How To Keep Annoying Pests Away From Your Outdoor Area

*Swat, Swat, Swat*! You want to enjoy the last few weeks of summer in peace. However, the pesky bugs keep intruding on your peaceful backyard oasis! It is difficult to enjoy yourself, your patio, and your yard when you keep needing to fight off every fly, bee, mosquito, and wasp that comes your way. While it is impossible (and not a good idea for the environment) to eliminate these pests, there are numerous methods to successfully keep pesky bugs away from your outdoor area. 

We can’t wait to share how to keep pesky bugs away from your outdoor area with our tried and true tips. 

 

1. Get Rid of Any Standing Water 

Bugs and mosquitoes see a puddle, a pond, gutters, a bucket, an unused bird bath, or a pool cover and think of it as a romantic hotspot to breed. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Therefore, if you want to reduce the number of pests in your yard, reduce the standing water they wish to breed in from your home. It is impossible to remove all instances of water from around your home. You might have water features you enjoy. We don’t want you to eliminate your landscape to eliminate the bugs. 

  • If you enjoy your bird bath, you don’t need to remove it. Simply change the water every few days to keep it from attracting mosquitoes.
  • If you have a rainwater barrel, make sure to screen it and cycle through the water regularly.
  • Check old wheelbarrows, buckets, or flowerpots to ensure water isn’t hanging out there.
  • Regularly clean your gutters to ensure there is no trapped water growing stagnant. 

 

2. Mouthwash Isn’t Just For Your Mouth 

An alcohol-based mouthwash is an excellent deterrent for many bugs. Simply pour some mouthwash into a spray bottle and spray around the perimeter of your yard, patio, deck, and even your fire pit seating area! While it can repel bugs, it also leaves your yard smelling like a minty fresh dental office. In addition, the alcohol evaporates rapidly, meaning you must spray regularly. 

 

3. Patio Fan, Anyone?

Patio fans are excellent at literally blowing the bugs away – especially flies and mosquitoes. You don’t necessarily need to install an overhead fan; a stand-alone fan is also effective. As a bonus to blowing away bugs, a fan helps cool off your patio. 

 

4. Your Lighting Isn’t Setting The Right Mood 

Have you ever seen A Bug’s Life? It is no secret that insects will migrate toward the light. However, this does not mean you must host every backyard barbeque or patio dessert in the dark. Did you know that bugs’ eyes help them see shorter wavelengths of light? That means bugs see purples, blues, and even ultraviolet light (light that is invisible to humans). Luckily, their visual eyesight range can not take in warmer colors, like orange or red.  

To help your patio not attract so many bugs, trade your cooler bulbs for warmer ones. We recommend yellow or sodium vapor bulbs! Try not to use bulbs that are brighter than you need because the intensity of light can also attract pests. 

It might be tempting to put warmer light bulbs around your patio and a blue lighting bug zapper farther away from your hangout space. However, we highly recommend you don’t do this. Yes, the “zappers” are effective, but they don’t discriminate against the “bad” or “good” bugs. The zappers often kill bugs that are good for the environment – those that prey on the bugs you don’t want around.

 

5. Plant Some Herbs

A wide variety of plants deter a wide variety of pests. The herbs you plant depend on what type of bug you want to remove from your outdoor space. For example, rosemary and garlic are natural repellents for biting insects. Marigolds work well to deter mosquitoes. Ants avoid chrysanthemums, flies keep clear of basil, and moths are not fans of lavender. Chive plants deter aphids, mites, and Japanese beetles! See here for a complete comprehensive list of what plants deter what bugs. 

Planting herbs have benefits outside of deterring nasty insects. They smell nice, are edible, and are aesthetically pleasing.

 

6. Burn Citronella 

Citronella will drive away insects such as flies and mosquitoes. It comes from the leaves and stems of lemongrass – a common ingredient in natural bug repellents! The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes citronella oil as a non-toxic biopesticide. You can burn citronella torches and citrus candles to fill your space with a refreshing citrus scent and natural ambient lighting.

You can easily make your citronella candle using this simple recipe below (Courtesy of Garden Therapy)

Supplies

  • Mason Jar
  • A double boiler, if you don’t have one, don’t worry! A heat-safe mixing bowl set in bowling water works just as well to melt the wax!
  • Beeswax
  • Pre-waxed wicks with tabs
  • Citronella oil
  • Hot glue gun

 

Directions

  1. Attach the wick tab with the hot glue gun to the bottom of the mason jar.
  2. Melt the beeswax in the double broiler.
  3. Add 1 oz of citronella oil per pound of wax.
  4. Let the wax cool slightly.
  5. Pour it into the mason jar.
  6. Check to make sure your wick is staying centered as the wax hardens.

 

7. Keep Your Outdoor Space Clean

Overgrown backyards are a perfect place for bugs to call home. Ticks love the tall grass, unruly bushes make an ideal home for spiders and other pests, and dead leaves are perfect for beetles and ants. In addition to keeping your yard trimmed, pick up any trash after gatherings, as these also attract pests.

 

8. Homemade Bug Sprays

There are numerous homemade bug sprays out there! Many feature essential oils to help ward off pests. So why opt for a more natural homemade insect repellent? Well, it is cheaper and way better for the environment, your health, your pets, and your family and friends. Many bug repellents have chemicals that are toxic to the environment and pose a danger to your health and your pets. 

Here are a few you might like to try. 

 

Essential Oil Blend

Supplies

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Witch Hazel
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Bug repellent essential oils
    • Tea Tree (Also called Malaluka)
    • Cinnamon (Skin corrosive)
    • Orange
    • Lavender
    • Lemon Balm
    • Thyme (Skin corrosive)
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Peppermint

 

Directions

  1. Combine one-part witch hazel with one-part water
  2. For every cup of solution, add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and 24-36 drops of essential oil.
  3. Put the bug repellent solution in the spray bottle and spray around your outdoor area.

 

Please note: Be very careful using any (even homemade) insect repellents on or around young children. Even though essential oils are natural, young children do not tolerate them well. For example, the effects of lemon eucalyptus oil are unknown to children under three.

You can also mix together one part water with one part apple cider vinegar and 20-55 drops of bug repellent essential oils.

 

9. Light a Fire in Your Fire Pit 

Fire pits not only add an aesthetically pleasing and warm ambiance to your backyard space but are also excellent natural bug repellers. Smoke and insects do not get along. In fact, bugs will keep their distance if smoke is present, even if that means missing out on a meal. Obviously, you can’t build a campfire on your patio; a fire pit is a perfect solution!  

Choose a wood-burning fire pit, as you want the smoke to deter bugs. Burning “green” wood with higher moisture content will deter bugs better as it creates more smoke. Usually, it is better to use dry, seasoned wood because it burns cleaner and easier.  

Here at Fire Pit Art, we pride ourselves on providing top-quality fire pits. Our fire pits are one of a kind, crafted to perfection, durable, and sure to add appeal to any space. Contact us today! We are happy to help you get rid of those pesky backyard pests through a beautiful fire pit addition.

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