“Shoe Fly! Don’t Bother Me!” Organic Pest Control Options

BY: - 21 Jun '13 | Parenting

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Baby C celebrated her first birthday with her first trip to the lake. I packed everything except the kitchen sink and headed to Deep Creek, Maryland. In addition to her bathing suits, cover ups, sunglasses and sunscreen, I remembered to toss insect repellant into the bag. But with her history of eczema and her young age, I researched what to rub on her sensitive skin. Before I spray DEET, I wanted to see if there were any organic alternatives available to prevent pest problems.


Garlic wards off more than vampires away! The strong smell keeps ants at bay as well. Cut up cloves and place them around your deck or patio. If you don’t want to hold your nose, use cucumber rinds or cinnamon sticks. If you’re at home, you can plant mint near your doors. My grandma Hopson did this, and we used the mint leaves at our teddy bear tea parties. You can control ants versus killing them. Although the itsy bitsy bugs are a pest, they control termite populations and aerate the soil. They’re also a food source for birds.


Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so make sure you dump, not only buckets, but baby pools as well. After fun in the sun, drain your blow up pool or invest in a cover. You can always use the water to water your flowers and plants. If you need to get rid of the blood sucking bugs by the barbecue grill, sprinkle sage or rosemary on the coals. And if you’re like me””a mosquito magnet””eat more garlic or drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Vitamin B1 is also said to repel insects. Avoid floral or fruity fragrances.

Dress baby in cool, cotton clothes, since mosquitoes are attracted to perspiration, which contains chemicals. California Baby sells an insect repellant made specifically for your little one. Also, cover up at night. Dress your baby in long sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes if the temperatures cool down. If there is a fan, stay close by, because mosquitoes aren’t the best fliers. My mother also picked up stroller netting, in case Baby C and I are out after dark.


Tired of swatting flies away from your food at barbecues? Put a clean cloth or dish sponge in a tin. Saturate it with an essential oil (lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, peppermint or lemongrass). Replenish the oil after each use.


If you are taking your other “baby” out and about, make sure you spray your pet with tick repellant. Ticks hate citrus, so you can make a repellant for your dog by boiling water and any combination of two sliced fruits (lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits) for about a minute. Let the mixture simmer for an hour, then remove the fruit with a strainer. Once it cools, spray on your dog’s fur, your skin or your lawn. You can also add a drop of rose geranium to your dog or cat’s collar, especially since your cat may take cover when you pull out the spray bottle.


Want to make your own insect repellant? Rub on essential oils like lemon balm (citronella), pennyroyal, lavender, peppermint or rose geranium. Check with your pediatrician before applying the mix to your baby’s sensitive skin. Natural isn’t equivalent to safe. Some people are allergic to plant oils.

And remember, natural repellents often require more frequent reapplication.


  • 10-25 drops essential oil. Try lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and citronella
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)
  • Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.


  • 25 drops essential oil (see above)?1/4 cup water or organic apple cider vinegar
  • (Recipes from The Daily Green, Good Housekeeping’s consumer guide to going green.)

Hey BMWK family, What repellents do you use on your little ones?


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