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Make your patio less appealing to insects


Bugs are no different than humans and animals: they frequent the places where they’re the most welcome. Unfortunately, there are a lot of elements in your backyard and around your patio that insects find so appealing they consider it an open invitation to come over and hang out as often as they please.

If you want a pest-free patio this year, the most important thing you can do is take away those elements that bugs find desirable. If that’s not as effective as you’d like, the next step is to find ways to actively repel those bugs. 

Why are bugs attracted to my patio?

There are a number of ways that you can unintentionally make your backyard and patio appealing to a wide variety of insects. If you have standing water, piles of debris or an unkempt lawn, all of these conditions can entice bugs to take up residence on your property. Luckily, these are conditions that you can change. 

How can I make my patio less desirable to bugs?

Clean up

Just like you wouldn’t go to a restaurant that had no food, if there’s nothing on your patio that bugs want to eat, they’ll be less inclined to visit. Clean your grill, pick up and discard any crumbs and scrub away any spills. It doesn’t take much to feed a bug, so you really need to be diligent about this. While you’re at it, move the trash cans and recycle bins as far from your patio as possible — garbage is a smorgasbord for bugs.

Remove debris

Bugs need a place to live. A small clump of leaves or a stray branch could make the perfect home. Take a moment and really look at your backyard and patio, focusing on natural debris. If you store firewood near your patio, this can give certain insects both food and shelter, so make sure that you store it properly — on a rack so it’s raised off of the ground, away from your home and covered. Also inspect hidden areas like gutters or under the deck.

Take care of your lawn and garden

It doesn’t have to be grass clippings, fallen leaves or dead tree branches; live plants can be problematic, too. If the grass gets too high, there is an excess of weeds or dense shrubbery growing around your patio, those are all ideal environments for bugs to thrive. Trim your lawn and tidy up your garden to help keep the bugs away.

Remove all standing water

Just like humans, insects need water to survive. Any standing water that you have on or near your patio, whether it’s a birdbath or just an area with poor drainage, can lure a variety of bugs to the vicinity. Even worse, mosquito larvae need stagnant water to survive. In other words, if you have standing water, mosquitoes won’t just be living there, they’ll be breeding there as well. It’s important to identify and get rid of any and all standing water on your property.

How do I repel the bugs on my patio?

If you’ve made changes and you still have a pest problem, it’s time to get a little more aggressive and make changes that won’t just be less appealing to bugs but will actually repel them.

Plant plants that keep away bugs

essential oils

Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil

Believe it or not, instead of attracting pests, there are some plants that can help keep them away. Lavender, marigolds, citronella grass, rosemary, basil, mint and more all have properties that can keep bugs away. If you don’t want to add any plants to your yard, consider spraying essential oils around your patio’s perimeter to deter invading insects. 

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Consider a bug light

yellow bug light

Feit Electric Yellow Bug Light

A yellow bug light may help with your insect problem, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. Insects don’t perceive light that has longer wavelengths as easily as they do light that has shorter wavelengths. Yellow light has longer wavelengths than blue light, so it isn’t as noticeable. In other words, a yellow light doesn’t actually repel bugs, it’s simply less enticing. 

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Add a fan

wall mount fan

iLiving Outdoor Fan

An air curtain is a special fan-powered device that creates an invisible barrier that helps stabilize indoor temperatures, even when a door is open. An air curtain is what helps a walk-in freezer remain cold. It turns out that steady stream of air also is extremely effective at keeping bugs out. To replicate the effect of an air curtain on your patio, consider using a strategically positioned outdoor fan.

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Invite birds to your yard


Alpine Corporation Birdhouse Fountain

Besides seeds and berries, birds eat insects. If you have birds on your property, you likely have less insects. To make your yard more enticing to birds, try adding a fountain or a birdhouse. While the fountain may seem to go against the idea of having water on your property, the running water doesn’t hold the same appeal to insects as stagnant water does.

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What you need to buy to keep bugs off your patio

OFF! Citronella Scented Candle

OFF! Citronella Scented Candle

With a burn time of up to 25 hours, this two-pack of citronella candles can help keep your patio mosquito-free for outdoor events.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Black Flag 2,000-Volt Bug Zapper

Black Flag 2,000-Volt Bug Zapper

When plugged in, this bug zapper can protect yards that are up to a half-acre in size from mosquitoes, flies, wasps, moths and more.

Sold by Home Depot and Overstock

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Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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