How to avoid being the centre of attention at the picnic

  • Return of a summer horror
  • Natural ways to scare off the pests
  • An amazing story from across the pond – Bug Soother

Regular readers will know that at this time of year I love my trip to Portugal.

But due to the dreaded virus our travel plans have been somewhat curtailed this year…

…so far!

I consoled myself with the thought that at least I wasn’t going to be mosquito food this year and hoped that they might lose their taste for me by the time I get to go again.

Then I sat out in the garden the other night trying to cool down and became picnic for a variety of six legged vandals.

I must have been the only man outside in Bristol, or at least that was how it seemed.

Wasps, flies and flying ants were making a direct assault on me from all sides. One of the pyjama striped monsters even managed to get in my drink…and that is just not playing the game.

I abandoned my perch and ran indoors wind milling my arms as I did so.

Much to the amusement of my beloved family!

Having doused myself thoroughly in Bug Soother I was at least able to enjoy the rest of my drink in peace.

This is fantastic stuff and usually reserved purely for the mosquitoes on the foreign… but works magically on our home grown beasties too.

Apart from this wholly natural repellent though there are other measures worth a try too.

Natural controls for insect attack

The first thing is to stop them in their tracks.

I’m not talking about fly papers though! I used to dread visiting my Nan’s when I was little because of the brown strips she used to hang in her kitchen.

Each one was littered with the dead and dying, graveyards of filthy creatures. How can it have been hygienic to consider these as a practical way of dealing with flying pests?

And they are still on sale…the stuff of boyhood nightmares.

There are easier and more natural ways to provide a deterrent, for instance;

  • Crushed mint and bay leaves or cloves and eucalyptus will stop flies in their tracks.
  • Slices of bitter cucumber scare away ants, just trace them back to where they are getting in, or put at the entrance of their nest.
  • Sage or Rosemary smoke wards off mosquitoes, I like to chuck a handful of woody stalks onto the barbeque coals after I finish cooking, it smells great and keeps away the bugs.
  • Catnip will scare away even amour plated cockroaches, so it’s worth cultivating just for that.

These are all well and good if you are at home, but what if you happen to be tramping about in the great outdoors.

How do you keep the creatures at bay if you are enjoying a picnic?

This is how I discovered Bug Buster a few years back when we went to visit friends in Inverness.

And they have a ‘wee beastie’ that can really make mincemeat out of you.

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Scotland’s wildlife? In particular they have a particularly aggressive form of flying bandits known as midges.

Barely visible these pests are a nightmare.

I can only imagine that their teeth account for 90% of their bodies because that’s how vicious they are.

The secret to battling the Scottish midge menace

The short journey from car to house involved running a gauntlet of terror; swarms of these miniscule monsters buzzed and bit at every opportunity.

With flailing arms and a brisk stride Lara and I must have looked like we were having some sort of a fit.

“You’ll have met the locals then?” chortled my friend Emma, “They seem really pleased to have fresh Sassenach meat!”

If that is the case then devolution can’t come quick enough in my book, just as long as all of the midges stay north of the border.

Dabbing at our bites with Lara’s handy bottle of TCP was as much as we could do.

“You’ll need something a little stronger for when we go out for a picnic” said our genial hostess smiling.

“A Picnic! I can guess what will be on the menu…ME!” I snorted.

“As it happens you will be the star of the show, in fact you are perfect for what I have in mind” she said.

I envisaged some sort of Wicker Man moment with me suspended from a tree for the sport of the insects whilst everyone else ate their jam butties.

“It’s your hairstyle that will make the difference” Emma said running off to the kitchen.

As you know from my many grumbles on the subject I’m no longer in possession of a full head of hair. My balding pate is often the butt of jokes from my children, drinking buddies and even my dear wife.

So, this last comment puzzled me.

Emma returned from the kitchen brandishing a bottle of Bug Soother.

“This is marvellous stuff,” she said. “And your readers would love the story about how it was discovered… a real kitchen sink revelation!”

You can read about the story of this amazing product for yourself here.

During that day I sprayed my head, arms and legs at intervals and suffered not one bite from the ferocious critters, and I know they were about because everyone we met warned me about them.

So, having learnt my lesson about my own back garden I will be using this stuff home and away now!