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Tips for Keeping your Deck Bug-Free

Summer time is the time of picnics, barbecues, sunshine, and lots of outdoor fun. In some cases, a lot of bugs. Bugs can be quite annoying and even cause the spread of disease. This is especially true for mosquitoes which spread West Nile virus, malaria and other serious illnesses. They are one of the most relentless bugs out there and can cause entire gatherings to move indoors just to avoid them. Over the years, people have come up with many ways to combat them; spray repellents, oils, lotions, candles, outdoor foggers and much more. Not much seems to deter these little guys though. However, if you combine your regular summer time outdoor skin routines with other methods, you might find you finally have a bug-free outdoor oasis to enjoy.

Remove sources of stagnant water

Mosquitoes, Dragonflies, Flies and water scorpions all require stagnant water to breed. While you may not want to deter dragonflies, the rest are quite a nuisance and can be quite hard to get rid of.

  • If you are like many people, you may have a few buckets or empty planters sitting around your yard.  Make sure to dump these out and store them upside down.
  • Gutters are the second most common place that bugs breed, check to make sure there isn’t a collection of leaves and other debris holding up the flow of water.
  • If you have one or more birdbath’s in your yard, it is a good idea to change the water out at least once a week.
  • If you have a pond in your back yard, natural or man-made, you should install an air pump, add a waterfall or fountain to it to keep water flowing and discourage pests.
  • Check for standing water at the base of your downspouts, if there is, fill the space in with gravel.

Natural bug repellents

There are several things you can do to fight off pests naturally. These methods can help you get and keep your pest problem under control.

  • Place fans on your deck, the excess air movement will repel mosquitoes and help keep your and your guests from being bitten.
  • Wear light colored clothing. If it isn’t too hot wear pants, long sleeves, and socks, especially if you are working in your garden in the evenings.
  • Spray herbal mosquito repellents on your clothing. Many contain herbal extracts such as cedar, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, basil, eucalyptus and more. All of these are natural mosquito repellents and are safe to use on children.
  • Take garlic or brewers yeast supplements to help fend off mosquitoes from within.
  • Plant bug repelling plants and herbs such as marigold’s, mint, horsemint, geraniums, basil, and lemongrass. These might take a while to grow, so it is a good idea to start them indoors during the wintertime. In the spring, you can simply plant them around your deck for an instantaneous effect.

 Add bug repelling accessories

Most people believe that candles, torches and other outdoor accessories don’t really work to combat mosquitoes. While their repellent properties are limited to the spaces immediately surrounding them, they do work. Here are a few accessories you can use in combination with other methods.

  • Tiki Torches come in many different styles, colors and designs. They can be filled with a variety of different types of oils and are a beautiful addition to any outdoor living space. Fill them with citronella oil, between the smoke, flame and scent of the citronella, bugs are sure to steer clear of the areas they are in.
  • Use candles on outdoor tables and other surfaces. You can choose to use citronella candles or any that are scented with natural essential oils that repel bugs such as eucalyptus, peppermint, or fever-few.
  • Place large incense in planters filled with sand. These are usually quite colorful and can double as a decorative piece. The smoke and scent usually work as a great deterrent for bugs. In addition, incense can really set the mood for your outdoor gathering.


While all of this might seem like a lot of work, it really isn’t. Especially because most people either have these items on hand or purchase them every year. Herb gardens can serve a dual purpose and save you money on both pesticides and cooking herbs, both of which can be pretty expensive. If you happen to like crafting or one of your family members does, you could have them make candles infused with essential oils for your deck. When you take the time to combine a few of these methods, you will find that your outdoor oasis is more like an oasis than ever before.

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