So the summer season can also mean being bombarded with annoying gatecrashers who zoom in for a bite of your meal or your flesh. But don’t worry, here are some ideas on how to ban the pests and make eating outdoors a pleasant experience.
The bane of any outdoor entertainer on a summer evening are mozzies. These flying insects who love to feast on exposed arms, legs and necks are at their most active in the hours around dusk and dawn. The best way to prevent getting bitten is to have insect repellant sprays on hand that contain DEET for your guests. Citronella candles placed discreetly around the deck as well as pots of basil, rosemary, catnip and geraniums are more natural mosquito repellants. Remove any standing pools of water as this is a breeding ground for mozzie larvae.
Ants and Flies
Ants and flies are more interested in BBQ food than people, so make sure you keep food covered when it’s on the table or stored in plastic containers in the fridge rather than on the kitchen bench. Once word gets out, you’ll be inundated with pesky crawlies and hordes of flies and the party will be over. Afterwards, don’t leave leftovers sitting out and clean up crumbs and spills from the table immediately your guests have gone. Take care to wrap food scraps when disposing of food and keep your rubbish bins covered as flies can lay eggs which turn into maggots.
If you live near the beach or mangroves then biting midges, or sandflies as they are commonly known, can be a nuisance if you’re planning an evening BBQ. Like mozzies, they are most active at dawn and dusk but unlike mosquitoes, biting midges can leave a large raised welt on the skin and in some cases they can cause infected sores if the bite is scratched too much.
Since midges like to hang out on fences and in vegetation while waiting for their next victims, ensure that vegetation is kept trimmed back and the lawns are well mown. Synthetic pyrethroid sprays can be used around vegetation and exterior walls and can help to reduce the midge population around your property.
Don’t plan a BBQ after a full or new moon as midges are in tune with the lunar cycle and are very active in this period. DEET insect repellants and citronella candles will work to discourage midges. An effective home remedy if you don’t want to use commercial insect repellant is mixing up equal parts of Dettol, baby oil and lavender oil and applying to skin.