anything that would attract flies (except for our dogs)

    We wondered if the thick vegatation (woody vines, Privet, etc) between our fence and our neighbors fence might be a shady "haven" for flies. This spring we got out and cut down everything growing in between the fences and then put brush b gone on the cut stumps so they wouldn't re-sprout.

    Well, that was a smart move because we don't have near as many this time. (I found out recently from a goat farmer that the flies prefer shaded areas, and that's where they lay eggs.)

    However, we are still being pestered when we try to go out and enjoy the patio, and the flies are attacking my dogs again.

    I went online and googled "how to make homemade fly traps" I found  some easy recipes for the "attractant" and I made the traps out of empty 2 liter soda bottles.

     I removed the caps, then cut the tops off the bottles just below the bottle's "shoulders". Then I inverted the bottle top (so that the bottle opening is pointing down into the bottle), and I used a stapler to staple the inverted top to the bottle so it wouldn't slip down inside the bottle. The flies fly down into the the inverted top to get to the attractant, but they can't get back out.

    My husband suggested that I put that NASTY stinky catfish bait in the bottom of the bottles (I think it's made of leftover crab parts?). I did and I added about 2.5 inches of water ( so the flies will drown) I punched some holes in the top of the traps and pulled some string through the holes to hang them.

    I kept checking the traps every day for dead flies. I got a few, but it wasn't really working. The NASTY stinky catfish bait had started to FERMENT (GROSS!) and was even smellier, but  the flies weren't interested. I knew I had to try something different, so that's when I went online and found how to make the attractant.

    The recipe I found was 3 cups water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (supposedly, this is to keep honey bees from flying into the trap) and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix all together then put about 2.5 inches of it into the traps. Hang the trap no higher than about 4 feet off the ground.The flies are going to this stuff like you wouldn't believe!! It doesn't STINK either.

    I made up 5 traps last night before I went to bed, and by 4:00pm today, I had at least 6 or 7 flies in each of the ones I hung up in the shade. The one I have on my patio had about 12 flies in it at last count. I even saw some gnats and mosquitoes in them. When the traps fill up with dead flies, you just toss it into the trash and make new ones.

    Last summer we went out and bought those disposable fly traps that you add water to. They have a stench that smells like something DEAD. They do work well, but you don't want to be having a bar b que, and then have that smell ruin your guests appetite. Plus, they cost about $5.00 each and we needed 4 or 5 of them, so making these myself saves me a lot.

    On a different note, out of curiousity, I put some of the imitation vanilla on my dogs. (Not a lot, just on the ears and the fur, not on their skin) it worked for a while, but the flies got back on them within a few hours. Oh well, now I know. I put on gloves, squirted some of the frontline spray onto my gloved hands and rubbed the spray onto their heads, ears, and just gave their body a light spray. That seems to work, but only for a few days. Hope everybody has a great weekend!

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    K.Coats
  • Re: Keeping bugs away from you, CHEAP, easy and it smells good too!

    Hi I haven't been on the comp. much lately. KC did you try the vanilla scented candles out on your patio?  Did it work?

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    tkayf