If you plan on a spring clean to get your outdoor area ready for the barbecue season, keep an eye out for nests. Removing a wasp or spider nest can be a terrifying job, so consider engaging an exterminator. It’s a small expense for the peace of mind of not having to worry about hundreds of baby huntsman hatching in three-week cycles all summer long.
Citronella is a chemical-free essential oil made from lemongrass. It’s been a recognised mosquito repellent for over 60 years and, as such, is considered safe. So spark up a citronella lamp or torch to keep the mozzies away. Although, it is highly flammable, so never leave the oil alight unattended. Or burn citronella-scented candles instead.
Insects may love to bully us with bites and stings, but they’re hopeless at standing up to a breeze. Alfresco ceiling fans will not only keep you cool on hot summer afternoons, they can also help clear the flying critters in your outdoor-entertaining area to keep the bugs off the grilled meats and your guests. We’ve got a guide to selecting the right ceiling fan for your space.
Keep the bugs at bay by keeping your outdoor areas free of food scraps and empty drinking glasses. Cool juice and tasty snacks are very enticing on warm days, but leave the empty dishes out and you’ll attract a bunch of uninvited guests.
Some plants have a scent that bugs find repugnant, such as thyme, lavender, rosemary, basil, garlic, marigolds, oregano and mint. Catnip is said to be more effective than DEET against mozzies and cockroaches. Or grow your own pallet garden with bug-repelling plants.
Mosquitoes love breeding in standing water. Bizarrely, studies show they prefer manmade containers, like gutters, buckets and birdbaths to lay their eggs. Once it rains, it takes about a week for a fresh batch of mozzies to hatch. So clear your gutters, empty kiddie pools when not in use and ensure your water feature has a pump to move the water, which makes it inhospitable for larvae.
Our flying friends act as natural predators for many bugs, so having them around is great. To attract them, you could hang feeders in the garden. But make sure they’re away from your alfresco areas as the poop can become an issue unto itself.
Bugs love light and will come flocking at night. You could position your spotlights away from the seating area as a decoy. Or install yellow bulbs in your lamps. Insects are mesmerised by colder-spectrum colours (like blues and violets), but they can’t see yellow very well. This soft lighting can add ambience to your entertaining space — minus the moths.
If you found these easy ways to make your alfresco a bug-free zone helpful, you may also enjoying checking out our easy tips on how to dress up your deck.