There seems to be no end to the uninvited pests that arrive at the picnic by the busload. No matter how much we swat, fan, and even yell, those darn insects keep on coming back and multiplying. Not being a fan of chemical bug sprays and related items, I decided to look into more natural or DIY ways of achieving a peaceful, outdoor meal without being bugged.

Here are 6 simple ways to combat those annoying insects:


Most bugs, including ants, mosquitos, and flies, aren’t a fan of orange and lemon peels. While I enjoy the scent of these peels, they act as a natural deterrent to common picnic intruders. Simply peel an orange and/or lemon, break the peel into tablespoon-sized chunks and spread them around your picnic area. Be careful though, this is only a deterrent. You’ll need more than just a few peels to keep ‘em away.


More specifically, smoke. Mosquitoes, probably the worst of all summer insect of them all, detest smoke. You don’t need much, a simple Tiki torch or outdoor candle with a thick wick will suffice. Citronella candles are highly recommended as they combine the benefits of smoke and citrus. And, if you’re feeling crafty, you can try your hand at making these simple, sustainable orange candles.

(Kind of) Floating Picnic Tables

Here’s what you’ll need for a DIY (kind of) floating table:

  1. Jug of water
  2. 2-4 plastic containers and glasses/plastic cups that are taller than and fit inside the container
  3. A solid surface large enough for all of your food items. I used some leftover ½” plywood I had at home.

First, lay down the containers and place the glasses in them upside down. Then, fill the containers with water. No need to fill it all the way to the top. Once all of that is done, place the containers under your board and make sure everything is as balanced as possible. That’s it! Pat yourself on the back my friend because you just build yourself an ant-proof floating table.

Portable Fans

Portable fans have to be one of my greatest seasonal investments. Not only do these little fans keep you cool, but the subtle breeze also keeps flying insects away. No more having to swat away pesky flies from my watermelon or flicking mosquitos off my arm! I highly recommend investing in a battery-operated portable fan that can be felt up to a few feet away.

Food Tents

No picnic is complete without sweet fruits, but the problem is that they attract all sorts of bugs. I decided to cover them with a makeshift food tent. There’s no need to go out and buy one though. Simply use an upside down fine-wired colander and it’ll work just as well!

Peppermint Spray

Bugs and even mice aren’t very fond of peppermint.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Small, empty spray bottle
  2. Distilled water
  3. Peppermint essential oil

Fill ¾ of your spray bottle with distilled water then add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil and shake until it’s mixed well. They tend to separate so you’ll have to give the bottle a good shake before each use. Give your blanket and surrounding area a light spray before you start unpacking your food and enjoy the fresh, minty scent while you have yourself a pest-free picnic.

Go ahead and enjoy your delicious meals and fun picnics outdoors this summer. Try these simple tricks to ward off any unwanted guests, and let us know what works best for you and your family. Happy picnicking!




Back To Top