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8 Foods You Didn’t Know Can Defend Against Bug Bites

Can eating certain foods help prevent bug bites? You bet! Start chomping on these foods before your next outdoor adventure to prevent uncomfortable bites.

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Head of garlicPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Garlic

Several days before you take a camping or hiking trip into bug-filled territory, start eating garlic. Have a clove or two every day. As you sweat out the garlic odour, it repels many insects. Maybe this is where the myth of garlic repelling bloodsuckers came from! This could save your health from debilitating conditions like West Nile Virus!

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Foods that can defend against bug bitesPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Milk

If your skin feels like it’s burning up from too much sun exposure or if itchy bug bites are driving you crazy, try using a little milk paste for soothing relief. Mix one part powdered milk with two parts water and add a pinch or two of salt. Dab it on the burn or bite. The enzymes in the milk powder will help neutralize the insect-bite venom and help relieve sunburn pain.

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Salt shakerPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Salt

For relief from the itching of mosquito and chigger bites, soak the area in salt water, then apply a coating of lard or vegetable oil.

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Olive oil and olivesPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Olive Oil

It’s so satisfying to watch birds enjoying the garden bath you provide. But unfortunately, that still water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Floating a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil on the surface of the water will help keep mosquitoes from using the water, and it won’t bother the birds. But it’s still important to change the water twice a week so any larvae don’t have time to hatch.

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White onionsPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Onions

Rubbing a slice of onion over your skin can be a good way to keep away mosquitoes and other biting insects.

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Orange peelsPhoto: Shutterstock

6. Orange and Lemon Peels

If you’re not crazy about the idea of rubbing onions all over yourself to keep away mosquitoes, you may be happy to know that you can often get similar results by rubbing fresh orange peels or lemon peels over your exposed skin. It’s said that mosquitoes and gnats are totally repulsed by either scent.

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Apple cider vinegarPhoto: Shutterstock

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Planning a camping trip? Here’s an old army trick to keep away the ticks and mosquitoes: Approximately three days before you leave, start taking 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar three times a day. Continue using the vinegar throughout your trek, and you just might return home without a bite. Another time-honoured approach to keep gnats and mosquitoes at bay is to moisten a cloth or cotton ball with white vinegar and rub it over your exposed skin.

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Vanilla extractPhoto: Shutterstock

8. Vanilla

Everybody likes the smell of vanilla. Everybody but bugs, that is. Dilute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract with 1 cup water and wipe the mixture on your exposed skin to discourage mosquitoes, blackflies, and ticks.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest