10 all-natural tips and tricks for repelling mosquitoes

Emily Hsieh, Shine staff

One of the big (and only) drags of summer is dealing with mosquitoes. They're everywhere this time of year, and most repellents out there leave skin coated with a film of icky chemicals that not only seem questionably safe for kids but smell awful too. Though most of us have heard of using citronella to ward off bugs, turns out that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of natural deterrents. Here, an array of pointers to keep mosquitoes away:

Get rid of standing water sources (which is where female critters like to lay their eggs)-birdbaths, wading pools, and pet bowls should be changed a couple times a week.

There are certain plants that mosquitoes can't stand the scent of. The list includes catnip, rosemary, citronella grass, lavender, cinnamon, and peppermint-all good things to keep in mind as you're landscaping your backyard.

Like vampires, mosquitoes are said to be garlic-phobes. Slice a clove in half and rub the cut side on your skin, or mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a spray bottle, shake, and spritz it on. If you can't bear the smell on your body, saturate dish cloths in the solution to hang around your patio when you're hanging out outdoors.

Placing rosemary and sage directly onto the coals while you're grilling can also help keep critters away.

Certain essential oils, like lemon eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, and caster oil, are also said to be effective mosquito deterrents. Try mixing 10-25 drops of one of the aforementioned oils with 2 tablespoons of either olive oil or any other kind of cooking oil to spray on your skin.

Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset, so try to avoid being outside 30 minutes before and after dawn and dusk.

They're attracted to dark clothing, so think white/light when you're getting dressed to spend time outdoors.

Flowery perfumes and soaps also have come-hither effect on mosquitoes, so avoid them outside. Beware of scented deodorants and hair products too.

To create a mosquito no-fly zone, you can also position yourself near a fan to make it much harder for them to land.

Crushed parsley mixed into a bottle of apple cider vinegar is also good for deterring mosquitoes. Curbly.com suggests rubbing the mixture on your skin, or soaking a handkerchief in it to tie around your neck.

Slightly creepy but true: bats are a natural predator to mosquitoes (some species are even known to eat a couple thousand in a night!). If you don't mind the sight of them, you can even build your own backyard bat house.

Sources: associatedcontent.com, batmanagement.com, curbly.com, chemistry.about.com, eartheasy.com, gomestic.com, mosquitobarrier.com