It’s great to get in the garden for barbecues, relaxation and time with loved-ones. But a good time outdoors is often spoilt by pests. Flies, mosquitoes and other airborne creatures can cause havoc at barbecues and garden parties — unless you take steps to keep them at bay.
Whether you’re using your garden for some quiet relaxation or a huge social gathering, these tips should help you to minimise the flies and mosquitoes in your garden this summer.
Use insect repellent
There are some very effective insect repellents on the market these days. Choose a product containing DEET, and use it liberally if airborne pests are a real problem. Alternatively, you can create your own repellent spray with water, basil, citronella oil and mint.
Use a bug light
A repellent lamp uses a gas cartridge to emit repellent. Alternatively, you can zap flies and other flying creatures by attracting them to a light that uses an electrical charge to kill the bugs.
Light some tiki torches
The best way to reduce the number of flying creatures in your garden is to keep them at bay. Deter flies, mosquitoes, moths and other airborne bugs by lighting some tiki torches and placing them along the perimeter of your garden.
Burn some candles
A lot of bugs are repelled by the merest hint of citrus. By burning some citronella candles around your garden, you’re keeping bugs at bay, but you’re also creating a wonderful aroma and some mood lighting to enhance your garden-based experiences during the summer months.
Erect some netting
Create a barrier between you and the flying critters with some specialised netting — which is particularly effective against mosquitoes. Build a gazebo and attach the netting to that, or use a pergola as the structure for your protective cocoon. And to increase the effectiveness of your barrier, spray it with repellent.
Mow your lawn
Flies, mosquitoes, bees and other flying bugs like to hang out in long grass. There’s often a good combination of food, moisture and shelter there. By removing this environment, you’re telling the bugs to hang out somewhere else. Just before you set up for your day in the garden, mow your lawn.
Hold your garden events during the day
Mosquitoes and moths in particular like to come out to play at dawn and dusk. So by holding your events in the middle of the day, you’re always going to have fewer flying critters to contend with.
Manage your food
A lot of the most unpleasant bugs, including wasps, are attracted to gardens in the summer because of a healthy food supply. Take this supply away, and bugs will look elsewhere. You can buy covers for food designed specifically for use outdoors.
Only serve food when it’s going to be eaten, and never leave it out for longer than an hour. Clear empty food containers and plates as soon as possible, and store all your food waste in drawstring bin bags. Make sure all of your refuse bags are placed straight in a lidded bin.
It’s also a good idea to remain vigilant for mess and spillages. Clean up food debris, spillages and dropped food continually throughout the day. And keep all of your surfaces clean and sanitised. Having a handheld steam mop or some sanitiser spray close by is always a good idea.
If you’re serving sugary snacks or drinks, take extra care, as bugs are often drawn to sugar. Serve drinks in bottles wherever possible. Alternatively, you can use travel cups, or seal glasses using cupcake paper and rubber bands… just make sure you have a supply of paper straws for people to drink from.
Remove standing water
Mosquitoes and certain species of fly are attracted to standing water. Drain or remove puddles wherever possible, and if you have a pond, cover it in advance. Also, check any buckets, plant pots, paddling pools and guttering for standing water.
Use fans if there’s no breeze
Flies and mosquitoes tend to congregate in areas with little or no breeze. If there’s not a natural breeze in your garden, create one with fans. Keep the air moving, and you should find that flies and mosquitoes leave for calmer surroundings.
There’s no way to completely eradicate flies and other flying bugs from your garden. But with a few simple steps, you can keep them to an absolute minimum — and enjoy your garden parties and barbecues in peace.