Tag Archives: Bugs

Avoid These Ingredients That Bugs Love

Family enjoying a picnic

You may have seen people eating bugs on TV.  If you have ever watched the Travel Channel, you may have seen Andrew Zimmerman, self-proclaimed “bug guy”, enthusiastically topping dishes of scallops and onions with sautéed bumblebees from Taiwan or white ants from Uganda  and heartily proclaiming how delicious they are.  In fact, Zimmerman will tell you that not only are these specimen delicious, they are a clean protein source, replenishable and free!  Well, you make a point, Zimmerman, and to each his own, but presuming you (the reader) prefer to keep your food and insects separate, here are some things you should probably leave out of your picnic basket.

If you like to crack the occasional brew while you enjoy your meal, you may be out of luck. Studies show that beer drinkers are likely to bring the bugs. In fact, even the consummation of one 12 oz beer is enough to bring on the swarm. This Bug’s For You?  Maybe not.

While you’re at it, you may want to leave out the bananas, prunes, raisins, lima beans, avocados and spinach.  All of these foods are rich in potassium which increases the lactic acid you release through your skin, and mosquitos are attracted to lactic acid.

And, bad news for salty snackers!  Chips, roasted, peanuts and crackers are high in sodium which also increases your lactic acid output.  “But what’s a picnic without the chips?” you ask.  Well, apparently, a bug-free one.

Also, you can forget about dessert.  Hey, we’re bummed about this one too!  It seems that the sweet smell of candy, cakes and pies can act as a magnet for dogs and mosquitoes, as well as humans.

Now, shall we check in with the bug baiters? According to the Mississippi Entomology Museum, tuna, hot dogs, and peanut butter will bring the ants, and it has been rumored, that these tiny invaders have a predilection for cheddar cheese as well, so you may want to leave that home.  And, I hope your not planning a romantic rendezvous complete with wine and grapes, unless you want to share your date with moths, beetles and flies.  Wines and fermented fruit are also among the foods associated with luring the evil buggers.

Ok, so let’s get this straight, no pb+j, no tuna sandwiches, no chips, no beer, no wine and no sweets.  So what can you bring?  Garlic, anyone?  Mosquitos hate garlic; so if you really want to keep those pests away, you may want to hang a bulb near your picnic site or fortify yourself with some supplements. But proceed with caution.  If you load up on too much of  this malodorous product you may end up repelling most of your picnic guests as well.

Maybe at this point, we should just accept the fact that a  picnic just comes with bugs.   Maybe we should accept the fact that these crafty crawlers are just a natural part of the al fresco experience.  But if you choose to go this way, just remember, Andrew Zimmerman says, for best results,  you should always take the wings off before you eat them.

Avoid the Itch With These Scents

Woman scratching her neck

Oh, the itch. That not quite defined feeling, somewhere between pain and annoyance amounting in a torture that we just can’t seem to ignore. And, aaah, the scratch. That exquisite infliction of pain that seems to momentarily quell the itch. But we have been warned against scratching, haven’t we? According to dermatologists, scratching often makes the itch worse, warning that the temporary relief it provides only make the symptoms exacerbate upon return. But what can we do? Well, if the source of our itching is a mosquito, a flea, or tick, well, bring on the bug repellant. Bug repellent is not only a cure for itching, but can also lessen the chances of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses.

But many of these bug repellents are toxic. Do we really want to spray these chemicals on ourselves and our families, and take responsibility for the possible poisoning of the environment and destroying of the ozone layer? Most insect repellents contain DEET, which, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, is a chemical capable of melting plastics or a fishing line and causing impairments such as memory loss, seizures, nausea and vomiting. No something we want to apply liberally. However, the good doctor says,”…it is dangerously wrong…”( to assume)…”that insect repellents with DEET are the only ones that work”, so, take heart, suffering Greenies!

It seems that mosquitoes have a very keen sense of smell ( Do they have noses?) and are very attracted to the carbon dioxide we emit, but, luckily, there are some natural scents which they actually hate. So let’s clue you in.

Citronella Oil: Comes from the lemongrass plant, used in bug sprays and candles, smells lemony/ citrusy.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint: Crush the leaves on your skin or apply peppermint oil to relieve itching, minty scent.

Rosemary and Basil: Place a few sprigs around to keep the pests away or infuse it into a lotion or spray, also can be used as food seasoning!

Eucalyptus: Can be planted in your yard and the oil can be applied to your skin.

Marigold and Lavender: Attractive and useful. Plant them in your garden for a color
explosion and pest free peace of mind.

Garlic: Not just for vampires! Cut the cloves into slivers and scatter them. You can also make a repellent spray, but, be warned, you may repel people humans as well.


Catnip: Sorry, Snowball. Have to borrow some of yours! Sprinkling catnip is a very powerful way of repelling pests.

Another great thing about these natural repellants: you can make your own!

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (DO), you can make repellent by mixing cinnamon leaf oil, clear vanilla oil mixed with olive oil, or catnip oil and there are tons of other recipes available on social media. Why scratch when you can go match? Keep yourself pest free and applaud yourself for being smart and helping the environment and keeping yourself and your family healthy and comfortable.