The following are supposed to keep fleas away: tobacco (cigarettes or leaves) or lavender/lavender oil. Put lavender oil on your shoes (some people find it very irritating on the skin). Crumble tobacco or lavender flowers and sprinkle around your chairs. (07/08/2007)
I find I can sit relatively bug free on my back step until one of the cats goes running through the grass and stirs up the bugs. Also, keep perfume and pretty smelling shampoos to a minimum. Mosquitoes don't really like me that much, but some people I know say that drinking home made lemonade from real lemons in the summer keeps bugs away from them. I also heard that rubbing banana skins on mosquito bites helps. (07/08/2007)
We find that running a table fan, and having the breeze from it blow over us where we are sitting outside, does a good job of keeping mosquitoes away. I think an applied bug spray like OFF might help with the fleas. In Florida it helped fight off the No-Seeums. (07/11/2007)
Burning citronella candles or incense can help keep away bugs. I burn incense when camping. (07/11/2007)
Use a Bounce dryer sheet or two, clip it on yourself anywhere you can, preferably high up. I saw this on line one time and thought, oh right...tried it in a moment of desperation (gnats) and it worked. (07/11/2007)
We used to have to deal with fleas in South Carolina when we lived there. Fleas do NOT like marigolds so you might try planting them in the areas you like to sit in. They also do not like oregano which you can also plant (and eat!). This may not be a good solution at this point for this summer, but if it is a yearly thing you might consider it.
People say Skin-So-Soft from Avon works and smells great. (07/11/2007)
It's not so pleasant now a days, heat rising to over 100 in much of TX., but if I have to go outside, I always spray a little repellent on my clothes and legs. Mosquitoes seem to be worse than anything here. My grandson thought we had fleas until he caught two which turned out to be a fruit fly, and a gnat. We have lots of Junipers, of the cedar family, planted around our home, and much natural mulch, which all seem to repel a lot of insects on our Zeriscaped property, and the insects seem to be in balance with Organic practices. Yet, sometimes we need to bend the rules to subdue the unwelcome pests. I have a large wasp nest I hate to destroy, but they are becoming a hazard to children where they have built their nest, and have to go.
Honestly, eating Garlic daily is the very best deterrent I have ever found outside of repellent. It isn't pleasant to smell if overdone but when you find a balance, you might appreciate it more? I believe that as times continue to get harder, Garlic Water will replace repellent and insecticides when out of control, and the whole world will be using it so much no one will smell better than another. Lol.
Fruit flies and gnats are irritants, but don't bite. Biting flies and house/horse flies DO bite and need control.
Have you considered a large enclosed mesh Gazebo-tent for your patio? It would give you the best of both worlds and the Family Dollar, Dollar Generals, and Fiesta have had them recently unless they are sold out, for about $29. I'd get one if I could afford it, and if we had not been attacked by giant pumpkins or watermelons this season! God bless you : ) (07/12/2007)
I read that lemons boiled and steeped in water will make a good flea repellent. I didn't have any fresh lemons on hand, but put bottled lemon juice in a spray bottle and it seemed to work great! I sprayed it on my feet, ankles and legs (I've read that vinegar will do this, but I don't want to repel everyone - just the fleas). ;) (07/20/2007)
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