Cathy Yamashiro from Smith Garden Center shares some natural insect repellents and simple preventive maintenance that can keep pesky bugs at bay, making your next outdoor party more fun for everyone!
Mosquitoes are the bane of every outdoor event and they lay eggs in stagnant water. Make your yard less attractive to them by removing all sources of stagnant water such as buckets, bird baths, pet bowls or any other items that tend to collect and hold water after a rain. Keep a small artificial pond or birdbath fresh by either replacing the water frequently or adding a bubbler or fountain.
Mow the lawn, remove yard debris and keep the lids on trashcans. Some insects such as ticks like to hang out in tall grass, while wasps, flies and bees may find open garbage cans attractive. Taking care of a few outdoor cleanup activities can greatly reduce the chances of insect issues during your outdoor event.
In addition to their good looks, some plants have the added benefit of keeping insects such as mosquitoes away. Geraniums, marigolds, lavender, lemongrass and even rosemary emit scents that mosquitoes don`t like. Pyrethrum - a natural chemical found in marigolds - is even used in many insect repellents. Place pots of these plants near seating areas or use them as table centerpieces outside for best results.
Fly and Bee-Proof Your Party
Flies, bees and wasps have a knack for finding any party that features sweet foods or drinks. Keep foods indoors - or at least in sealed containers - until it's time to eat. Use plastic wrap, upturned colanders or food tents to protect food from winged pests at mealtime, keeping in mind that if the insects can smell the food, they'll probably seek it out. Cover opened beverage cans, bottles and glasses if liquid remains inside, and always check before taking another drink, just to be safe.
Serve food and drink in a screened-in porch or party tent, if possible, to help keep insects away from the food areas entirely. Keep trashcans covered, or tie up trash bags used during the party as soon as they're full. Put them in lidded cans far away from the guests.
Keep the party area far away from fragrant flowers such as roses, and avoid wearing floral scents that may attract bees.
An Easygoing (Bug-Free) Evening
It's time to bring out the lighting as your party extends beyond dusk. Mosquitoes get more active around this time and other insects, such as moths, are attracted to certain light sources. Keep those nocturnal flying nuisances away by turning off your outdoor lighting, even bulbs of the LED variety. Use tiki torches or citronella candles instead in areas where most of your guests congregate. If you must use electric lights outdoors, keep them in areas away from the crowd. Smoke from citronella candles can also help keep mosquitoes and small flying insects away, as will a breeze. A fan can help keep mosquitoes away from a small area outdoors, such as a porch, on a calm day.