We had this place in Austin, Texas, some years back, and it was green and lovely, but almost everything that made it enticing and beautiful also made it a haven for bugs. It was overgrown, a little too humid, there were spots of standing water from time to time, and on and on. So, during those months when insects were most active, a lot of times we just stayed inside. It was too hot anyway, to be honest, but we really liked to BBQ and hang out outside.
We’ve been BBQing more lately and that got us thinking about Austin and our house in Colorado, and whether or not there was anything we could do to make our outside environment less hospitable to bugs that like to sting and bite. Turns out Google still knows everything. We compiled a list of a few of our favorite ‘more natural’ solutions here.
- Get rid of standing water. Even a child’s toy left unattended can become a haven for insect larvae. It’s a good idea to take a walk around the yard, especially after it rains, and make sure water hasn’t pooled up anywhere.
- Cut back your trees and bushes. We know you love your shade, but insects do too. Think about how you can be strategic and keep the shade that keeps the summer bearable while trimming back enough to minimize the space insects might use to take cover during the heat of the day. Best to keep that yard trimmed too. Adult mosquitoes can use it for shelter if it gets too long.
- Plant insect-repellent plants. Marigolds, chrysanthemums, basil, and lavender all repel pests. We found a nice list over on Garden Design's website if you’re curious about other bug-busting botanicals.
- Make sure your gutters are clear. If they’re not, then they’ve likely become an ideal home for some of your least favorite outdoor friends.
- Cover food and trash while you’re outside. We know; it’s a hassle to keep plates and sides covered, especially on a windy day, but it makes a difference. Another tip we read was to leave soda or juice in the yard away from where you’ll be hanging out. The idea being that the bugs will go for the easy meal and leave you alone.
- Place your BBQ grill in the sun. The additional heat will help keep pests away. Warning: this isn’t going to work on your Uncle Ted. He’s going to stand next to you and tell you when to flip the food, no matter where you put the grill.
- An extension cord and a fan. We were surprised what a difference a little bit of air movement made at our grill and picnic table. If you have a box fan, put that thing to good use.
After we made this list we found another one at Quick and Dirty Tips that has some very cool and simple things you can do with plants or stuff you might have in your recycle bin to keep those bugs at bay. Check that out here.
So what do you think? Do you have any backyard BBQ hacks for keeping the insects away? Let us know in the comments or find us on your favorite social media channel and let us know. Until then, may all your BBQs be spicy, enjoyed with family, and mosquito-bite free.