The outdoor recreational season has officially swung into high gear across the country. And with temperatures expected to soar to 86°F over the next couple of weeks, there’s no better time to fire up that grill or throw a picnic party and gather all your friends for a refreshing alfresco dinner. The only problem is, bugs are probably at least as excited as you are to taste those mouthwatering pork chops, chargrilled burgers, or chocolate-dipped marshmallow kebabs. And since sharing would in no way be caring in this particular situation, you have no other option than to fight back and put them in their place.
Go the Natural Way. It’s easy, cheap, and you probably already have all the necessary ingredients to build natural traps and repellents for some of the most common summer bugs in Canada: ants, wasps, and flies.
Lemon juice for ants. If you’re like most Canadian’s whore responded to a recent survey, your problem is not so much identifying the pests you’re dealing with, as getting rid of them for good. For almost 70 percent, ants are an expected appearance this summer and the one pest that’s going to be most difficult to remove.
Ants may love fruit – mostly of the rotten variety – but they hate lemon and other citrus fruit with a passion. So go ahead and mix the juice from a couple of lemons with water and spray the solution all over the areas frequented by ants. To speed up the process, take half a lemon and rub it all over doorways or squeeze it directly into cracks and crevices around the house. You can also deter ants from kitchen and bathroom countertops by applying some lemon juice on these surfaces next time you clean the house.
Water traps for wasps. Although wasps are viewed as the nastier and more dangerous version of the bee, they are, in fact, beneficial insects, because they prey on other insects (mostly pests) and usually avoid high-traffic areas and human activity. Some of them are, however, more social than others, and all of them are attracted by food – so if they’re getting too close to your home, it’s time to put those DIY skills to work and build yourself an effective wasp trap.
Sounds difficult? It’s really as easy as it gets: all you need is a 2-liter plastic bottle, some jam, and a few drops of dish soap (if you really want to go all the way). Cut the top of the bottle, fill it halfway with water and dish soap, apply the jam on the neck, invert it, and set it in place with some adhesive tape. While getting in to get the jam would not be difficult for most wasps, getting out of the trap, especially if you’ve added dish soap to the water, will be almost impossible. Add ¼ cup of vinegar to make sure that your death trap doesn’t attract honeybees, as well.
Vodka spray for flies. If it’s recreational season, then it’s fly season, and homeowners know that usually means having to deal with the maddening buzzing and nasty feces, not to mention the various illnesses and diseases they can spread. Although regular flies rarely make it past 20 days, they reproduce at an amazing rate, each one being capable of laying approximately 9,000 eggs in their lifetime. So why not serve them a deadly cocktail and make sure they’re gone forever?
Vodka is one of flies’ greatest enemies – for some reason, they simply cannot stand the smell of it and will run for their lives once they catch a whiff. So instead of reaching for that RAID or some other bug spray packed with toxic substances, pour some vodka into a spray bottle and keep it on hand. Either aim towards the culprit or apply it on your skin (if the smell doesn’t bother you too much) to naturally repel them from your skin and property.
Sometimes, you can minimize the risk of being bothered by insects and bugs simply by eliminating their necessaries. Want to rid your back yard of annoying mosquitoes? Remove any source of pooling water, such as old tires or plant saucers, as well as birdbaths and other things that can hold water. You can also use butane-powered mosquito repellents, which can be found in hardware stores for little over $20 and ensure up to 12 hours of peace and quiet, or purchase one of those battery-powered fans to shoo any bugs away. An extra precaution: wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you’re spending your evenings outdoors.
Are you having a picnic party or a late dinner and serving a lot of refreshments? Keep drinks under wraps to prevent bugs from landing in it; the same goes for sugary foods and ripe fruit. Also, try not to get confused with a flower: don’t wear perfumes and colognes that attract nectar-seeking wasps and bees from a distance and don’t wear flower prints or brightly colored clothes, which are also a magnet for bees and other insects.
In case everything else fails and a bee or a wasp lands on you, fight the urge to move your hands or swat at them. As soon as they realize you are not an object of interest, they will leave you alone, so try to breathe and maintain your calm.
Despite your best attempts, it may be possible to be overwhelmed by summer pests’ numbers and resilience. All the above methods can work to ward off a reasonable number of ants, flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky critters, but some attacks may require professional help. If you find yourself unable to address your pest problem, whether it’s inside the house or outside, we can help eliminate the source of evil permanently.
At Greenleaf Pest Control, we provide comprehensive and environmentally-friendly solutions meant to eliminate existing pest invasions and prevent future pest activity. Whether you want to eliminate ants and rodents from inside your house or want to make sure your garden parties will be mosquito- and wasp-free, our pest control solutions will decimate their numbers and help you claim your outdoor space. Make this summer your time to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, while we make sure no pests and bugs dampen your good moods.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.