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The season of backyard soirees is upon us! As we get back into the swing of summer parties, we're also reacquainted with some of the headaches of outdoor entertaining - and the need for a bug-free backyard. Mosquitoes, wasps, bees, ants, and other pests can put a damper on the fun, but they don’t have to.
A-1 Pest Control has been keeping pests at bay in every season for over 50 years. In that time, we’ve held, attended, and made possible more Memorial Day barbecues and Fourth of July shindigs than we can count—which means we’ve pretty much mastered the art of throwing the best outdoor party, free of bugs. In this article, we’ll delve into how to keep these unwelcome party guests away from your backyard.
Guide to a Bug-Free Backyard Party
Whether it’s a pool party for the kids or a neighborhood BBQ bash, hosting is no easy task. And one thing that most people don’t think about when hosting a party outdoors? Bugs!
If you’re hosting a party outdoors, you need to make sure your place is party-ready and you have a bug-free backyard. Use this checklist to help guide you through the process of preparing your backyard for a party!
Bug-Free Backyard Party Checklist:
- Survey the property for nests or swarms.
- Clean up your backyard.
- Trim the grass and landscaping.
- Call your pest control service provider.
- Invest in bug-repelling candles or provide bug spray for your guests.
- Make a plan to protect any food that may be displayed or eaten outside.
- Plan the fun parts of the event!
Take a Survey
Even if you spend hours a day in your backyard, there may be certain parts of your space that you haven’t given a once-over in a while. To make sure all the space you’ll be throwing the party in is ready for guests—and to get an idea of what prep you might need to remove existing insects—do a walk-around of your property.
Note any nests, anthills, or other evidence of potentially-disruptive insects.
Do a Quick Clean
After you’ve taken a survey of your space, do a quick clean-up of your yard. That includes sweeping up any debris, picking up large branches, and drying off any puddles or wet spots that might attract insects. Be sure to drain or dump out any standing water from bird baths, gutters, and whatever else may have pooled water into your yard—those can attract mosquitos.
This backyard clean-up serves two purposes: It makes your yard more presentable and usable for the party and disturbs the environment of insect infestations. If ants or beetles have nested in stray logs, for instance, picking those up encourages them to evacuate.
Trim the Grass
That yard clean-up should also include trimming the grass, along with any large branches or greenery overgrowth. Again, this will make your space more comfortable for guests at the party.
Trimming down these potential hiding spots and nesting areas for insects can help achieve an insect-free yard, as bugs tend to prefer overgrown areas and taller grass.
If you're not already on a scheduled pest control plan, it sounds like it's time to find one that works for you. However, if you just need a one-time treatment for mosquitoes or other pests, you can always call an exterminator.
No matter the size of the yard, you may find that the process of getting rid of bugs is a bit more intensive than you thought it would be. Maybe the space is particularly large, maybe you don’t have enough time to do an in-depth sweep, or maybe you just want the peace of mind that comes with a professional inspection and treatment. No matter the reason, calling in a pest control team like those at A-1 to inspect for and address any infestations is the safest and most efficient way to create an insect-free yard.
This is especially important if you’ve found nests of stinging insects such as wasps or yellow jackets, which can be dangerous to remove without the help of a pest removal specialist.
Your A-1 Exterminator can even treat the soil to prevent future ant infestations!
Make a Shopping List
Once you’ve prepared the space, consider adding some extra precautions to your bug-free backyard transformation. There are plenty of extras you can pick up at your local outdoor or home improvement store, like:
- Citronella candles: You may already have a few of these lying around—after all, North Carolina summers are just as infamous for their mosquitos as they are famous for their fun. The smoke from citronella candles can act as an effective bug repellant, and they can add a hint of ambiance to an outdoor affair.
- Bug spray: This one’s pretty obvious, but a reminder never hurts. Stock up on bug spray for you and your guests, and remind people to apply it throughout the night. If you’re worried about spraying large quantities of insect repellant around children or pets, opt for an effective all-natural bug spray.
- Fly-repellent fan: These small, inexpensive gadgets can be placed on tables near food and drinks to keep flies from getting comfortable. These fans are about half a foot tall, cone-shaped, and have small flaps attached that rotate once turned on. That act as a constant fly swatter so you don’t have to be on guard all night.
- Fans: Even larger ceiling fans can be effective for shooing away mosquitos, flies, and gnats. The breeze they create makes it difficult for flying insects to fight through the strong current of air or stay landed on people or food.
Prep for Food
Chances are there will be some food at your party, whether just light snacks or a three-course dinner. Nothing is worse than putting in hours of work creating a curated menu or a perfect charcuterie board only to have it covered in flies the minute you set it out for your guests.
To avoid this, look for food nets, colanders, or other covers for your dishes. And don’t forget your drinks! Bugs are notoriously attracted to sweet drinks, so consider offering cups with lids to guests.
Set the Mood
Now for the fun part! It’s time to set the vibe for the party and bring that bug-free backyard to life for the celebration of the season.
Pull inspiration from platforms Pinterest and Instagram, or from home and garden magazines and their online sites. Set up any tables and their settings, string up lights, and hook up your speakers to keep the music going all night.
Make sure there is enough seating, and that any floor seating is supported by blankets or another barrier that can present an obstacle for pesky ants and spiders.
How to Maintain a Bug-Free Backyard
Whether you’re entertaining dozens or just unwinding with a glass of wine after work, a bug-free backyard is a necessary luxury in North Carolina. Here are some additional tips for keeping it that way year-round.
Pest Control Services
The first and most obvious suggestion is to hire a pest control company that regularly treats your property. An exterminator will be able to apply various treatments that will deter those painful, irritating, and sometimes dangerous pests. From mosquito sprays and fire ant control to stinging insect repellants, your pest control provider will play an integral part in keeping a bug-free backyard throughout the year.
Add a Firepit
Nothing warms up a chilly spring or summer night like a cozy fire. Adding a firepit gives you the luxury of a resort-style amenity all-year round and entirely at your convenience. Plus, it comes with the added benefit of repelling pests.
Want to make your firepit an even more powerful repellent? Add some sage, mint, and lavender to keep them far away—and to create a spa-like scent. Mosquitoes in particular do not like the scent of burning sage.
Create an Herb Garden
Mosquitoes tend to stay away from herbal scents, so an herb garden could help reduce the number of mosquitoes and help maintain a bug-free backyard. Creating a small herb garden doesn’t require any intensive gardening knowledge: All you need is a few seeds, some soil, and a patch of land that will be protected from any pesky wildlife that may be tempted to take a nibble. Not only will this add a bit of beauty to your backyard, the scent of many herbs actually acts as an insect repellent. Consider adding:
- Lemon grass
If you’re not into the idea of garden upkeep, try dried lavender hanging outside for a similar effect and a lovely aroma.
Common Backyard Bugs in North Carolina
There are a few insects you’re more likely to find in your backyard than others. It's important to know which insects you're dealing with in order to host a bug-free backyard party. Be on the lookout for:
Mosquitoes are among the most dangerous insects in the world, as they can transmit deadly illnesses and are so commonly found throughout the country. These tiny, blood-sucking bugs bite both animals and people, leading to swollen and itchy spots that can take days to subside.
North Carolina’s humidity and heat make us a hot spot for mosquito populations.
Like mosquitos, ticks can be more than just annoying: they can be dangerous. These little critters are smaller than a dime, with oval-shaped brown or black bodies and eight legs when full-grown.
There are a few types of ticks that are commonly found in North Carolina, including the brown dog tick, black-legged tick, and lone star tick. Some types of ticks can carry diseases that may have lifelong health impacts, such as Lyme disease, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them before an event, and precautions afterward.
Check out our Pest Library for more on tick prevention.
There are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world, but only a few of those are commonly found in North Carolina. Common North Carolina ants include the fire ant, carpenter ant, and carpenter ant, each of which has distinguishing features.
All ants share some particular traits, though, including:
- Body is divided into three parts: Head, thorax, and abdomen
- Red, brown, or black color
- Tendency to live in communities like ant hills
Ants are commonly found in yards, but can easily make their way inside of homes from there. Make sure to seal up any openings or cracks in the foundation of your home, and schedule regular preventative pest control treatments to limit the chance of an indoor infestation.
Spiders are technically arachnids, not insects, meaning they can best be identified by their eight legs instead of six. All species share a similar body structure as well, which includes two body segments and pinchers where their mouths might be.
Spiders can vary widely in appearance, though, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most common North Carolina spider species. Some spiders are completely harmless, but others can inject dangerous venom with their bite, requiring swift medical attention.
Common Spiders in North Carolina:
- Black widow
- Brown recluse
- Giant house
- Orb weaver
Schedule a Backyard Pest Control Inspection in North Carolina
Ready to kick off your summer with some warm-weather festivities? Let’s make sure you've got a bug-free backyard!
A-1 Pest Control has been serving Western North Carolina and the surrounding area for more than 25 years, keeping yards clear of dangerous insects so families and friends can make the most of every season. Our team has the latest technology and training to prevent and exterminate infestations safely. Ask our exterminators about our environmentally friendly, pet-safe pesticides.
We also provide radon testing and mitigation services for properties in North Carolina, along with WDI inspections, WDIRs, rodent control, and wildlife control. Our service area spans over 30 miles, with 5 offices in Lenoir, Mooresville, Hickory, West Jefferson, and Blowing Rock.