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In most areas of the country, there are a limited number of days when you can truly enjoy your backyard. 

I’m talking about lying in a hammock or playing a bean bag game with the kids. Or eating a family meal at a table in the backyard or tossing the football around.

For one-half of the year in many places, it’s too cold to engage in those activities. And during the other half, you probably have to spend one weekend day mowing, weed whacking and trimming.

That leaves one weekend day free, but invariably other plans take precedence or it rains. In other words, there never seems to be enough days to enjoy the backyard.

Show ‘em they’re not welcome

So, when those rare days come along when you and the family can finally relax in what was meant to be a playground behind your house, you don’t want the day spoiled by annoying pests. Especially if you’re entertaining neighbors or friends.

But that’s exactly what a wide variety of bugs can do. Including mosquitos. It’s pretty much what they live for. They want to feast on you just as much as you want to feast on whatever you’ve got going on the grill.

Today I want to talk about some things you can do to help ensure that you will enjoy the backyard you’ve purchased more than the unwanted guests that buzz in for a visit. 

And I’ll conclude with my recommendation for the best product you can acquire to support your other tactics.

Don’t let standing water sit

There’s nothing more beautiful than a body of water. Unless it’s standing water in which mosquitos breed. 

This can occur in a number of places in and around your backyard. Including clogged gutters and sunken areas. Even pools and birdbaths.

It’s bad enough to have backyard bugs flying around looking to wreak havoc. You don’t want to provide them with an opportunity to multiply.

So, unclog your gutters, fill in sunken areas and regularly change pool and birdbath water. If mosquitos don’t see a good area to breed on your property, they’re likely to try next door instead.

Cover your garbage… and your food

Another thing that’s attractive to bugs – especially flies and ants – is garbage. If you keep your garbage and recycle cans outdoors, there are a few ways to avoid this.

First, always keep lids on those cans. Otherwise they are an open invitation to bugs. Second, keep cans away from areas where you want to spend time and entertain. Third, clean them inside and out after pickup day with soap and warm water.

Outside eating can be a lot of fun. But not just for humans. A wide assortment of bugs love it when you bring food into their habitat.

It’s essential to keep all your food covered when it’s not being accessed. And not just with paper towels, which can blow away or be crawled under. It’s worth investing in a few solid lids.

Plants and Trimming

Here are two other things you can do to help keep your backyard as bug-free as possible. One is to plant the types of flowers bugs don’t care for. Mainly due to their scents.

Among them are lavender (gnats, mosquitos), marigold (mosquitos, lice), chrysanthemum (ants, roaches, ticks) and lemongrass (mosquitos, aphids).

Others include mint (spiders, ants), basil (mosquitos, house flies) and petunias (beetles, leafhoppers).

Two, keep your landscaping tidy. Keep your lawn mowed, kill weeds and trim brush around your property. Overgrown grass, brush and weeds are a haven for a variety of bugs.

Bats and birds     

Many people consider bats creepy. They’d much rather pretend these denizens of the dark don’t exist than give them a place to hang out.

But those who have constructed a bat house on their property swear by bats’ ability to gobble up thousands of bugs. And because bats are nocturnal, you don’t even have to witness their food flights.

Another option is making your backyard bird-friendly. Feeders and birdbaths are a good start. Shrubs and small trees give them the cover they like.

With a variety of these feathered friends visiting your backyard often, you’ve got instant pest control.

Bug repellants

Most bug repellants work pretty well. But if you’re concerned about the chemicals they contain or the smell, you can formulate your own using natural ingredients. Use the substance on any exposed skin. Especially feet, ankles, lower legs and wrists.

Bug zappers can also be effective. Most use fluorescent light bulbs that emit ultraviolet light to attract insects into a high voltage electrical wire mesh, where they are electrocuted.

Another option is the citronella candle. It masks scents that are attractive to mosquitos. Because the oil evaporates quickly, these candles are usually only effective for a couple hours.

They may not have a lot of range (six to seven feet), but tiki torches also contain citronella oil that can confuse mosquitos. It’s a popular party decoration that can create a tropical island aesthetic.  

Miscellaneous strategies

Here are a few other tips and tricks…

  • Patio fans are good for chasing annoying bugs like flies and mosquitos away. They also serve to cool you off on a warm day.
  • Wear light-colored clothing when outdoors. Bugs see dark and bright colors more easily than white or beige.
  • Give your dogs and cats flea and tick meds. This should keep your pets from transporting bugs from them to you or your guests.
  • Keep your patio and deck clean. Even a few food crumbs left out can be a calling card for ants and other pests.
  • Some folks like to spray their outdoor furniture with mint-flavored mouthwash. They like the scent but bugs don’t.

My recommendation

As promised, here’s my recommendation for the best way to keep your backyard bug-free.

It’s the BugOUT Solar Lantern from 4Patriots. We like to call it the king of bug-zappers. It only weighs a pound, but it packs a punch.

The BugOUT Solar Lantern charges endlessly in the sun with its solar panel, attracts and kills bugs, and cleans itself every 72 hours. It has three different light settings and a convenient handle so you can hang it anywhere.

In addition to being annoying pests, mosquitos can carry diseases. Protect yourself and your backyard guests with the BugOUT Solar Lantern.

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