Avoid Insects at your Barbecue
Nothing detracts from the fun of an outdoor summer barbecue like uninvited guests, especially if they are of the creepy, crawly, winged or slithering varieties. If your last Hardin, IL, get-together was soured by an invasion of flies, ants, gnats, mosquitoes, and other irritating critters, then there are several steps you can take to make your next outdoor event less hospitable to summer insects. Let’s run down some common ways to keep pest problems from putting a damper on your fun.
Eliminate Moisture Sources
Standing water in your backyard can draw insects—particularly mosquitoes, which choose watery areas as their breeding grounds—to the yard and cause a nuisance to you and your guests. Fill in or cover any areas where puddles may form. Look for hidden sources of moisture too, including drains and gutters that may back up with leaves and hold moisture that attracts bugs. Empty out any drip trays on outdoor planters at least weekly. If you have a birdbath, be sure to fill it with clean water on the party day.
Mow the Lawn to Avoid Insects
Adult mosquitoes are notorious for hiding in tall grass. Avoid an insect infestation by keeping your lawn cut short, being sure to mow the grass the day before your event if possible. Use a weed wacker to wack down weeds that might provide a safe harbor for mosquitoes.
Cover the Food
From watermelon to potato salad, bugs, like people, enjoy the same barbecue fare. Keep your food in lidded bowls and other containers when possible, returning the lid after each serving to eliminate the temptation by hovering insects.
Keep Trash in Check
Trash containers should have lids that fit tight; this keeps bugs out of the trash and also prevents water from getting in the container. Avoid using open-top trash cans during your barbecue, since trash from your meal provides an instant attractant to a host of different insects, including flies and ants.
Consider an Outdoor Fan
Make it hard for insects to fly near your eating area or picnic table with a good outdoor fan. As a bonus, this also helps keep guests cool while they nosh on burgers and brats.
Think About DIY Pest Control
There are several DIY pest control solutions for keeping insect chaos from ruining your barbecue. Make a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to spray on areas where ants frolic. Use pest-repelling geraniums as table centerpieces, and deck out your party area with citronella candles or tiki torches filled with citronella.