As the weather starts to get warmer, your thoughts are likely turning to outdoor entertaining. Daylight saving isn’t far off, either, and long evening dinners al fresco will soon be possible. So now’s the time to add cleaning up your outdoor area to your list of chores. Pest proofing outdoor areas needs to be considered too, for the comfort and safety of family and friends. Here are five tips for deterring pests in your outdoor entertaining area.
1. Start with a good clean and clearing of cobwebs. Patios and pergola areas have lots of nooks and crannies that can be hiding spots for spiders, so make sure you get into every possible corner and remove them, and then use an appropriate barrier agent to deter reinfestation.
2. You may want to consider installing insect-proof screens that can be mounted on the framework of your patio roof if you plan to use your patio a lot. However, if closing in your patio is beyond your budget, there are alternatives that are more cost effective.
3. Electronic zappers can be used to excellent effect to control mosquitoes and other small flying insects. You’ll need to have access to a safe power outlet and have it properly installed.
4. Citronella is also a popular, and less intrusive option, particularly in the evenings. You can find citronella candles of all shapes and sizes at garden centres, discount shops, and department stores. You may even find them in the shop section of your local service station. There are also various decorative burners that can be used with citronella oil, which can be stronger than the candles. Many of them can be stuck in garden beds around the perimeter of your patio area, or in large earth-filled pots. You just need to be aware of the fire safety issues, especially when it comes to the proximity of candles or citronella torches to your patio roof covers.
5. Another option, if you have green fingers, is to landscape with insect repellent plants in beds or large pots around the perimeter of your patio area. Many insects are deterred by some of the stronger smelling herbs, so think of things like rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, lemon balm and catnip. With the exception of the last, they’re all useful culinary herbs as well as being highly decorative. Plant them where people can brush against them to release their volatile oils, which serve as an insect repellent. Also, rather than spraying themselves with the usual personal repellents, your guests can rub sprigs of the herbs over any exposed body parts to enhance the effect.
Spring is an excellent time to start getting stuck into preparation for summer fun, and with the prospect of another El Nino summer potentially coming, there could be many warm months ahead to enjoy the fruits of your labours. Those hours spent outside will be much more pleasant without plagues of insects, so have a look at your patio area and think about what might be your best option for pest control.