How to have a pest-free barbecue (BBQ) this summer

How to have a pest-free barbecue (BBQ) this summer

Summertime is the best time of the year to have a backyard barbecue (BBQ). Nearly 80% of Americans do. But, what do you do when tiny uninvited guests show up?

Whenever food is placed outdoors, insects will be drawn to the smell. Ants, yellow jackets, and flies are attracted to typical barbecue fare, and mosquitoes are especially active at dusk when most people head outside to fire up the grill. Not only can each of those pests become a nuisance for homeowners, but they also pose significant health risks to you and your guests. Ants can contaminate food and house flies have been known to carry more than 100 different kinds of disease-carrying germs. Mosquitoes can leave behind much more than just an itchy red bite, and are known to carry diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue fever.

Outdoor pest prevention tips

Want to hold a BBQ? Let’s pick a spot that is relatively pest-free and landscaped. You should mow the grass, trim the hedges, and get rid of any overgrown shrubbery or weeds. Removing excessive foliage and plant growth will help to keep bugs to a minimum.

The next thing that you should do is to get rid of any stagnant water sources in their backyard. Stagnant water attracts mosquitoes and a host should drain small pools, birdbaths, or small ponds that are not being aerated if you have these items in their backyard.

Serve food indoors and then have guests go outside to eat.

Are your guests hanging out on a deck? Bring out a few oscillating fans! Mosquitoes are generally pretty weak flyers, and small breezes literally blow them away. They won’t be able to negotiate the swirling masses of air.

A smart host should make sure that the grill is placed in a sunny location within their yard. The added heat from the sun will discourage bugs from gathering in the area. People who cannot take the excessive heat can use an artificial covering for shade but a host should not place their grill next to a tree or tall grass. This will definitely attract more insects and create a greater fire hazard.

Bugs are drawn to perfume, sweet-smelling candles and many other substances that are designed to make the environment smell good. So, let’s avoid those. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: cinnamon, mint, or citronella candles can be used because they actually repel insects.

Barbecues should be held during the early afternoon. Mosquitoes and other bugs are more common in the evening or early morning hours. If you decide to throw a barbecue later in the day they should use a bug lamp or torches to help keep pests under control.

You should also serve food indoors and have people take their food outside to eat. This way, bugs don’t have a chance to creep into food while it is sitting outdoors. All trash should be thrown away immediately and all trash cans should be positioned indoors or on the perimeter of a yard. 

Finally, using bug spray is also effective for repelling bugs but people should never use spray around food or guests, especially young children.

Let’s remember the following to keep your event bug-free:

  • Landscape the area where the barbecue is going to take place.
  • Remove stagnant water sources.
  • Place the grill and meat in the location of the yard where there are the fewest bugs, and the most sun.
  • Avoid strong sweet-smelling substances.
  • Hold barbecues during the early afternoon hours.
  • Serve food indoors and then have guests go outside to eat.
  • Get rid of the trash as soon as possible instead of letting it pile up.
  • Make sure to cover any food that is left outdoors.

We hope your barbecues are a success this summer and don’t forget to invite your favorite Debug technician!

For more information on pest control in Providence, call us at 401-992-9000.

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Bonus Blog Article

Tips to Stay Tick-Free [Updated 2022]

Before you go out and cover all your grass with concrete, consider taking these steps to prevent ticks in your backyard, from invading your home, and from crawling on your body:

  1. Keep your grass short. Ticks love to settle on high grasses and weeds so that they can snag a ride with a passer-by. Keeping your grass short prevents their ability to brush against you and your pets.
  2. Keep shady spots and piles of leaves away from your home. Ticks love cool, shaded environments. If your yard is shady, consider thinning out the trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight.
  3. Remove fallen leaves promptly from your yard. A pile of leaves is nothing short of Shangri-La to a tick.
  4. Wear light colored clothes and cover up your legs.  If you have to walk through high grasses, make it easier to spot ticks by wearing light colored clothes. Tuck your pants into your socks (not the coolest look, I know). Ticks move pretty slowly, so a periodic review of your legs should help you spot them in plenty of time.
  5. Try to stick to cleared trails. The less brush rubbing against you, the better.
  6. To DEET or not to DEET? Studies suggest that 20% DEET will prevent ticks. I’m not a huge fan of DEET, so I use a natural pest repellant that is heavy on the rosemary and eucalyptus oils. It seems to do the trick just fine, but it does make me crave chicken… Neem oil also seems to do the trick, though I haven’t used it personally. But if I was going camping, or taking a serious hike, I’d probably consider the DEET.
  7. Apply a tick repellent to your cats and dogs. Even if you think your pets are “indoor pets,” you’d be surprised. My little pup goes out into the yard to do his business and immediately comes back to the house. And still, I’ve found ticks on him.
  8. Get in the habit of nightly checks. Before you slip into your jammies, give yourself a once-over. Check your body’s hot spots, especially: arm pits, behind the knees, up under your hair, behind your ears.
  9. Get some guinea hens or chickens. Seriously. I have friends who have three or four chicken and/or guinea fowl roaming freely around their yard. These friends swear they haven’t seen a tick in years—not on their dogs, their kids, anywhere.
  10. Consult with a professional. Your local tick control company may be able to offer you the added expertise and tools needed to help you create a yard that is inhospitable to ticks.

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