Are bees and bugs crashing your summertime fun? My kids love to spend every waking hour outdoors in the summer, but they don't love waking up to a body full of bug bites and rashes. And I can't say I blame them, but I certainly don't want them to shy away from playing outside.

 Here's how we avoid the most troublesome bugs, and treat any bug bites that do happen: 

Bees: It's so very important to teach your kids not to panic when a bee flies near. Screaming and swatting at the insect are great ways to ensure a sting. Just teach kids to stay calm and gently blow a bee that lands on the skin, rather than swatting. This is definitely one time when kids will do what you do, rather than what you say. So keep calm and let the bees fly on by.

Treating stings: Even with that advice, there are times when kids (and adults) are sure to step on, sit on, or in other ways bug a bee enough to get a sting. When that happens, use tweezers or the side of a credit card to remove the stinger. Be sure to keep an eye out for allergic reactions like swelling, dizziness or difficulty breathing. If a reaction occurs, call your doctor immediately.

Mosquitoes: These little buggers are enemy number one for my youngest daughter. For some reason, they seek her out more than anyone else in the family, and she reacts to each bite with huge, itchy lumps the size of golf balls! My best trick to keep her from getting eaten alive by mosquitoes is California Baby Summer Lotion with Citronella. Certainly worth the $15 to make sure that my kids aren't itching the days away.  

Treating bites: Of course, there are days when we forget that magic lotion at home or run out altogether. To treat the inevitable bites, I make a paste from baking soda and water (3:1) and apply directly to the bites to reduce itching and swelling.

Ticks: These nasty bloodsuckers can make a hike in the woods, well ... suck. The best way to avoid bites is to keep them from getting on skin in the first place (i.e. wearing long pants when hiking). After hikes, do a full-body check (including in the hair) to look for bugs.

Treating bites: Use point tweezers to remove the entire tick and clean the area with antiseptic. If you develop a rash or fever, call your doctor right away.

Buzz off: Avoiding summer insects
Bees, ticks and mosquitoes — oh my! Don't let pesky insects keep your kids indoors.