Keep Pests Away from Your BBQ Keep Pests Away from Your BBQ
Cookouts attract friends, neighbors - and bugs. Being aware of little-known threats could reduce your health risks. Mosquitoes, ticks, ants and flies can become a nuisance during any event and can even carry diseases or a nasty sting. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following to keep your event pest free.
- Pests love the food and drinks we enjoy. The typical barbecue menu, with fruit, desserts and sweetened beverages, is also a favorite menu for bugs. When planning an event, plan on serving foods and beverages indoors and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
- Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Before your party, remove or drain any sources of standing water on the party site, including birdbaths, wading pools, unfiltered swimming pools or garden ponds and children's toys.
- Stinging insects send half a million people to the emergency room every year. Wasps are attracted to fragrances, so avoid using fragrant candles as party decorations. Also, distance fragrant flowering plants from the event area.
- Store leftovers in wrapped or sealed containers. Wipe the outside of storage containers to remove any sweet or sticky food residue.
- Ants and flies are most synonymous with outdoor picnics. Avoiding them outdoors can be difficult, but cleaning and disposing of all beverage bottles and cans quickly and properly will remove a major pest attractant. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal, and dispose of all trash in tightly closed containers.
If you're still concerned about bugs becoming a nuisance at your event, consider bringing in a professional. Cindy Mannes, director of public affairs for NPMA, recommends inviting a pest control professional to review the party site in advance of the party date. She says a licensed and trained pest control professional can identify, treat and remove potential pest-breeding grounds as well as existing pest structures.
"A professional has the skills and tools required to identify and treat any signs of pest activity," said Ms. Mannes. "Leaving pest control to a professional will give you peace of mind for an enjoyable event. Nothing can interrupt a barbecue or outdoor party like bugs."