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How To Avoid Pests At Summer Baseball Games

Jun 17, 2024

One of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon or evening is attending a baseball game. Whether it’s a Major League Baseball game or your nephew’s Little League game, there’s nothing like a day of enjoying America’s pastime. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only ones who attend baseball games for fun. There are all kinds of pests that need the resources that baseball fields have to offer. Let’s examine five of the most common baseball pests before we give our top tips on how to prevent these creepy-crawlies from ruining your baseball fun.

Ants

Between the sunflower seeds and sports drink spills, ants have quite a few food sources to enjoy in the dugout and in the stands. Worker ants search for safe foods to sustain their huge colonies, then lead their fellow workers to the same source by leaving a trail of pheromones, or invisible scent chemicals. 

Since there’s snacks all around a typical baseball field, ants have no shortage of food to choose from when they invade. One species that’s often found on a baseball field is the field ant, which nests under grass fields. If you see a huge mound in the middle of the outfield (hopefully not because a player tripped over it), it could be a field ant habitat! 

Flies

Similar to ants, flies have all kinds of food sources at their disposal (after we dispose of the food) near a ball field. Trash cans are filled with leftover foods, splattered containers, and half-full drinks. All of these are appealing to flies that need plenty of food after a long day of buzzing around everyone’s heads. 

Since they don’t have the mouthparts to bite or chew, flies spit digestive enzymes (gross!) onto food before slurping it up. They also need egg-laying sites after gaining energy from the food, so flies lay their eggs on garbage or animal droppings to give their larvae an immediate food source. Their compound eyes help them see all the potential dangers around them, narrowly avoiding the frustrated hands of players and fans alike.

Mosquitoes

Nothing screams “summer” like returning home from a baseball game with a body full of mosquito bites. Most active around dusk and dawn, female mosquitoes start consuming our blood when they need protein for their eggs. The only requirement for their egg-laying site is a small amount of fresh water or damp soil, so a lot of ball fields fit the bill. Any baseball field that’s near a lake or pond — or that has overwatered grass — will likely see a huge mosquito population each summer. 

Mosquitoes find food sources by detecting our body heat, carbon dioxide output, and sweat, all of which are in abundance at a baseball game. Mosquitoes can spread disease (malaria, Zika virus, yellow fever, etc.) through their bites if they previously bit an infected mammal. Thankfully, these are all treatable with proper medical care. If you start feeling flu-like symptoms after receiving a mosquito bite, please seek medical attention immediately. 

Moths

The unofficial mascot of night games should be the moth, what with the clouds of moths we see around the stadium lights. Moths are famously drawn to artificial lights at night for one simple reason: they confuse the light for the moon! They use the moon as their compass by keeping it above them at all times when they fly around at night. When they stumble upon a manmade light source, moths can’t help but stay under that light since it’s closer and therefore easier to use as a navigational tool. 

The most infamous case of moths flooding a baseball game was June 21, 1985, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. The Phillies were battling the Pirates when the subsequently-named “Night of the Living Moths” began. Players and fans were constantly swatting away the pests, trying to keep the moths out of their mouths at all costs. Witnesses likened it to being inside a snow globe or a blizzard because there were that many moths in one place!

Stinging Insects

Stinging pests like baseball fields for two main reasons. One, they usually find a number of food sources (depending on the species) right in the park, such as flower nectar and sugary drinks. Two, they have even more places to choose from when deciding where to build their nests. Larger stadiums have all kinds of shaded corners and elevated objects that are prime real estate for stinging insects, especially in the dead of summer.

Stinging insects — besides yellow jackets — like to keep their nests elevated, so they search for safe nesting sites above everyone’s heads. This includes the dugout awnings, tree branches, stairwells, and umbrellas. Every stinging insect is protective of their home, but some are more aggressive than others. Yellow jackets and wasps are ready to fight anyone who comes near their colonies, so we suggest using caution around any nest you find. 

Preventing Pop-Up Pests 

Every region has different common pests, so the bugs that flood Texas Rangers or Houston Astros games aren’t always the same as the pests that invade stadiums on the East Coast. It’s not always possible to have a bug-free experience at the park — especially if their nest is somewhere on the field — but there are a few steps you can take to keep from being swarmed during the game.

Our favorite ways to keep pests away from your seats at the baseball game are:

  • Use bug spray. This is the most important task of all. By applying bug spray to your clothes and exposed skin, you are actively repelling bugs that would otherwise love to land on you. Look for bug sprays that are EPA-registered and contain DEETs or picaridin because these labels mean the spray is actually effective. Reapply throughout the game as needed.
  • Drink a lot of water. It sounds more like a suggestion for the ball players, but this task is also important for the fans. Staying hydrated is important for a number of reasons, especially in the heat of a Texas summer. One pest-related reason is that drinking plenty of water keeps our body temperatures down, which helps to make us less appealing to bloodsucking pests. Mosquitoes have infrared vision, so staying cool makes our heat signatures a bit less obvious.
  • Be a neat eater. Ballpark food is some of the best “junk food” around, which is why hungry pests can’t resist it either! Flies, ants, and stinging insects often attack food/drink spills because these forgotten drops are easy targets. Try to eat your food as neatly as possible, and clean up anything that spills on you or your seat. Similarly, try not to spill any of your soda or alcohol throughout the game. Fruit flies love alcohol for the fermentation! 
  • Wear a hat. A ball cap is an easy way to protect your scalp and face from the brutal sun during day games, but it also comes in handy during those dark night games. You might be surprised at how effective a hat is at keeping moths and gnats away from your face when they come out at night. As a bonus, ball caps are fun ways to represent your favorite team regardless of the time or weather!
  • Avoid bright colors and floral scents. This one is more applicable to day games, but it’s still a good one to keep in mind. Stinging insects are drawn to bright colors and floral scents because flowers have both of these when they’re blooming. Since you don’t want to be a target of a curious bee or wasp, we suggest avoiding vivid shirt colors (pink, orange, yellow) during day games if you can help it. Opting for a neutral scent over a floral perfume takes that attraction away as well. 
  • Wear layers at night games. Baseball season coincides with prime bug season, so anything helps when it comes to repelling bugs. Mosquitoes, ticks, and stinging insects prefer to attack our bare skin, not our clothes. You can keep them away by wearing a breathable long-sleeved shirt and pants when the temperature isn’t too hot. Any skin that is exposed (neck, ankles, wrists) should be spritzed with bug spray. 

Romney Gives Pests A Run (Around The Bases) For Their Money

Although you can’t control the number of bugs that visit a baseball game, you can keep the number of pests invading your home down to a minimum with Romney Pest Control! Our licensed technicians solve each pest problem with our tried-and-true process of thorough inspections, customer treatment plans, and productive treatments. We leave no stone unturned in our quest to keep the pests away from your home. Whether you’re looking to control your current pests or prevent future invaders, Romney is here to help. Contact us today for more information on our reliable pest control services!

Citations

Garrity, J. (1986, August 18). How bugs drive baseball batty because God made the baseball season and the insect season concurrent, the game’s lore is rich in tales of flying, buzzing, biting, fluttering creepy-crawly things. Sports Illustrated Vault. https://vault.si.com/vault/1986/08/18/how-bugs-drive-baseball-batty-because-god-made-the-baseball-season-and-the-insect-season-concurrent-the-games-lore-is-rich-in-tales-of-flying-buzzing-biting-fluttering-creepy-crawly-things

Harney, C. (2022, March 25). Take me out to the ball game: Pests on the baseball/softball diamond. Pointe Pest Control. Available at https://www.pointepestcontrol.net/take-me-out-to-the-ball-game-pests-on-the-baseball-softball-diamond/ (Accessed on May 28, 2024).

Summer’s most dangerous pests. (n.d.). Pest World. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/summer-s-most-dangerous-pests/

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