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Episode 15: The SWAT Team – How to Keep Pests Away From Your Picnics … Naturally

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It sucks to have your picnic or barbecue ruined by a swarm of flies … or yellow jackets … or mosquitoes. So we’ve come up with ways to keep them away, naturally.

Use Herbs to Repel Flies

Flies don’t like strong smelling herbs and essential oils like rosemary, sage, mint or tea tree. So use them to your advantage.

Wipe down your picnic table with a natural fly repellent spray by mixing ½ cup rubbing alcohol, ½ cup white vinegar and 1 tablespoon tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Spray the table or tablecloth and wipe gently with a dish towel.
Create bouquets of fragrant, minty herbs … lemongrass, citronella and catnip also work well.

Lure Flies and Yellow Jackets Away with Protein

I discovered this one purely by accident. A pork chop mistakenly left on the grill overnight had attracted a swarm of yellow jackets … and kept them busy while we happily enjoyed our meal just a few feet away.

Lure flies with a plate of honey, and yellow jackets with any sort of protein. Just set them out a good deal away from where you’ll be sitting.

Burn Coffee Grounds

I learned this trick from an Iranian woman I met when teaching at Rancho La Puerta and was amazed at how well it worked. Burning unbrewed coffee grounds so that they maintain a steady smolder will keep yellow jackets away.

Use a Fan to Keep Away Mosquitoes

Set a fan on a low, sweeping setting in a spot close to where everyone is gathered. Not only does the breeze throw off their attack accuracy, it also deters them from coming near; mosquitoes are weak flyers and don’t like flying into the wind.