One of the perks of summer is spending more time doing what we enjoy outdoors – barbecues, picnics, gardening anyone? But, you know that all of these fun activities come with another risk – pests! Nothing ruins a picnic faster than ants or mosquitoes. What can you do to make sure you can still enjoy all the fun times outside this summer? Check out these 9 ways to protect your outdoor fun from pests.

  1. Remove standing water. Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Walk around your yard and fill in any areas where water is prone to pooling. Use pumps in ponds and fountains. Empty out any containers that contain standing water like wading pools, flower pots, buckets, toys, wading pools, and more. Check gutters and rain spouts for clogs and clear them. Consider using gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Check around AC units for leaks.
  2. Clear out clutter and debris. There are lots of items around your yard that can hold rainwater like toys, tires, and even half empty bags. Make sure these are empty and cleared away or, if you can’t get rid of them, turn them over so they can’t collect water. Piles of leaves, fallen branches, and rotting fruit can attract pests to your yard by providing them with food and shelter. Make sure these are cleared out of your yard.
  3. Landscape your yard. Tall grass and weeds can harbor ticks, fleas, and ant hills. Mow your lawn regularly in spring and summer so pests have less places to hide. Overgrown shrubbery and tree branches that are in contact with the side of your home can provide a clear pathway for roaches and other pests. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed with at least 1 foot between the branches and the walls of your home.
  4. Store firewood properly. Firewood provides food and shelter for many different pests, especially termites. Make sure firewood is dry before storing it. Keep firewood stacked above the ground and use a rack or a platform if possible. This way ants and termites can’t easily access the wood. Make sure firewood is stored at least 5 feet away from any structures like houses or sheds. If possible, store firewood with a cover or roof over it.
  5. Use screens. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Make sure doors and windows have screens on them. Check screens regularly for holes and tears and repair or replace them as needed. Check around doors and windows for gaps and replace weatherstripping as needed.
  6. Inspect your outdoor equipment. Regularly check the chains of swing sets and the corners of outdoor furniture for spiders and egg sacks and remove them immediately. Check under your porch, in your eaves, or near your grill for wasp nests and remove them immediately. Keep outside toys outside and inside toys inside. If you have to bring outside toys items inside make sure to wipe them down beforehand.
  7. Cover your food. Keep all food and beverages in sealed covers and containers. Keep food covered at all times. Keep garbage containers sealed. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal. Clean trash, spills, and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers. Use clear plastic cups for drinks since aluminum cans and plastic bottles provide hiding places for stinging insects.
  8. Use insect repellent. Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. If you must be outdoors during this time, use insect repellent that contains DEET. Use repellent on both exposed skin and on your clothes. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid bites. Use citronella candles around decks and patios.
  9. Call a professional. If you suspect you have a pest problem, call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and a comprehensive treatment and prevention program for pests.