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How To Have A Pest-Free 4th Of July

Jul 1, 2024

Happy early Fourth of July from Romney Pest Control! This patriotic holiday is one of the most popular barbecue days of the year, and for good reason. There’s nothing like enjoying a plate of grilled meat with all of the classic sides: green salad, fresh fruit, garlic bread, baked beans, and that interesting potato salad your aunt brings every year. But where there’s warm weather and tasty food, there’s an army of pests waiting to invade. 

If you’re hosting your own 4th of July barbecue — or any outdoor party this summer — it’s essential to take precautions against the insects that invade in the warm weather. By protecting your food and guests, you subsequently cut down on the number of invasive pests. Let’s dive into the best ways to prevent pests from taking over your party and ruining your summer fun.

Remove Spiderwebs

Before your guests arrive, it’s important to check your house for any uninvited visitors — aka spiders! These creepy-crawlies need to live where they have a steady food source, so they are usually found in an area of constant insect activity. New spiders can also repurpose abandoned webs as their own traps or habitats, so it’s best to remove all webs as soon as possible. Inspect your house (inside and out!) for any new spiderwebs or old cobwebs. They are easily removed with a broom, duster, or burst of water. 

Eliminate Standing Water

Summer is mosquito season, and the only thing these bloodsuckers need to lay their eggs is a bit of fresh water. Any amount of standing water in your yard is enough for female mosquitoes to use as an egg-laying site. In order to prevent your guests (and you) from being bitten, remove all of the excess water from your yard. Wipe up any puddles, especially near the hose or after a recent rainstorm. Dump out extra water from plant trays, children’s toys, and yard decor. If you have a birdbath or a pet’s water dish outside, replace the water in both on a regular basis. 

Do Yard Work

There’s quite a few tasks that fall under this category, so the specifics of your yard work depend on your outdoor space. No matter which chores you do, keep in mind that the goal is to eliminate food sources and hiding spots for summer pests. The more overgrown everything is, the easier it will be for pests to live there. One important chore is to mow the lawn regularly and not let the sprinklers overwater it (remember the mosquitoes!). Trim back plants and trees at least one foot from the house. Also, remove all weeds and leaf litter you see around the plants. Don’t let a yard full of clutter become a pest haven!

Use Proper Trash Management

As a party guest, one of the most awkward moments of any party is when you finish your food and have to hold onto your crumb-ridden paper plate because you can’t find a trash can. But besides anticipating your guests’ needs, making trash cans easy to access is a great way to prevent pests. Ants, flies, and wasps all take any food remnants they can get, so make sure all of the used plates and utensils make it into the trash. Place multiple trash cans will strong trash bags around that are obvious enough for your guests to find, but not in the middle of the party area. You don’t want a horde of flies bugging (literally) everyone while they’re trying to eat!

Provide Pest Repellants

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to plan for pest issues and arm ourselves with repellents, but we don’t get to enjoy this fantasy world. Mosquitoes are a common summer party pest because the longer hours of daylight encourage us to keep the party going, which overlaps with their activity around dusk. In our experience, your guests will really appreciate the option to apply some bug spray before the mosquitoes come out to bite. Make sure the bug spray has DEETs or picaridin, as these are the ingredients that repel pests. It’s also good to check the label to make sure the product says it works against mosquitoes and other bloodsucking pests. You can place a few bottles outside for guests to use at their leisure, especially once the sun starts setting.

Use Fans

Since small flying insects can’t withstand a breeze, an easy way to keep them away from your party is to place fans around the gathering areas. Mosquitoes, gnats, and flies aren’t strong enough to fly into the wind and therefore can’t be near fans. If your patio has a ceiling fan, try turning it on when the air is still and the bugs are starting to arrive. You can also place tower fans and pedestal fans in certain areas that have access to an outlet. The steady breeze from these fans serve double duty by preventing those pesky bugs and keeping your guests cool!

Cover The Food

You don’t want all of your delicious party food to go to waste because a horde of ants took it as their own, right? Right! An easy way to keep pests away from the food is to serve everything indoors and keep the doors and windows closed when people aren’t using them. You can set the buffet up in the kitchen and let your guests go through the line before dispersing to their desired dining areas. Once everyone has their first course and the dishes are unattended, cover each with a protective barrier to keep it safe from contaminants, like pests. Foil, plastic wrap, lids, and empty dishes are good coverings for most serving dishes. 

Seal The Drinks

Speaking of food that pests love, the types of drinks we enjoy at barbecues are also appealing to certain pests. Ants, wasps, and yellow jackets love sweet beverages because the high sugar content is an easy energy source for them. That’s why you may have seen a lone wasp or a few ants floating in an unprotected cup of soda! If you like serving beverages in party cups, consider offering fun coverings to your guests. You can find holiday-themed drink coverings at craft stores or order personalized ones online from Etsy. But if you want to bypass all of that, just serve drinks in sealed containers, such as bottled water, soda, and alcohol.

Help The Ambiance

The lighting and decoration choices are important to consider for every party, as they really set the mood for the celebration. Depending on the fireworks situation of your party – please be careful if you’re setting off your own fireworks! — you may not want a lot of other lights on at the same time. Our favorite “mood” lighting that also repels pests is in the form of citronella candles and tiki torches. Citronella repels mosquitoes and smoke repulses flies, so both objects work against these annoying pests. It’s not a perfect science that ensures you’ll never see a bug, but placing these around the party area does help to keep a lot of these pests away.

Use Herbs As Decor

On the note of decor, you might be surprised to know that there are certain plants that actually repel pests. Many of the common herbs we grow in our gardens are off-putting to pests because of the strong scents and flavors. Flies, spiders, and garden pests are the most impacted by certain herbs and flowers. You can incorporate any of these into your party decor by placing them around the food table or seating areas. The herbs and flowers that seem to be the most effective are lavender, basil, lemongrass, dill, chives, mint and rosemary. 

Schedule Services With Romney Pest Control

All of these tips are easy ways to keep the pests at bay, but for tried-and-true pest prevention, you need the expertise of Romney Pest Control’s team. Our technicians are fully licensed and trained in the most efficient pest control methods. We leave no stone unturned in our quest to eliminate each pest from your property. Between our effective treatments and our thorough inspections, we are dedicated to protecting your home or business from pesky pests. Your satisfaction with our services is our top priority, and we are here to help all year long. Contact us today to learn why our productive pest control services are the best way to enjoy a pest-free summer!

Citations

Nemeth, N. (2016, June 20). 13 tips and tricks for a pest-free outdoor party. DoItYourself. Available at https://www.doityourself.com/stry/13-tips-and-tricks-for-a-pest-free-outdoor-party (Accessed on June 7, 2024).

Tips for bug-free outdoor entertaining. (2022, July 28). Maggie’s Farm. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from https://maggiesfarmproducts.com/blogs/bug-help/bug-free-outdoor-party

Whitman-Salkin, S. (2018, July 3). How to make any outdoor meal a bug-free zone with 8 natural tips. Food52. Available at https://food52.com/blog/22636-how-to-make-any-outdoor-meal-a-bug-free-zone-natural-tips (Accessed on June 7, 2024).

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