Keeping Flies and Pests Off the Patio

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What You'll Need
Repellant flowers
Herbs (mint, garlic, rosemary, lemongrass, and chives)
Citrus candles or citronella torches
Hydrogen peroxide and water solution
Anise oil and water solution
Essential oils (witch hazel, citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender)
Alcohol-based mouthwash
Dryer sheets
Spray bottle
Yellow or sodium vapor lights.

An outdoor patio is a great place to spend a warm evening or entertain company. However, nothing can crash your outdoor festivities as quickly as the appearance of flies and other creepy, crawly bugs. Sometimes these pests are a menace just because they're unsettling and gross. Other times they can be a problem for you and your guests because they bite, such as mosquitoes and midges.

By utilizing some of the following methods, either separately or together, you can keep the bugs away.

Plant Repellant Flowers

Use flowers such as Marigolds or Calendula .These flowers don't just smell good and add color to your patio; they also keep the mosquitoes and other biting insects at bay.

Burn Citrus or Citronella

Citrus candles work great alone, but they are even better when used in conjunction with citronella torches. To keep the flying bugs away, place citronella Tiki-Torches around the perimeter of your patio, and/or place citrus candles on surfaces such as tables or benches. This should help keep flies and other pests off your patio.

Spray with Hydrogen Peroxide

Fill a spray bottle 1/3 of the way with hydrogen peroxide. Then fill the rest with water. Shake well to mix. Spray the surface of your patio and the perimeter with a light mist. Pay special attention to tables where foods and drinks will be set and places where your guests will linger.

Use Anise Oil

bottle of anise oil

Anise is a little known herb that works extremely well in repelling bugs. You can find anise oil in health food stores and some garden centers. You may even be able to find it in the spice section of your local grocer.

Place a few drops of anise oil into a spray bottle and fill with water. Anise Oil is potent, so you only need a few drops. Spray patio surfaces and tables with the anise oil.

Note: Be sure not to use an artificial version.

Use Dryer Sheets

Bounce dryer sheets have been known to help keep midges, also known as no-seeums, at bay. Simply rub the sheets on tables and chairs. You can also rub it on your arms and legs as well to keep the pests away from your skin.

Spray Mouthwash

Fill a spray bottle with an alcohol-based mouthwash. Spray the legs of tables and chairs, as well as the perimeter of your patio. This is a great way to keep mosquitoes away from your backyard while promoting a minty fresh atmosphere.

Plant Some Herbs

Herbs such as mint, garlic, rosemary, lemongrass, and chives work great for warding off biting insects. Plant these in a small garden outside your patio to repel certain pests.

Use Essential Oils

Pour about 4 to 5 ounces of witch hazel into a spray bottle, then mix in 4 to 5 drops each of citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils. You can use this as a natural bug repellent on yourself or on the perimeter of your patio to prevent pests.

Note: Take care when using essential oils that you do not ingest them or spray them on foods.

Change Your Outdoor Lighting

Lights, especially white bulb lights, have a tendency to attract swarms of bugs during the night. Replace your outdoor lights with yellow or sodium vapor lights. These lights are less likely to attract bugs. Always make sure to turn them off before going in for the night to further prevent insects.

Keep Your Patio Clean

Hose off spills immediately and pick up any dropped food before the flies and other pests have a chance to find it.