8 foods that ward off bug bites


As you go outside this summer, the mosquitos are sure to bite you. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to repel them…and you probably have the means to do so sitting right in your kitchen at home!

Read more: This drink is healthier than water

Try these foods to fight the mosquitos

Reader’s Digest compiled a list of eight foods that can be used as home remedies to prevent mosquito bites and treat them if they do happen.

8 foods that ward off bug bites

Apple cider vinegar

Three days before your vacation, take 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar three times a day. Continue to use it during your vacation too.

If the idea of stomaching vinegar is too much for you, try this instead: Moisten a cloth or cotton ball with white vinegar and rub it on your skin to keep gnats and mosquitos away.

Read more: Save with these 8 brilliant uses for vinegar


It’s what every bloodsucker fears: Garlic!

Eating the much-maligned root can help keep mosquitos at bay. Try a clove or two every day leading up to your trip. The garlic will run through your body and disinfect your blood, yielding a pungent smell that bugs hate as you sweat it out.


Milk paste is a great soother of itchy or irritated skin that’s been in the sun too long. Just combine one part powdered milk with two parts water and toss in a bit of salt. Then let the enzymes take over; they’ll neutralize insect-bite venom and soothe sunburn pain.


Read more: Why you should stop drinking low-fat milk


If you have stagnant pools of water around your home or vacation spot, you know they can be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Address the problem by emptying them out regularly. If that’s not possible, try adding a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to the surface of the water to act as a bug deterrent.


A slice of onion rubbed over your skin can ward off the bugs. Just make sure you don’t put the onion skins down your garbage disposal as you’re peeling it!

Here’s a fun money-saving trick for onions: If you want them to last up to eight months, stash them in a pair of old panty-hose, and then tie a knot in between each one to keep them separate. Then hang the whole shebang from the ceiling!

Read more: 29 ways to keep your fresh produce fresher for longer

Orange and lemon peels

Is citrus more to your liking than a pungent bulbous vegetable like onion? You’re not alone. Thankfully, orange and lemon peels rubbed over your exposed skin offer another great way to keep the bugs away. Because while you love the smell, citrus to a bug is a repellent that probably smells like…well, stinky onions!

8 foods that ward off bug bites


Don’t suffer in silence with mosquito and chigger bites. Reader’s Digest suggest soaking the area in salt water and then applying a coating of lard or vegetable oil.


Here’s another great-smelling thing that is repulsive to bugs. Simply dilute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in 1 cup water and wipe your skin with it to ward off mosquitos, blackflies and ticks.

Don’t forget about these basic tips to protect yourself from mosquitos

  1. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes—no sandals. Tennis shoes are better than sandals because you don’t expose your feet. Light color clothes are better than dark clothes when it comes to not attracting most bugs.
  2. Use a fan. If you have an outlet and you’re on a porch or deck, plug it in and use it. The mosquitos don’t like to fly into the strong air currents.
  3. Yellow bug lights really do work, according to TopBulb.com. They deter mosquitos at dusk and in the evening hours.
  4. Citronella candles will work a little bit. Though they won’t make the huge difference you think.

That said, the CDC still advises you to use insect repellent that has one or more of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, OLE, or PMD.


Consumer Reports recommends repellents that have 30% DEET, which is a powerful insect repellent. Among those listed by the magazine as good choices are:

8 foods that ward off bug bites

Read more: How many sunburns does it take to get skin cancer?

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