The summer is upon us in the Ottawa area and so too are the bugs. If you live in Ontario, you share the woes of bug bites, and the remedies that can be as nasty as the insects. Creating a bug free environment with a screened room or retractable screen is a great option. However with outside living in your backyard there are a few other techniques to manage the little critters may just improve your summer.

tick on finger

Traditional Defences

Deet has long since been a controversial substance used as a repellent for mosquitoes and the dreaded black fly. Deet is not appropriate for small children and it is questionable whether the toxic nature of deet is worth its repellent properties. Many sprays come with varying concentrations of deet and it is recommended that you chose the smallest amount needed to keep the bugs away. Of course, no bug repellant will keep away ticks. It’s important to use more common sense than anything in your efforts to avoid the disease carrying tick. When in wooded areas, be sure to wear longs sleeves and pants whenever possible. Also, after any hike or time spent outdoors, check your body and the bodies of any children for any ticks that may have hitched a ride. Ticks will need to be carefully removed and if you should present with a bullseye rash, seek medical attention immediately. After being bit by a tick and experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, a round of antibiotics is likely in order. Because of the serious nature of illness that ticks can cause, prevention is key.

Alternative Protection

There are many companies making a living off of bug protection. Everything from candles, to belt clips and lanterns. While all likely provide some protection from bugs, they can be expensive. Experimenting with different remedies can be frustrating and hard on the pocket book. Consider your environment and when and where you will need protection from bugs. A camping trip will require a different set of defences than an evening on the patio. Covering up is always your best bet, but to further protect you and your guests, try some citronella or bug coils. These are inexpensive and moderately effective in protecting an area from bugs.

Protection for your Entire Property

In lieu of spraying your property with a crop duster, there are things that can be done to protect you and your loved ones from bugs this summer. Protection that won’t have you worrying about what you’ve put in your body. Bug lights and zappers have grown in popularity, in large part because of their effectiveness and non-toxic nature. These bug attracting lights and bug zappers cover a larger area than many other bug repellent options. Over the years, bug zappers have improved in their design and size. They continue to come down in price and many home owners are opting for this solution to their backyard bug problem. There is, of course the good old fly swatter. You’d be hard pressed to find a home without one.

If you’re seeking new ways to protect yourself from bugs this summer, don’t be afraid to experiment. Staying away from wet areas is a good start. Mosquitoes are often worse around dusk. Even if you are wearing long sleeves and shirts, those ankles are bound to be found and bitten. Protecting yourself from bugs is important not just for your comfort but for your health. While mosquitoes can be pesky, ticks can be down right dangerous. Stay aware and stay safe.