Nobody likes mosquitoes, but some of the methods that have traditionally been used to control them can be just as bad. These have often involved strong-smelling sprays that contain harsh chemicals that are just as bad for the environment as they are for a person’s health. Fortunately, there are plenty of methods of safe mosquito control that will let you sit outside this summer without being constantly bit.

Eliminate Breeding Grounds

One of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away from your property is to keep them from breeding anywhere near you. Mosquitoes thrive in wet areas such as swamps and ponds, but just about any source of standing water can be an ideal place for mosquitoes to breed. If you have puddles of stagnant water around your property or even things such as bird baths and water dishes for pets, consider either getting rid of them or emptying them often enough to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs.

Consider Natural Mosquito Yard Repellent

There are plenty of things that act as all-natural mosquito repellent that you can use in your own backyard. The most obvious and probably most common method is to light some citronella candles, but while this is effective if you have a minor mosquito problem, it might not help if your yard is swarming with these biting insects. A more effective solution is to use a product containing garlic juice on fences, grass, mulch, and just about any other surface in your yard. The only problem with this is that these solutions do smell like garlic, so you will want to use it sparingly if you plan to entertain guests regularly in your backyard. Other effective natural mosquito repellents include lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and lavender.

Choose the Right Personal Mosquito Repellent

If you don’t mind wearing mosquito repellent either in the form of a spray or a lotion, make sure you’re choosing a product that is both safe and effective. Products that use DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus as the main active ingredient will be safe to use. When you use a mosquito repellent, only apply it to exposed skin, not underneath your clothes. Only use as much as you need, and avoid putting it on any area with open cuts.

Finally, remember that no mosquito repellent will leave you completely protected. There are several species of mosquitoes out there, and it is likely that a few of these pests will still try to take a bite out of you. Experiment with some of these safer methods to see what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to take your party inside if there are just too many mosquitoes for you to handle.