Insects are everywhere, but you may not notice them until you feel like enjoying your deck or patio. That’s usually when you notice insects buzzing, crawling, biting, and generally being a nuisance. So, how do you get rid of patio bugs?
Well, there are tried and tested steps for handling bug problems. At Turf Factory Direct, we know what a downer it is to have your backyard BBQ ruined by mosquitoes, bees, and flies buzzing around you. In this post, we’ll take you through common solutions for handling an insect problem.
Get a Bug-Free Porch: Don’t Attract Bugs
The best place to start to keep bugs off your patio is to remove incentives for the bugs to gather on your patio in the first place.
Say No to Standing Water
Under no circumstances should you let standing water pool around areas where people will congregate. Stagnant water is one of the best ways to get a mosquito infestation. Most living things on Earth, like grass and bugs, need water to survive, and some pesky bugs, like mosquitoes, need water to reproduce. By removing places for insects to populate, you keep them off your patio.
Trim the Lawn
The best place for mosquitos and other bugs and pests to grow and flourish is the lawn. If your lawn isn’t well cared for and managed, it becomes a haven for insects and other pests. Additionally, many insects also thrive on microbes and bacteria that are found in soil. And on top of that, some bugs just attract more bugs. Not all bugs are attracted to the lawn itself, some bugs, like spiders, are attracted to the bugs that are attracted to the lawn as a food source.
Make sure that grass is kept neat and tidy, and is regularly trimmed and treated for insects and other pests. If you have pets, make sure that their waste is disposed of properly, and not left as a breeding ground for flies and other pests.
Or, even better than trimming the lawn, do away with the grass entirely, and invest in artificial turf.
Get a Turf Lawn
Instead of investing hours of labor and hundreds of dollars on trimming and treating your lawn for bugs, you can eliminate the hassle of lawn maintenance and control the bug population by getting a turf lawn. Artificial turf is an excellent pest deterrent because no water and organic matter is readily accessible as a food source. When there is no ready food supply, whether they eat grass, grass roots, or other bugs and pests, ants, spiders, gnats, flies, mosquitoes and other pests have to go elsewhere. Moreover, it’s difficult for insects and animals to permeate the multiple layers of materials that make up the base and subbase of turf.
Turf even helps mitigate the mosquito population by reducing the standing water in the area. One of the benefits of artificial turf is that it requires no water to stay green and lush. Natural grass on the other hand needs a lot of water to prevent it from becoming brown and crunchy. Getting a turf lawn significantly reduces the nine billion gallons a day that Americans use to water lawns. That’s a lot less water for mosquitoes to proliferate, and that water can be better spent elsewhere.
In addition to mitigating the bug population and preventing pathogen carriers from biting your family, turf is beneficial to your health and the planet by conserving water and reducing the usage of harmful chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that contaminate the environment.
Additionally, no water and no dirt also means no mud and no mess. You’ll no longer track in mud into your home and stain your clothes. Artificial turf also reduces slipping and falling by providing traction, but if you do fall, turf is shock-absorbent and non-abrasive to reduce injury, making it great for families with pets and kids.
Clean the Patio
After you’ve tended to the grass, it’s time to address any issues with your patio or deck. Start with a clear out. Any piles of detritus or debris should be removed and the surface of the deck swept, mopped, and sanitized.
Make sure to remove any potential food, and check hiding and nesting areas that you might miss, like eaves of the house or under seating cushions. Many times, bugs and other pests can make their home in furniture, especially under tables or in wicker. Every nook and cranny needs to be cleaned.
Keep Bugs Off Patio Furniture
Patio furniture is great for lounging and entertaining, but it can also be an excellent home to bugs looking for a warm safe place to hide. This can become a problem, especially if they decide to bring their friends or start a family.
Wicker furniture itself doesn’t attract bugs because of the material, but rather because of the many fine holes and cracks.These attract spiders, mites, and beetles because they provide plenty of nesting and sites for them to forage for food. To help keep bugs off your patio furniture, we recommend avoiding wicker.
Regularly cleaning your patio furniture should help keep bugs away. Lift cushions and wipe down every surface with a surface safe cleaner. This will remove and disturb bugs, nests, and eggs, and help to discourage insects from settling in.
Clean the Gutters
When it comes to animal and pest control, gutter maintenance is an important step many people don’t consider. Dirty gutters are one of the best breeding grounds for mosquitoes, ants, and earwigs, as they provide a steady source of food and water through the debris that washes through. Make sure to keep them clean.
So, one of the best ways to keep bugs off your patio is by not inviting them with food. But, when you’re enjoying a meal al fresco, bugs coming to share your meal are unavoidable. This leaves people asking, “what is the best outdoor insect repellent?”
The next step is adding methods to deter and repel bugs from the patio. There are a number of products to kill and repel bugs available for purchase.
Screens & Netting
Mosquito screens and netting are great ways to keep insects out. But those can be an eyesore, so projects like these can be a way to improve the overall appearance of your living area. While browsing for ways to improve curb appeal, don’t forget about the attractive, durable, and versatile turf! In addition to deterring bugs, turf can increase the value of your home.
Citronella Candles, Incense, Vaporizers & Torches
Citronella candles and torches are common methods people use to keep bugs off their patio. They’re affordable, but some people don’t like having an open flame. While citronella products come in many forms to accommodate your circumstances, some people can find the smell off putting.
Insect Repellent Lamps
While these often bring insects and then kill them, there are plenty of lamps and chemicals that when burning, keep insects far away.
What Home Remedy Can I Use to Get Rid of Bugs Outside?
Aside from products designed for bug repellant, there are other methods for which the items you need are probably already in your home. If you don’t want to use a lot of chemicals, there are plenty of home remedies and more natural chemical-free methods to keep bugs off your porch.
Update Your Lighting
When it comes to nighttime pests, a common and easily installed method for fighting back against bugs is lighting. There’s several reasons bugs are drawn to lights, but one of the main reasons is the warmth that light bulbs produce. Here are some lightbulbs that reduce overall bug attraction:
- Sodium vapor lighting or yellow bulbs – The color yellow has one of the highest wavelengths on the visible spectrum—this makes it very hard for bugs to see.
- LED lights – LED bulbs emit far less heat than ordinary incandescent bulbs, and their light isn’t as attractive to insects.
Use Electric Fans
What keeps flies away from patios? One answer is fans. Strategically placing electric fans on the patio can help repel flying bugs. The disruption of airflow makes it difficult for insects to fly through that area. By being in front of a fan, flying insects won’t touch you. And using fans to keep bugs off your patio has the bonus of helping you keep cool during the warmer months.
Spray the Patio with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a common household antiseptic with many household uses. It repels adult insects, and destroys eggs left behind. Create a mixture of 1/3 hydrogen peroxide with 2/3 water. Spray the surface of your patio and the perimeter with a light mist. Try not to spray it directly on plants, because it can damage foliage.
Fabric Softener Sheets
Many brands of fabric softener contain the compound linalool, which has an odor that mosquitoes and a lot of flying insects despise. Strategically place fabric softener sheets around your patio, paying attention to areas where you find the most bugs.
If you want to avoid using fresh fabric softener sheets for this purpose, used ones should still work relatively well. The linalool might still be present even if the fabric softener sheet has been used. This setup allows you to reuse fabric softener sheets rather than throwing them out while also allowing them to get rid of pests effectively.
Natural Bug Repellent Solutions
If chemicals aren’t your jam, there are plenty of natural products that you can use to repel bugs.
Get Bug-Repellant Plants
Certain plants, like a grass lawn, attract bugs as a home and food source, but there are many plants that are naturally insect repellant. Getting a variety of them and having them around both your home and your outdoor areas can repel insects, while also making it smell pleasant:
- Basil: flies, mosquitoes
- Catnip: mosquitoes, ticks, flies, cockroaches
- Chrysanthemums: roaches, ants, ticks, fleas, bedbugs
- Lavender: moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes
- Lemongrass: mosquitoes
- Geranium: mosquitoes
- Lemon thyme: mosquitoes
- Marigold: mosquitoes
- Rosemary: mosquitoes
- Bay Leaves: flies
- Floss Flowers: mosquitoes
Diatomaceous earth is a crystallin powder that is used to balance the Ph of pools, but there’s a food-safe version of the pure powder that is absolutely lethal against insects.
When sprinkled around your yard, it forms what is essentially caltrops for bugs, keeping them from crawling through without being killed. The only downside is that it’s water soluble, so you’ll need to reapply it after rainfall, strong wind, or snow.
The powder keeps bugs away like fleas, ticks, spiders, millipedes, house centipedes, common house flies, worms, beetles, and more. Just make sure to keep people and pets away from DE, because while it is safe, it can be an irritant when it comes into contact with skin.
What smells do insects hate? There’s a lot of them! Essential oils can serve a number of purposes, one of which includes insect repellent. You can find products on the market that contain essential oils, but depending on the brand, there can be a lot of other ingredients included in them. It’s easy and cost effective to make your own essential oil bug repellent at home, all you need is cotton balls, spray bottle, bowl or sachet bags. Cotton balls and sachets are useful to tuck behind furniture, under cushions, and into nooks and crannies where bugs like to hide. They are also a good option when spraying repellent is not one.
Essential oils that act as a bug repellant include:
- Tea tree
You can use any combination of the above essential oil to make a natural homemade bug spray. Some essential oils are more effective against certain insects, but you can choose to use whatever combination of scents that are most appealing to you. Don’t use an essential oil if you or someone in your home is allergic to it. When making your own homemade bug spray with essential oils, you want to be sure to keep the total percentage of essential oils under 15% for safety.
DIY recipe bug spray for your person:
- 3 ounces witch hazel
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 24 drops of essential oils
DIY recipe for indoor/outdoor bug spray for home and yard:
- 10 to 20 drops of each essential oil
- 2 ounces distilled water
- 2 ounces of white vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a 4 ounce spray bottle and you’re done.
You may need to spray the herbal solution once or twice a day during the hot, humid summer times when the insects come out in numbers. Make sure that it does not come into contact with exposed cables and other electrical lighting components.
In addition to using a mixture in a spray bottle, you can soak cotton balls in essential oils and hide them around the patio. Be careful, some pets like to eat cotton balls and some essential oils are toxic to pets.
Cloves and bay leaves are known to repel insects and other pests, so placing these and herbal sachets near places where you detect insect invaders can be a way to keep those bugs at bay. If you have an ant problem, tea bags can be a powerful temporary solution. Using them at areas where the ants are coming from can be a helpful trick for repelling them.
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you’re already familiar with the magic powers of coffee. Used coffee grounds can be used for a number of purposes. Not only are coffee grounds a great natural fertilizer for your garden, they are also an effective pest repellent that’s safe to use around pets and kids. The strong smell of coffee is off putting to a number pests like mosquitoes, fleas, and ants.Simply, sprinkle coffee grounds where you suspect pests to be, or around the entire perimeter of your patio.
A common baking ingredient, the smell of vanilla extract around the house will repel insects, but it will be pleasing to humans.The scent of vanilla extract can be used to ward off mosquitoes and a lot of other pests. You can put vanilla extract on household surfaces without damaging them, and some people will use vanilla extract as a topical pest control repellent since it is safe to come into contact with skin.
A lot of insects dislike the smell of garlic. Some people believe that those who eat garlic on a regular basis will actually be less likely to get bitten by mosquitoes since the smell of the garlic can become more prominent as people perspire. Leaving out some garlic cloves around the house can be helpful, though some people may avoid this option because they themselves don’t enjoy the smell of garlic.
Install Bat & Birdhouses
Bats love eating insects, and if you’re ok with having a few around, a bat house can be a really effective way to keep your area bug-free. There are pre-designed birdhouses and bat boxes that can be purchased online. Make sure to keep them a little farther away from your porch. You can enjoy nature without having it right on your doorstep.
If you have reached the point of a full blown infestation, more drastic measures to remove them and keep them gone will be necessary. Spider nests, abandoned webs, debris from wasps and other insects are the signs that you may need to talk to a professional to help you remove the infestation and keep it from coming back.
Enjoy Your Bug-Free Patio
While there are a lot of options to keep insects off your patio, some may be more effective against certain pests and under different circumstances. A good strategy for outdoor bug control, like many strategies, is multilayered. Try using multiple methods for maximum effectiveness against as many bugs as possible. As time goes by, consider rotating your methods, especially as the weather and circumstances change that may make some methods less effective than others.
Artificial turf can be a lifesaver when it comes to pest removal and elimination. At Turf Factory Direct, we have artificial grass to serve any need you might have, and our helpful customer service team is here to help. Get in touch with us with any questions, or start shopping today.