Bug Off!

Keeping the bugs at bay is a lot like trying to keep cool during the summer. Humid days and leaden summer evenings - both favorites of insects - can foil any attempts at comfort.

In preparation for this summer, try some new tricks for battling the bugs. Don't let them discourage you from relaxing in your backyard or taking a siesta on your porch.

Outdoor lovers in all regions and climates have discovered the many available products for the fight against mosquitoes, flies and other winged pests. From herbs to electronic pest repellants, choose your weapon and head outside.

Citronella candles are a popular porch or patio bug repellant. Inexpensive and easy to use, the candles emit a scent that drives the bugs away; at night, they add a pleasant glow to the summer air. Citronella candles are available in terra cotta pots, small galvanized pails and on stakes that can be driven into the ground.

Lavender and other herbs are a natural repellant. For a porch or deck, place potted herb plants or dried bunches of the herbs on a table. The herbal oils emit scents that repel insects. Herbs also are used in natural insect repellent lotions that you can apply before heading outside.

Finally, there's one crawling critter that you want to have around - spiders. While they may not look appealing, they capture many insects in their webs. If you find a spider in your home, catch it and take it outside so it can become a natural bug repellent.

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