Pests can keep you from enjoying the peacefulness of your backyard. Here are a few more safe and cost-effective ways to keep ants and other bugs away during the warm-weather months.
If the mosquitoes are eating you alive, try rubbing a few lemon or orange peels on your skin. The citrus oil and scent act as a natural repellent, and it works great for gnats too. If you don't have any fruit handy, a little vanilla extract or baby oil can also do the trick.
Another potent tool to have in your arsenal is lemon-eucalyptus spray. This natural mosquito, flea and tick repellent is government-approved for being just as effective as DEET. On top of that, you can easily make your own spray for around $2 a bottle.
Here's the recipe: Simply take a small spray bottle and fill it up halfway with distilled or boiled water. Next, fill up the rest of with some witch hazel from your local pharmacy. Then top it all off with 50 drops of lemon-eucalyptus oil, commonly found at most health food stores.
This solution is also safe for your skin – just dab a few drops on a cotton ball and apply. For those of you who don't want to deal with sprays and topical treatments, you can help keep the bugs away by using a candle warmer. These cost an average of $10-$15 at most big-box stores, and are really easy to use.
Just fill the top dish with a little water, add a few drops of essential oil, plug it in and let the heat naturally disperse the scented oil through the air. Just be sure to use insect-repelling oils like citronella, lavendar and lemon eucalptus for the best effect.
Before you spend money on overpriced bug sprays, give these safe and low-cost remedies a try. You'll keep your budget tight and the bugs at bay.
Keep Backyard Bugs at Bay For Less -- Savings Experiment
If it's still hot out when you're going to bed, stick your pillowcase in the freezer for a bit before you hit the hay. That way, you'll be able to fall asleep on a nice, cool pillow.
We all know that eating and drinking cold things can help cool us down. But you might be surprised to learn that eating very spicy foods can also help you chill out because they help induce sweating.
A cool shower is already a great way to help beat the heat. But when you're done, dry yourself in front of a fan instead of using a towel -– the evaporation will help cool you down. You can also use a spray bottle to spritz yourself and get the same effect.
If you're not at home, keep the curtains drawn and the blinds down. This helps stop sunlight from getting in and heating up your house.
Light colors reflect light instead of absorbing it, like dark colors do. So why the sunscreen? While wearing light colors will keep you cooler, they're not as effective at blocking the sun's harmful rays from your skin. Consider applying a daily lotion that contains SPF 30 so you remain protected.
Unlike air conditioners, fans are usually most effective at cooling people directly, not cooling entire rooms. Try positioning two fans in your windows so that one pushes hot air out, and the other brings cool air in.
The library is filled with free books, magazines, movies, Wi-Fi and, most likely, air conditioning. Instead of reading or surfing the Internet at home on a hot day, do it at the library instead. Also look for children's programs such as story time or book clubs.
Another place that pumps in air conditioning is movie theaters. If you're planning to see a new movie anyway, make it a matinee. The ticket price will be cheaper, and you'll be able to get out of the heat while the sun is shining.
Opening your windows during the day can just make your house hotter. Instead, wait until the evening to open your windows to let the cool air in.
Using the oven can drastically increase the heat in your kitchen. Instead, plan for meals that only use the stove top, microwave or grill.
A few bottles of frozen water can do a lot. Put one behind your neck when you're watching TV or in your bed with you when you sleep at night. If you're going out and about, bring it to drink -– the water will melt slowly, leaving you with something extra cold to sip on.
Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and emit more heat than compact fluorescent light bulbs, so if you haven't already, replace your old bulbs.
Loose cotton and linen will help keep you cool; synthetics will usually make you sweat. So dress accordingly.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keep cool. If you're bored by regular water, try infusing it with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Some refreshing combinations include cucumber with lemon and orange with mint. Infusing is easy –- just slice up the elements you want to use for flavor, put them in a pitcher with some water and keep it in the fridge.
Setting your air conditioner at 78 degrees instead of 72 degrees could decrease your cooling bill between 6 and 18 percent, according to energy.gov. If 78 degrees sounds warm to you, don't worry –- when it's 90 degrees or hotter outside, 78 will feel plenty cool.