The Cotton Ball Hack That'll Keep Bugs Away While Outside

No matter what time of year, you should be able to go outside and enjoy yourself. However, you may often find your outdoor space ravaged by bugs, particularly around food and drink. Of course, this can be even more annoying if you have large amounts of edible items for guests. While many people swat and bat away these pesky creatures, there is a surprisingly simple solution you could use — the cotton ball hack. All you need to do is add a few essential ingredients to your cotton balls, leave them out in plain sight, and let them do all the work. This should help zap outdoor insect woes in the bud, no matter the time or place. 

Below, we'll explain how to use this hack to the best of your ability and show you what ingredients to add to your cotton balls. While there are quite a few, you likely already have some ingredients nestled in your home.

Use these bug-killing ingredients

So, what ingredients do you need?  As it turns out, all you need to do is add some sugar, borax, and water to a few cotton balls. This should do the trick. You can execute this method by whisking up a small amount of the mixture and dipping a cotton ball or two into it. They should be ready to go once they've soaked up the mixture. Now you should be able to use these near your picnic to draw any unwanted insects away from your space. Just make sure to avoid getting any mixture near any food, as you don't want to be ingesting this mixture yourself. While you're doing this, it's also wise to check your plants for pests to help keep your outdoor space pest-free.  

Using the cotton ball hack is effective, but it may not be the kindest option. "Although most people think of insects as something to be avoided, many of them are so important to the environment," Corrie Moreau, Ph.D., director and curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection, told Insider. Instead, you could try soaking your cotton balls in peppermint oil. This is a much friendlier option. Either way, both should do the trick.

Scents to repel or kill insects

The cotton-ball hack is highly effective as the borax helps to kill any bugs that come across it, as it is toxic to their bodies. However, with this trick, it is masked by the smell of the sugar. These ingredients are essentially the bread and butter of the whole method. In this case, you can use scents to your advantage so you can spend time outdoors without having to worry about an infestation.    

While you have the option to kill insects using the cotton ball hack, you can also deter them by using scents they hate. This should work to your advantage. For example, pesky picnic bugs will likely avoid any citrus, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, and vinegary scents, to name a few. However, if you're concerned about your food and drink specifically, you can always go the extra mile by covering up your food and covering any large jugs of drink with some plastic wrap. This extra measure should help prevent any bugs from taking a nab at it. However, that's not all. You can also protect your garden by planting flowers that ward off insects, which is perfect if you want to keep bugs away while outside. Of course, the method you deploy will likely depend on your situation and personal needs. If you're looking to protect an outdoor feast, then the cotton-ball hack will undoubtedly help you to enjoy an insect-free moment.