Ban Standing Water
Standing water is the enemy in your battle against bugs, as it’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure your gutters are unclogged and that any sunken areas in your yard are filled in so that water can’t collect. Even the water in the birdbath and kiddie pool should be regularly changed to prevent those little suckers from multiplying.
Related: Quick Tip: Cleaning Your Gutters
Move and Remove Attractants
Keep Food Covered
Picnics and barbecues are a favorite summer pastime—and your friends and family aren't the only ones who will find your smorgasbord inviting. To keep the six-legged critters out of the party, do your best to keep food covered while entertaining. Silicone Lids (set of four) available on Amazon; $25.
Build a Bat House
A single bat typically eats 6,000 to 8,000 insects in a night, so consider these nocturnal critters your superhero sidekicks in the fight against bugs. Bolster your bat population by building a bat house, and be glad to see them swooping through your yard at dusk.
Related: How To: Get Rid of Bats
Feathered friends make for fun window-watching, but they can also help with pest control. Most backyard birds eat a diet of berries, seeds, and insects. Make your yard more inviting by planting twiggy shrubs and small trees for cover. Install a birdbath or fountain, and leave your bird feeder out to encourage these creatures to visit often and take up residence.
Related: 12 Birdhouses We Love
Keep Things Kempt
Overgrown brush and weeds can provide great habitats and hiding areas for a slew of insects and their brethren. Keep your landscaping tidy, and be sure to trim back tall grass, brush, and weeds around your property.
Build a Bug Trap
A DIY trap is an easy-to-attain defense mechanism in the fight against backyard bugs. To make your own, cut the top off a two-liter soda bottle and invert it so that the spout points back down into the bottle. Tape the pieces together to seal, then fill with a solution that will attract the type of insect you’re hoping to catch.
Light Up Some Citronella
Citronella oil comes from a combination of naturally bug-repellent grasses. In candle form, it masks the scents of carbon dioxide and human lactic acid, which are so attractive to insects. And it's perfectly safe too! Approved by the FDA, citronella has been used to flavor foods and beverages for more than 50 years. So, get the tutorial for citronella candles, and light them up at your next backyard party for a bug-free gathering.
Pretreat a Party (OFF! Backyard Pretreat)
If you know you’re having a gang of people over, you can pretreat your yard the night before with an off-the-shelf spray. OFF! Bug Control Backyard Pretreat connects to a garden hose and can cover a 16,000-square-foot area. It will kill and repel insects for up to eight weeks. Available on Amazon; $13.
Choose Bug-Repellent Plants
Do yourself a favor while you’re planning your landscaping and mix in some bug-repellent plant varieties. Lavender, marigold, chrysanthemum, and lemongrass, among others, are all known to discourage a host of insects from mosquitoes to aphids.
Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today!