From garlic to portable fans
Be Gone, Bugs
1 of 6All photos
Nothing ruins a summer night quite like a swarm of mosquitoes descending on your porch. And while fancy products make big promises, experts chalk up these solutions a lot of times to good marketing. Before you pick up the DEET, try one of these five chemical-free methods instead.
Wear Light Colors
2 of 6All photos
Sunrise and sunset are peak feeding times for the little buggers, but that's no reason to banish yourself inside. Dark colors stand out to mosquitoes when looking for food sources, but light colors appear less attractive to them, since they look for colors that contrast with the horizon line. Turns out there's a good reason for all those summer whites after all.
Surround Yourself with Lavender
3 of 6All photos
This fragrant plant does triple duty by fending off mosquitoes, moths and flies. Plant it around your garden so the aroma hangs in the air. But get the full defensive benefit by rubbing it on your skin or using lavender essential oil instead of bug spray. It also masks your body's natural scents—which is what the pests are attracted to in the first place.
Shove a Dryer Sheet In Your Pocket
4 of 6All photos
If you don't have essential oil lying around or an abundant garden at the ready, the same idea works with your basic Bounce sheets. Any strong scent will keep mosquitoes at bay.
Photo: Sand and Sisal
Eat More Garlic
5 of 6All photos
Garlic oil, which is released from your pores after eating it, acts like a barrier between your skin's scents and mosquitoes. Be careful with this one, though. It may repel friends and family in the process.
Blow Them Away
6 of 6All photos
You've heard that water attracts mosquitoes, but did you know that wind drives them away? Even a light breeze makes it hard for mosquitoes to fly. But if waiting for a breezy night for your cookout isn't in the cards, try plugging in a fan out on the patio. Direct the air flow downward since these pests fly low to the ground looking to avoid the wind.
Photo: BRADWIELAND/GETTY IMAGES