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Keep Bugs Away from the Barbecue

Summer’s a great time to spend outside with family, fun, and food. There’s nothing better than barbecues, parties, and picnics with people you love.

Unfortunately, the bugs enjoy the party food just as much as we do, and nothing spoils a barbecue better than a swarm of wasps, mosquitoes, or marching ants. These tips will help keep bugs from spoiling your summer activities.

Protect Your Food

Once the food is served, the bugs are likely to cause problems and infest the barbecue.

One way to keep bugs off of your food is to place a food tent over each plate. You can either purchase food tents online, or you can make your own by using a fine-mesh colander, a shower cap, or tin foil.

Before the bugs come around in the first place, there are a few food-safe options you can use to prevent them from becoming a problem. You can place the following strong aromas around your barbecue or picnic. Many essential oils and strong smells are proven to repel wasps and drive off mosquitoes.

  • Lavender
  • Bay leaf
  • Bee Balm
  • Basil
  • Scented Geranium
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • White vinegar
  • Marigolds
  • Citrus, such as lemon, lime, or orange peels

Place clippings of these plants and zested or whole citrus peels around the barbecue or picnic as a barrier against pests. Pour white vinegar in a spray bottle to use against any bugs that come by. Rubbing alcohol also works well to kill bugs on contact, but it isn’t as safe around food as vinegar.

Make your own homemade wasp repellent that works for mosquitoes, wasps, and flies. Use one drop of essential oil from geranium, citronella, peppermint, clove, lemongrass, or rosemary and mix it with one cup of water in a spray bottle. The smell should repel most flying insects, and the solution is safe to use near food.

Remedies Against Wasps

Wasps can cause serious problems for any picnic or barbecue, especially if you’re allergic to their stings. Plus, it’s hard to have a good barbecue when wasps dive-bomb into soda cans and raid the food.

To keep these flying fiends away, prevent them from nesting on your property in the first place. Just follow these instructions to make a DIY wasp decoy, a fake wasp nest that tricks them into thinking a rival colony has already taken the spot. You can either purchase one online or make one at home. To make your own wasp decoy, stuff a white or brown paper lunch bag with plastic bags, tie off the top with string or rubber bands, tie a hook or bent paper clip to the top, and draw a quarter-sized dot on the bottom front corner. Hang one on every corner of the house, the shed, and in places where wasps commonly show up, such as the woodpile.

If wasps are already loose around the yard, protect your barbecue by following these instructions to make a DIY wasp trap. Cut off the top of the bottle and reattach it with the lid facing the bottom of the bottle. Put meat, sugary water, or soda inside and hang as many of these traps around the barbecue as you’d like. Once they fly inside, the wasps can’t figure out how to escape.

You can do the same thing with normal 12-ounce soda cans. Just tape a cone-shaped piece of paper or plastic in the opening to keep them from getting out.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, but they can also carry serious diseases like West Nile virus, Dengue Fever, and Zika virus. With lavender, bay leaves, garlic, rosemary, and the other scents mentioned above, mosquitoes are much less likely to come around and gatecrash your barbecue.

You can either purchase a mosquito coil online or make one at home. Make your own mosquito coil by smoldering untreated cardboard and letting the smoke float over the barbecue.

There are also scented candles that keep mosquitoes away, like citronella candles online. Create your own scented smoke by putting rosemary, peppermint, and sage leaves in the hot barbecue coals.

Since mosquitoes are weak fliers, you can create your own wind to throw them off with fans. Aim the fans at the food or pan back and forth across the area. Most flying insects are unlikely to stay around long.

Flies

To keep flies away, the fans work really well, but you can also make your own flytrap. Mix cornmeal or cornstarch with molasses in pie tins. Place these around the barbecue and where flies tend to land. Like homemade flypaper, the flies will be attracted to the sweet molasses and get stuck in it.

Ants

Notoriously hard to get rid of and able to get into everything, ants aren’t just after your barbecue food. If carpenter ants find their way from the yard into the house, they can carve through the wood in your house. Left alone, they can cause a huge amount of damage.

Even though ants are extremely hard to eradicate without professional help, there are a couple of things you can do to keep ants away from the picnic or barbecue. Make your own ant bait by soaking cotton balls in sugar water and a small amount of liquid boric acid. Boric acid is a family-friendly component of household cleaning supplies that you can purchase online or from a local hardware store. Place the sugary cotton balls around the barbecue. The boric acid will wreak havoc in the ant colony and help protect your party.

You can also make a barrier around the barbecue by crumbling charcoal into a shallow line. The ants dislike the texture and will try to avoid it. Alternatively, you can do the same with food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe for the family but acts like glass for ants.

Professional Pest Control

The best thing to do for pests around the house is to call the professionals. Any of these bugs could create big problems, especially if they infest the inside of the house.

When you call Fox, you’ll talk to one of our Service Coordinators who can give a free quote directly over the phone. When your Pest Pro arrives at your door, you’ll receive a professional evaluation of the pest problem and a treatment plan tailored to your situation.

Plus, you can rest easy knowing that our family and pet safe, environmentally friendly products are working for you so you don’t have to worry about the pests.

Because No Bugs is Simply Better.

Posted on May 18, 2020.

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