7 Ways to Make Your Yard & Home a Bug-Free Zone
A lush spot for outdoor entertaining? Great. Perfect. A constant swarm of insects that invade your patio and home? No, thank you. Here's how to keep bugs away from your patio and yard, and from getting inside your house.
Mosquitos may have a tough sting, but they're wimps when it comes to standing up to a breeze. Patio fans can keep your outdoor entertaining space free from mosquitoes (and other little flyers) with the flip of a switch. And you'll get the benefit of a cool breeze.
While mulching is generally a good thing for curb appeal, overdoing it can cause problems. It could give cockroaches and ants the ideal environment to nest and find their way into your home, says Brittany Campbell, an entomologist with the National Pest Management Association. As mulch decomposes, it generates heat while providing cover for brooding pests. It can even help mice tunnel into your home. So keep mulch at least 12 inches away from the foundation — or use inorganic mulch, such as rock or gravel. But don't go in the opposite direction and forgo mulching altogether, leaving the ground essentially bare. Yellow jackets make their nests by tunneling into bare dirt.
You probably know this one already. But did you know your gutters and downspouts may harbor multiple mosquito maternity wards? Clean out gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water and give those nasty stingers a place to breed. Also make sure to keep kiddie pools, buckets, and watering cans empty when not in use. Even your beloved birdbath can be an issue. "Make sure you get one with running water, so you don't inadvertently create a mosquito breeding ground," says Kevin Esperitu, home landscaping expert and author.
Pull out that lawnmower regularly, and keep your garden shears sharpened. "Ticks like to hide in tall grass and wait for a passing human or animal, while bushes or tree limbs touching the home can provide easy access for pests to get indoors," says Campbell. Plus having a tidy yard makes for good curb appeal.
Bugs hate strong scents of mint or citrus. Mix plants with those scents into your landscaping, especially near the porch, patio, or deck for added beauty and functionality. Here are some pest-repelling plants and the bugs that hate them:
Basil: flies, mosquitoes
Catnip: mosquitoes, ticks, flies, cockroaches
Chrysanthemums: roaches, ants, ticks, fleas, bedbugs
Lavender: moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes
Geranium, lemon scented: mosquitoes
Lemon thyme: mosquitoes