How To Keep Bugs Away From Your Cookout
Summer means lots of things: trips to the pool, vacations, ice cream, and a good old American pastime: cookouts. If you enjoy using your back patio or deck for a good time with friends and family along with some barbecued food, then you probably are all too familiar with one of the constant and ongoing battles of cookouts: pest intrusions. Life outside often means spending time among a wide variety of creatures, and certain ones seem to love barging their way into our cookouts and causing everything from mild annoyance to frustrating and lingering issues.
If you’re tired of your pest control methods proving ineffective, take a look at these helpful tips! Here are a few things you can do to keep four common types of outdoor pests at bay.
Mosquitos go hand in hand with summer as much as fireworks do with the Fourth of July—you can’t separate the two. However, you can do something about mosquitos constantly making eating and spending time outside a miserable experience. For starters, enclosing your patio or deck in mosquito netting can help you significantly reduce the bug population in the area you will be using the most. If you have a covered section of the deck or patio, consider installing mosquito netting to provide an area with effective protection.
Likewise, certain types of mosquito repellent will help prevent these bugs from joining in the feast by biting you. DEET is a highly effective mosquito-repelling chemical that is mixed into a wide variety of sprays and other treatment products. However, beyond roughly 25 to 30 percent DEET, any higher concentrations really make no difference as to how effective the product is. Likewise, if you prefer a more natural alternative, eucalyptus sprays contain odors that naturally repel mosquitos.
Finally, a mosquito prevention plan that targets mosquito nesting sites like bushes, shrubs, plants, and trees located near standing water can help greatly reduce the mosquito population on your property. Fewer mosquitos mean fewer problems and a much more enjoyable outdoor experience.
Flies have one of the most powerful senses of smell of any animal. In fact, studies have shown common house flies have the ability to detect a particular odor from four miles away. When you’re whipping up some food on the barbecue or even just relaxing and enjoying a drink on your patio, flies will come surging in. They are one of nature’s most common and ruthless scavengers, and they almost immediately descend on any type of food to start consuming and decomposing it.
While mosquito repellents listed above will work to help keep flies at bay as well, flies are often repelled by the smell of cinnamon. This common household spice will actually repel flies for quite a distance, so stock up on cinnamon-scented candles during the holidays if you struggle with flies during the summer season.
Furthermore, flies also struggle to get around where strong air currents exist. When you weigh only a tiny fraction of an ounce, even the slightest puff of wind is going to have a huge impact on airborne movement. How can you create this puff of wind? A ceiling fan. If you have a covered outdoor patio or deck, the small air current from a ceiling fan can not only increase your comfort but can also ward off flies simply because they can’t force their way into the area with the revolving wind currents. You’ll notice a dramatic drop-off in fly invasions when running a fan while outdoors.
Wasps are common pests around virtually any home, and while they are not drawn to food like flies or mosquitos are, they can be menacing and threatening to anyone in the area. Furthermore, their nests can make even the most beautiful patio unwelcoming. Nobody likes to have their meal interrupted by a small but aggressive creature that threatens a painful sting.
Wasps are also strongly repelled by wind currents created by ceiling fans, making them a great solution for outdoor spaces. However, a few easy-to-grow plants could be the answer to your wasp issues. Spearmint, in particular, is a great wasp repellent, while thyme, wormwood, citronella, and eucalyptus anywhere near your home are great solutions to an ongoing wasp problem.
Finally, ants are known nuisances that invade picnics, cookouts, and all other forms of outdoor food consumption. This is because ants are strongly drawn to just about any source of food they can detect, and they can detect just about anything. In fact, some people believe ants have the strongest sense of smell in the entire animal kingdom.
Keeping ants away doesn’t have to be difficult. For example, common white vinegar found in your kitchen makes a brilliant, natural ant repellent. A 50/50 solution of water and vinegar sprayed around the tables and chairs at your cookout will ward off ants and prevent unwanted intruders from working their way into your patio. Likewise, pair this natural repellent with ant traps. These traps use sweet scents to lure ants in but trap them and prevent them from ever being able to leave. This will lure and direct ants away from your cookout, keeping it pest-free.