5 Tips for Keeping Your Outdoor Party Mosquito-Free
Experts share how to enjoy your event without those pesky pests.
Planning any event is a major undertaking made up of many moving parts. Even a simple backyard barbecue will require serious coordination to ensure that everyone has food, drinks, comfortable seating, respite from the sun, and more. Keeping your party mosquito-free is another common consideration for any outdoor summer soiree, but if you're not sure where to begin, you're not alone. Read on to learn experts' top five tips for keeping the blood-sucking bugs at bay when you're entertaining outdoors.
Drain any standing water.
The first thing you should do to prepare for a mosquito-free party is to check for any water that has collected on your property.
"Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, and it takes just 10-14 days after a rain shower for mosquitoes to re-populate. This includes wading pools, birdbaths, flower pots, and clogged gutters," explains Scot Hodges, certified entomologist and VP of technical services and professional development at Arrow Exterminators.
According to Shannon Harlow-Ellis, associate certified entomologist and technical specialist for Mosquito Joe (a Neighborly company), even a single bottle cap full of water can attract gravid female mosquitoes.
So, in the week or two leading up to your big event, be sure to tip over any of these items to get rid of stagnant water.
Use fans to blow mosquitoes away.
Since mosquitoes aren't actually very strong flyers, you can use a fan to keep them away from your outdoor seating areas. Harlow-Ellis recommends also installing small fans near the food service area, bar, and cake table to create air movement that deters flying insects.
"Set up fans strategically to create a breeze that makes it difficult for mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and midges to fly and bother guests," she advises.
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Place repellents and traps carefully.
Next, place mosquito repellent lanterns or candles in the ceremony area, food service area, bar, and cake table, Harlow-Ellis recommends. You can also provide repellent bracelets or patches for your guests to keep on hand.
However, you'll want to place your traps further from where your guests will spend their time.
"Install traps outside the event area to reduce flying insects but be cautious about their placement to avoid attracting bugs closer to the guests," says Harlow-Ellis, adding that you can keep these concealed in out-of-sight areas.
Keep the party area clean.
Keeping your party space clean will also help prevent mosquitoes from showing up uninvited—and it has the added benefit of deterring other unpleasant insects such as flies and bees.
"Clean garbage cans, outdoor grills, and patio furniture to minimize insect activity," says Harlow-Ellis. "Trim bushes, mow the lawn, and remove excess mulch to eliminate hiding spots for mosquitoes and gnats."
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Use a special event pest service.
Hodges says that pest control companies can often provide a one-time mosquito control service before an outdoor event, which can help provide a protective barrier for a short period of time.
"These highly effective mosquito exterminator treatments are a great way to protect the health and comfort of your family and guests," he says.
Harlow-Ellis notes that starting your pest control service three to five days before the event will best control insect populations.
"They can provide effective treatments and use safe essential oil blends while understanding insect behavior and optimal device placement," she tells Best Life.
If you're planning a larger event at a paid outdoor venue—a wedding or big birthday bash, for example—you should plan on inquiring about their pest control plan, she adds.