How Not to Let Mosquitoes Ruin Your Backyard Barbecue
Barbeques are a great way to entertain family and friends. However, mosquitoes probably aren’t on the guest list. Happily, there are several ways to prevent mosquitoes from ruining your backyard barbeque. Following these tips will keep your guest enjoying their burgers and hotdogs instead of swatting away insects.
Rid Your Yard of Standing Water
Mosquitoes are drawn to, and lay their eggs in standing water. Start by ensuring that your lawn offers good drainage and allows water to run off. Fill in any low areas where puddles are likely to form.
Potted plants also offer a good source of water for mosquitoes. Check the saucers underneath potted plants, as well as the plants themselves, to ensure that everything is dry and draining properly.
Gutters can turn into a breeding ground for mosquitoes if they become clogged with wet leaves. Before your barbeque, clean out gutters and dispose of leaves and other waste that may have become trapped.
However, there is no need to remove all water in your quest to stop mosquitoes from ruining your barbeque. Decorative water features such as ponds, fountains and birdbaths can be treated with bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. This environmentally safe bacteria is available in several over-the-counter products sold at garden centers and will prevent both adult mosquitoes and larvae.
Make Landscaping Work in Your Favor
Mosquitoes often congregate in tall grass and bushy areas. You can prevent mosquitoes from setting up house in your yard by keeping grass mowed and bushes neatly trimmed with space between each plant.
Several plants act as deterrents to mosquitoes due to the oils they product and the scents they emit. To prevent mosquitoes, try incorporating these plants into your landscaping.
Time Your Event
Mosquitoes are most active early in the morning and at dusk. If you plan your barbeque for mid-day or afternoon, when mosquitoes are least active, you can be sure they will RSVP “no”.
Practice Food Safety
Your perfectly grilled burgers and juicy ribs are what keep guests coming to your backyard barbeque year after year. However, food also attracts insects. Keeping food covered can stop mosquitoes from ruining your barbeque. For dishes without lids, try using a wire colander to create a dome over the food. Dishtowels or paper towels draped over bowls will also keep mosquitoes out. You can also use a fan to create a breeze around the table. This will help to blow food smells away and will make the area less appealing to insects.
Trashcans, filled with used plates, food scraps and partially empty drink containers, are a buffet for insects. They can also accumulate water and other liquids. Trash receptacles should have holes to allow them to drain, a plastic liner to help keep them clean and a lid to prevent insects from getting into them. Deciding where to place trashcans is a balancing act at any party. Try to find a location near enough to your guest that they will be able to find them easily, yet far enough away that any insects that gather will not be a nuisance.
Protect Your Guests
After your barbeque, you will send guests home with happy memories and an arm full of leftovers. However, mosquito bites do not make the best souvenirs. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants will prevent most mosquito bites, but enforcing a dress code at your backyard barbeque is probably not practical. Instead, offer your guests insect repellent. DEET-based repellents are effective at preventing most mosquito bites and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, are safe to use on children as young as six months. For a more natural solution, try a repellent with oil of lemon eucalyptus which can be used on children over three years old. To make protecting your guests easy, set up a small table, away from the food, with several choices of insect repellent.
Consider a One-Time Professional Treatment
Some professional pest control companies offer one-time mosquito treatments for special events. These services can offer complete elimination of mosquitoes for a specific period of time. This may be your best bet for that perfect ‘nothing-can-go-wrong’ event.
Your cookout should be full of good food, good friends and good memories. Taking a few easy steps to prevent mosquitoes from ruining your backyard barbeque can ensure that those memories aren’t replaced with ones of swatting insects and scratching bites.