Natural, non-toxic outdoor pest control
Eliminating standing water goes a long way to curbing these suckers. Also try:
• planting lemongrass, also known as citronella;
• adding potted marigolds to seating areas — mosquitos hate their scent;
• combining one part cinnamon, castor oil or eucalyptus oil with ten parts alcohol for a homemade repellant spray; and
• applying concentrated garlic extract mixed with water and a binder like olive oil as a yard spray every two weeks.
Gnats breed in decomposing plant matter, so keep mulch and soil covered with a dry top layer. Also:
• add a few drops of dish soap to an open container of vinegar for a homemade gnat trap;
• keep damp, shady areas well-aerated to prevent fungal growth;
• dab vanilla extract on skin or clothing to keep swarms away; and
• try sodium vapor outdoor lighting to reduce attraction.
Ants don’t just invade picnics: they’re drawn to all sorts of garden plants. Halt their march by:
• spreading coffee grounds throughout planted areas — they hate the smell;
• drawing a line of chalk around doors, windows and other entry points (they won’t cross it);
• planting fragrant herbs like lavender, rosemary or sage, which ants find repulsive.