Spending time outdoors in the summer is a great way to take advantage of the warm weather and to entertain family and friends with classic BBQ dishes. When you’re enjoying a sunny afternoon by the pool or dinner on your patio, you certainly do not want to share your day with pests; especially ants, flies, and wasps. As you plan your cookout menu, you will also want to plan for pests and ways you can keep them off of your summertime party RSVP list.
- Keep food and beverages sealed: To prevent food-borne illnesses carried by insects, such as flies, we recommend placing food in trays or dishes and then wrapping them in plastic or aluminum foil. It’s also recommended to offer screw-top beverages to your guests and keep bottles sealed when not in use. Alternatively, you can serve food inside and have your guests eat outside! Once your party has finished your meal, remember to put food away once people stop eating—if they need a second or third serving then they can head back inside to grab an extra bite from the fridge.
- Remove standing water: To avoid pesky mosquito bites, make sure standing water is removed from the outdoor eating and socializing areas. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, therefore by removing these breeding areas, you greatly reduce the mosquito population in your yard. This includes emptying birdbaths, kiddie pools, and flowerpots in the weeks prior to your party for best protection.
- Empty trash often: Understandably, you’ll want to enjoy the day with guests but don’t forget to take out the trash! Letting trash pile up will let bugs creep into your BBQ. You’ll also want to keep trashcans with lids on the perimeter of your party with the lids on when not in use.
- Plant herbs like, lavender, peppermint or basil: If you’re looking for a natural way to keep pests away, try planting these herbs in your garden! Lavender fends off mosquitoes, moths, fleas, and flies; Basil shields flies and mosquitoes; and Peppermint can protect your yard from mosquitoes, mice, spiders, flies, and ants.
- Consider Planning a Daytime BBQ: Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so consider planning an outdoor celebration during the day to avoid mosquito bites. If your party lingers on into the night, bring out the citronella candles and use mosquito spray that has an EPA-registered active ingredient. If it’s a large soiree or special occasion where pests are not welcome, think about calling a professional ahead of time to treat the area ahead of time.
Summer on, pest free!
Written by: Judy Black
Judy Black, BCE, is the Vice President, North America Technical Services at Rentokil Steritech, with regional brand Western Exterminator. Western Exterminator has been providing proven pest control solutions for homeowners for nearly 100 years. Judy is a board-certified entomologist, has served as a chair on the National Pest Management Association’s technical committee, and has served as director of the certification board for the Entomological Society of America.