Simple tricks like lighting citronella candles, planting insect-repellant plants, and keeping food covered and the outdoor area clean are great for warding off pests.
By implementing eight simple tips from Chris Bonnett, the founder of GardeningExpress.co.uk, it’s possible to create a more enjoyable barbecue experience for everyone involved.
He said: “It’s extremely annoying when there are bugs flying about when you’re trying to enjoy a barbecue with your guests. Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive ways to repel insects trying to crash your garden party.
“To ensure a pleasant outdoor dining experience, it’s important to keep food covered until it’s ready to be served and keep the area clean to prevent attracting bugs with food odours.
“A lot of these tricks involve using common household items, plants and foods and they’re all great alternatives for chemical insect sprays.”
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1. Insect-repellant plants
Plants like lavender, chrysanthemum, marigold and lemongrass are “natural bug repellents” because of their smell, claimed the expert.
He insisted that households plant a couple of these near the barbecue or where food is typically enjoyed outside to discourage insects and add some colour to the garden.
2. Citronella candles
Citronella oil is known to “repel bugs”, so light some citronella candles around the seating areas. Chris said: “Not only will they drive away insects, but the candles also create a cosy atmosphere in the garden and release an aromatic smell.”
3. Eliminate food odours
Make sure to clean up any food debris, spills and garbage straight away or households will be attracting bugs with food odours. All foods should also be covered until they’re ready to be served.
4. Foods that deter bugs
According to the expert, certain foods “can actually help to deter bugs”, so feel free to leave these out to “keep the insects away” by releasing a “distinctive smell that the bugs hate”.
These such foods include garlic, onions, lemons and grapefruit which can be placed on plates and spread around the area to “keep the insects well away”.
5. Water and pennies
Chris claimed that this “interesting trick” uses light reflection to “confuse them and drive bugs away”.
To carry it out, fill up a few glasses of water and drop some pennies into each cup. Place these near the barbecue and serving area and notice that “the flies won’t come past them”.
6. Use herbs
Include herbs in dishes that “bugs won’t come near”. Chris suggested throw some sage, rosemary, basil or chives on the grill while cooking the barbecue and “the bugs will stay clear”.
7. Time the barbecue wisely
Some insects are more active during specific times of the day. Plan your barbecue during daylight hours when mosquitoes and other biting bugs are less active.
8. Mow the grass
Mowing the grass regularly can also help reduce the population of bugs in the garden.
Households should make sure to cut the grass before barbecuing to eliminate potential breeding grounds and hiding spots.