Steer clear of these disease-carrying pests without harmful chemicals.

As we move into the warmer months of summer, there’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had. However, with outdoor fun comes the inevitable and inescapable presence of mosquitos. Whether you’re worried about contracting the ever-looming Zika virus or fearful of an itchy bug bite, it’s important to know the best ways to repel mosquitos. Instead of slathering yourself in potentially harmful chemical repellants, take advantage of natural foods and oils to keep the pests away this mosquito season.

While some swear by rubbing slivers of garlic and onion directly on their skin, this may be more effective in repelling other humans. You have better (less smelly) options:

- Lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to be just as effective at repelling insects as DEET, a popular synthetic chemical. If you don’t have eucalyptus, any citrus fruit, specifically oranges or lemons, will do. Simply take the peel and rub it directly on your skin.

- If citrus is too harsh of a scent for you, the aroma of vanilla is also a natural repellant. Dilute a tablespoon of vanilla extract with a cup of water and apply it all over for a natural, sweet perfume that the bugs will hate.

- Some common herbs and plants will also do the trick. Rosemary, sage, lavender, and basil are all fragrances that naturally repel mosquitos. Whether you’d prefer to buy these in their oil forms, or crush them up and rub a handful directly onto your skin, these scents are great ways to keep the bugs out of your space. You can even grow them at home and place them around your house and yard as extra protection.

- Aside from food, you can take a few extra precautions to guard against mosquitos. Wearing dark colors makes you more visible to mosquitos, so get out your summer whites so that the bugs will never find you.(Bonus: lighter clothes reflect sunlight, which will help you stay cooler in the summer sun.) Of course, the more coverage your clothes provide, the less likely you are to get a bug bite. Lastly, wash your body! Mosquitos are attracted to both body odor and fragrant perfumes, so take your shower, and be on your merry way sans bug bites.

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