You can still enjoy all the outdoor summertime activities, especially if you follow these 10 easy tips on how to keep insects away from your house and yard.
One of the advantages of summer is devoting more time being outdoors and doing the things living in The Lowcountry affords us – barbecues, picnics, gardening, and backyard
parties. Unfortunately, we also have to put up with summertime pests. Mosquitoes or ants in particular can quickly ruin whatever fun you and your family and friends are having. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Remove standing water. The perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes is standing water of any kind. Look around your yard and fill in areas anywhere water is likely to pool. Use pumps in ponds and fountains. Empty out any containers that have standing water like flower pots, buckets, wading pools, even toys, and more. Inspect and clear gutters and rain spouts for clogs. Check your AC units for any leaks and think about using gutter guards to help avoid clogs.
Clear out clutter and debris. Make sure all items around your yard that can hold rainwater are empty and dry. If you can’t remove them, turn them over to keep them from collecting water. Other items like leaf piles, branches that have fallen or rotted fruits or vegetables can entice pests to your yard by giving them food and shelter. Make a point of clearing any of these items out of your yard.
Landscape your yard. To keep pests from having more places to hide, make a point of mowing your lawn on a regular basis especially during the hot summer months. Tall grass and weeds can shelter ant hills, ticks, and fleas. Overgrown shrubbery and tree branches that are overgrown and touch the side of your home can offer a clear path for roaches and other pests. It’s best to trim back trees and shrubs to allow at least 12 inches between branches and your house’s exterior.
Use screens. Make sure your doors and windows stay closed as much as possible. Ensure you have screens on doors and windows. Frequently check screens for any holes and tears and patch or switch out as needed. Weather-strip your doors and windows or to prevent any gaps.
Cover your food. Make sure to keep all food and drinks sealed and covered in containers. Keep food covered at all times. Also, seal all garbage containers and take in dishware and utensils soon after the meal. Immediately clean up any spills, crumbs, and trash from tables, serving areas, and seats. Wash out any beverage cans and bottles and get rid of them in tightly sealed garbage bags. Avoid the possibility of hidden, stinging insects by skipping aluminum cans and plastic bottles and going with clear plastic cups for drinks.
Use a fan to blow mosquitoes away. You can keep mosquitoes and many other flying pests away by simply creating a little breeze. Even if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate by providing a breeze - especially during our very humid summers - make one yourself by taking a few fans to your BBQ or outdoor party.
Store firewood properly. Loose wood, especially firewood gives food and shelter for lots of pests, mainly termites. Dry your firewood before storing it. In order to prevent ants and termites from accessing the wood, keep it piled above the ground and use a platform or rack if you can. Store your firewood at least 5 feet away from houses, sheds, or other structures. When possible, cover your stored firewood.
Limit sweet smells. It’s not just the smell of many foods that attract pests. Fragrant perfumes, scented shampoos, deodorants, etc., all have the ability to attract especially stinging pests. Although not everyone will follow this advice at your outdoor event, you can protect your family unit by offering up this simple step.
Use insect repellent. You’ll find that mosquitoes are at peak activity from dusk to dawn. If it’s necessary for you to be outdoors during these two times of day, apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Make sure to apply repellent on both exposed skin or at least on your clothes. Another way to avoid mosquito bites is to wear long sleeves and pants. Lighting citronella candles around decks and patios is also an effective way to keep these biting insects away during your outdoor activities.
Call a professional. If you think you may have a pest problem, contact a local pest control company in the Charleston area who can give you a complete evaluation and a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan for pests.