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15 Best and Worst Foods for Repelling Summer Bugs

Ditch bug bites with these simple foods.

Bugs are like the uninvited house guest that always shows up to the family barbecue. They're annoying, rude, and abrasive.

And you've learned—through trial and error—you're better off just ignoring them. Luckily, we've got a solution to keep them away that has nothing to do with harmful, expensive chemicals and everything to do with food. Want to make your smooth, bug bite-free skin even better? Check out these foods for healthy skin!

First, The Worst

Sugary Treats


Some ants have a serious sweet tooth. Cookies, cupcakes, candy, jam…if it's got sugar, ants are on their way and bringing an appetite. Instead, check out these best snacks for summer outings!



Chances are you've already written this one off—after all, a glass of vino is one of the finer things in life. However, just because fruit flies and beetles have a thing for booze, doesn't mean you have to forgo them all together. Just sip smart. Put the cork back into the wine bottle. If something spills, clean it up. Buy bottles or cans over a keg and the good old red Solo cup.


A Capri Sun may keep your toddler from whining, but they'll whine even more if they get stung by a bee. Safer bet? Water. It's hands down the most important nutrient for the human body, especially in the summer heat (our bodies are roughly 73 percent water). Not to mention it's free of sugar additives and color dyes.

Peanut Butter

While some ants like things sweet, others, like tree ants, prefer salty. According to the "cafeteria experiment" study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ants that live more than 60 miles inland prefer salty over sweet. The study offered the ants a choice of cotton balls soaked in salt or sugar solution. Turns out, just like sodium is an essential mineral for humans, it's also essential for ants.

Fresh Produce


Ever notice how quickly your bounty of fresh produce becomes a hot mess surrounded by fruit flies? Fruit flies, like some ants, have a thing for sugary substance (especially once they are overripe). ETNT TIP: Don't buy more fruits and vegetables than you need.



Aside from being a flat belly nightmare and detrimental to both overall health and tooth enamel, soda invites both wasps and fruit flies to your party. They love the sugary syrup AKA high fructose corn syrup. And unless you're living under a rock, you know HFCS is largely to blame for America's bulging waistlines. That better be motivation to skip the soda if seducing bugs isn't a good enough reason!



Apparently, lemon's odor mimics a pheromone that bees give off to attract other bees to their hive. Rather than risk the chance at becoming a human beehive, avoid consuming the yellow fruit. But you won't want to entirely condemn lemon; it can be a great way to detox your body and aids in weight loss.

Now, The Best



There is nothing like a bunch of mosquito bites to ruin a night out. They're itchy, ugly and just plain annoying. Luckily, there is a very simple solution: eat garlic! The sulfur compounds that seep through your skin and the garlic scent on your breathe send the bugs in the other direction. The only downside is that you might end up repelling more than mosquitos.

Low Sodium Foods


Fun fact: Mosquitoes can smell their dinner from an impressive distance of up to 50 meters. And high-sodium, high-potassium foods make their job super easy because they cause an increase the amount of lactic acid your body produces, which attracts the bloodsuckers. Although we will never recommend you cut any fruits and vegetables out of your diet, if you have a camping trip coming up, you might want to reach for blueberries, watermelon, cucumbers, or apples—which are lower in these minerals. And while you're at it, check out these 10 Saltiest Foods in America.


It turns out that basil does more than make a banging pesto sauce. Flies and mosquitos don't dig its minty scent. Whether you find a lotion with the herb or rub the leaves over your skin, the results are the same.


Just like onions make us cry, they also send biting insects running. Sounds funny, but rubbing a slice over your skin might be the solution if you get desperate!

Orange Peels


We know onions aren't the most appealing thing to rub all over your body and who wants to waste delicious basil? Fortunately, there's an alternative that usually ends up in the garbage anyways. Orange peels repulse gnats and mosquitos. Just make sure to use them when they are fresh!

Apple Cider Vinegar


How many waist-whittling foods can also clean your home, give you luscious locks, treat infections, brighten your skin, and fend off bugs? Not many. So here's how to use the superfood to prevent bites: Two to three days before a picnic, hiking trip, or camp fire, consume one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar three times a day. Others swear by soaking a cotton ball in the vinegar and applying to the skin. Either way, you increase your odds of coming home from your trip with clear skin.


Warm water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos AKA the kind that sits around all day in the hot summer sun like in bird baths. But before you go taking apart your garden, try adding a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to the liquid's surface. It prevents the bugs from laying eggs and doesn't harm your chirping friends.



Name one person who doesn't prefer the smell of vanilla? You probably can't, but we can name three: ticks, blackflies, and mosquitoes. Combine one tablespoon of vanilla extract and one cup water, and apply it your skin. You can kiss goodbye bug bites, minimize your chances of contracting Lyme disease, and smell pretty damn good. And for some food skin-remedies, check out 31 Best Foods to Put On Your Face.


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