Enjoying your lawn and a relaxing party filled with food and outdoor fun is what the spring and summer seasons are all about. However, uninvited guests like ants, bees, and mosquitoes can really put a damper on the day. By following a few simple steps, it is easy to make your next outdoor event much less buggy. Keep reading for some tips to prevent unwanted guests from ruining your next BBQ or outdoor party!
1. Cover or Hide the Food
Some insects, like mosquitoes, are attracted to humans and human odors. However, most pests that ruin outdoor parties are attracted to foods that people eat. Flies, yellowjackets, ants, bees, and other bugs enjoy many of the same fatty and sugary foods that we do. Meats, sugary drinks, fruits, and other goodies should be served inside whenever possible. If you are serving food indoors, make sure that pest entry is prevented by keeping screens, doors, and windows closed. Screens should be inspected for rips or tears prior to gatherings and repaired whenever necessary. Gaps around doors and windows should be sealed. If food is served outdoors, it should be covered appropriately, or, food should be stored in a container/cooler. Bugs will crawl into and hide in bottles and cans, so plastic or glass cups should be used if possible. Plastic is less susceptible to breaking and other accidents, too.
2. Tidy Up
Even crumbs are enough to attract most insects to an area. Leftovers, spilled foods, and other free meals for pests should be cleaned up as soon as possible. Utensils and dishes should be brought indoors or disposed of as quickly as possible after use. Food remnants should be rinsed or removed prior to disposal. Garbage bags should be used to contain trash. Any liquids should be emptied and the cans/bottles rinsed before being bagged. This will prevent puddling at the bottom of receptacles that can attract ants and flies even after the party has ended. Make sure all garbage bags are sealed tightly before they are placed in trashcans. The lids on trashcans should close tightly to discourage entry by racoons, rats, mice, and other vermin. If you have pets, do not forget to scoop up pet waste, which can attract ants and flies.
An overflowing trash can with loose garbage is asking for trouble. Make sure to keep garbage tightly sealed in garbage bags, rinse containers holding liquid prior to disposal, and make sure the lid of the trashcan closes tightly to eliminate free meals for pests. (Image Credit: theblowup, Image Source: Unsplash)
3. Reduce Fragrances
Fragrant flowers or candles mimicking flowers can attract stinging pests like wasps. Try to reduce the amount of floral scent at your next party to discourage wasp presence. This is especially important if children or adults with allergies (to stinging pests) are attending the party.
4. Reduce Sources of Standing Water
Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying pests to show up uninvited to a party. You can reduce the number of mosquitoes you see all summer long by removing or draining sources of water in the yard that could serve as a breeding ground for these pests. This may include kiddie pools, birdbaths, planters, gutters, etc. These water sources should be monitored and drained once per week to achieve optimal results prior to the day of your event.
5. Wear Insect Repellent
Wearing insect repellent on exposed skin can reduce the amount of interaction with biting pests like mosquitoes and ticks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a tool for use that will help you find the repellent that will work best for you depending on the pests you need to repel. Also, keep in mind that citronella candles and other gimmicky mosquito prevention products are not effective.
6. Prepare and Protect Your Grill
Insects love to take up shelter in unused grills. Earwigs and other pests may make their homes in the cover, too. Before you fire up the grill for the first time, inspect inside for wasp or other nests. Scrape away old food and debris that can attract insects and rodents. Remove and dry out fabric covers that have been sitting for long periods of time. Insects will infest control knobs and tubes as well—inspect these before use. You can cover the gas lines with plastic or foil over the winter to prevent pest entry. Finally, before your first use, let the grill get hot for at least ten minutes to kill any existing freeloaders.
A summer party is a great way to connect with friends and loved ones, but they can quickly turn sour when pests show up. When planning your next gathering, be sure to consider preparing the lawn and landscape to be less hospitable to unwanted animals. You might want to consider a professional inspection by a pest control company if you are dealing with severe pest pressure. They may be able to apply products that can control bugs for multiple weeks as well as suggest ways for you to pest-proof your yard based on the most annoying insects showing up in your area.
Bug Lessons Blog
Welcome science communicators and bug nerds!
Interested in being a guest blogger?