How To Host A Pest-Free Barbecue

By July 3, 2024Misc/Other

Happy early 4th of July from Pointe Pest Control! Summer is the perfect season for backyard barbecues because there’s nothing better than enjoying a meal hot off the grill with your family and friends. But where there’s food, there are plenty of pests that want to take over. Wasps, ants, mosquitoes, roaches, and flies are all common summer pests that find plenty to love at a typical backyard barbecue.

Rats and mice are known to invade grills because the barbecues provide a warm hiding spot year-round. In order to prevent pests — and protect your guests — the most effective course of action is to keep the yard and grill area clean. Let’s discuss the best ways to prevent pests from ruining your summer barbecues!

Do Yard Work

This may seem irrelevant compared to the other tasks you do to prepare for a barbecue, but trust us on this one. A clean yard usually correlates with a pest-free yard because they don’t have as many places to hide or reproduce! You don’t have to completely redo your yard before every party you host — unless you want to — since a basic chore session should be enough. Mow the lawn and trim back plants at least one foot from the house. When plants and grass are overgrown, pests easily hide and feed in the wild greenery. Remove any weeds and leaf litter from the yard, as these are common hiding places for garden pests.

Use Natural Repellants

Bug spray and wipes are great tools to use (and give to your guests!), but you can also use natural repellants to your advantage. For instance, did you know that certain herbs and flowers are repulsive to common pests? Insects and spiders have scent receptors that respond negatively to strong smells, so they don’t want to go anywhere near odorous plants. You can place sprigs and leaves of these repellant plants around the tables and chairs where your guests are sitting. The popular varieties are mint, lavender, basil, marigolds, rosemary, lemongrass, and sage. Citrus peels also repel mosquitoes and ants, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle some orange and lemon peels near the barbecue!

Keep Doors & Windows Closed

Before any of your guests arrive, it’s a good idea to inspect the seals on your house’s doors and windows to make sure they actually work. After all, what’s the point of keeping the house closed if bugs can sneak in under a faulty window seal? While you check the seals, inspect the window and sliding door screens for any holes and gaps. These are easily patched with extra screen material or by replacing the entire mesh. Once your guests are enjoying the party, make sure the doors are closed in between people entering and exiting the house. You don’t want pests enjoying your air conditioning while everyone else is outside!

Check The Yard For Nests

The easiest way for pests to invite themselves to the party (literally) is if their nest is already in the yard before everyone arrives. Invasive summer pests usually build their nests in sheltered areas outdoors. Some, like ants and yellow jackets, keep their nests on the ground level. Others, like rodents and wasps, typically build their nests up higher for additional security. Every pest is defensive of their nest — especially stinging insects — so check your yard for any signs of nesting pests before your party begins. Pay special attention to the eaves, fences, trees, shed, and play equipment. If you find any type of nest, contact pest control to remove it. They have the training and safety equipment to handle these pest “hot spots.”

Eliminate Standing Water

If there’s one thing mosquitoes love — besides drinking our blood — it’s fresh, calm water. This is where they lay their eggs because mosquitoes spend their first 3 life stages submerged in shallow water, then emerge as adults once their wings form. They thrive in the heat and humidity, so any standing water in your yard will be a mosquito haven during your summer barbecues! Dry up puddles and clean any beverage spills with a damp cloth. If you have a birdbath or a pet’s water bowl, change the water in these often. After a summer rainstorm, dump out the water from soaked objects, including buckets, plant trays, tarps, and children’s toys.

Protect The Food

All of the delicious food at your barbecue is for your happy guests, not a swarm of rude pests! The key to protecting your food from pests is to make it all inaccessible to them. For one, try putting your grill in the path of direct sunlight if you don’t already. The heat and light prevents bugs from hanging out there for too long, so you don’t have to worry about them taking over. We also recommend serving the food indoors because it makes it that much harder for pests to get a taste. But whether you serve the feast inside or outside, it’s a good idea to cover all of the platters and containers when people aren’t using them. You can use anything you have at your disposal, like foil, lids, plastic wrap, dish towels, and colanders.

Clean The Grill

It may sound tedious, but it’s important to clean your grill after each use. Keeping the grates clean not only provides a safe surface for your next meal, it also eliminates the crumbs and caked-on food that pests would otherwise feed on. Ants and roaches love grease, so a dirty grill is their paradise. When the grill is still warm, carefully scrub the grill with a grill brush. Clean the grates with a damp cloth to remove residue. Keep the grill’s lid closed when it’s stored to prevent any creepy-crawlies from sneaking inside. Finally, throw all trash away and tidy up the barbecue space for your next grilling session.

Store Everything Properly

When the party is over and the time for cleanup has arrived, it’s important to make the area as tidy as possible. Clutter and food remnants are inviting to many pests, especially rodents and ants. After you clean the grill (per the previous step), store it in a dry area that’s far from trash cans, wood piles, and thick plants. If the grill is near these items, any pests hiding inside them can travel straight to the grill. Protect the grill with a polyester cover or tarp until its next use. Any used platters, grill pans, and spatulas should be brought inside and cleaned. The less temptations pests have in the yard, the better!

Receive Preventative Services From Pointe

In our completely humble opinion, pest control services are the best way to stay pest-free for the long haul. At Pointe Pest Control, our dedicated technicians are licensed and trained to solve all kinds of pest issues. We start every service with a thorough inspection of the property to find all areas of pest activity. These findings help us to form a treatment plan that’s customized to solve your pest problems. We are here to support you throughout the pest control process, and our team is happy to address every question and concern you have along the way. For a free quote on the most dependable services around, contact us today!


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