Pesky insects are a minor summer annoyance that most of us are willing to put up with after a long winter season. But the fewer insects the better! If you’d rather skip the harsh chemicals and use an all-natural deterrent to banish bugs from your home and on your patio, try some of these simple solutions.

No one wants to be swatting away mosquitoes while enjoying a meal or fire in the backyard. A good first step is to surround your seating area with plants that repel bugs. Feverfew, with its pretty, daisy-like blossoms, is great for keeping mosquitoes and other biting insects away. Mosquitoes also steer clear of lavender, so pairing feverfew and lavender plants together in clusters around your deck and seating area will not only look gorgeous but also repel these pesky bugs. Citronella grass can also be added in for a punch of green and even more mosquito-fighting power. Other insect repelling plants include marigold, pennyroyal, rosemary and lemon balm.

When it comes to keeping mosquitoes off your body, some people can’t stand the smell of traditional bug repellant. There are countless natural remedies out there that claim to work – try a couple and see which one works for you!

• Fabric softener sheets rubbed on exposed skin (use caution, this may irritate sensitive skin)

• Dab some Vick’s VapoRub on your ankles, elbows, inner wrists and neck (steer clear of any minor cuts)

• Make a homemade mosquito repellant with distilled water, witch hazel and a few drops of essential oil – citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil and lemongrass are all said to work well

The wasp is another backyard bug that can get out of hand. Since they are attracted to sweet drinks and sugary food, try to keep garbage well secured and drinks and food covered. If you have a wasp problem but haven’t located the nest, make a homemade wasp trap. Check out www.thegardenglove.com/diy-wasp-solutions/ for some simple solutions.

Flies are dirty, bothersome insects – and fast too. There’s nothing worse than misplacing your flyswatter when one of these pests is circling your head at the dinner table! Prevent entry into your home by keeping screens closed and kitchen work areas clean. Wipe down counters and don’t leave exposed food out. Keep the garbage covered at all times.

Finally, if ants have found a way into your home, the first step is to locate their point of entry and block it off. You can use petroleum jelly or duct tape to clog small cracks or holes. For a natural, chemical free solution, black pepper and baby powder are both known to deter ants. Pet owners will want to opt for baby powder.