There's no better place to celebrate summer evenings than out on the patio, but if you don't take steps to bug-proof your outdoor area, your BBQ or dinner party could receive some uninvited guests. Try this combination of natural and man-made deterrents to keep your food fresh and your guests free from bites.
Flowers have more uses than just making your home look pretty. Species such as marigolds can also keep mosquitoes and other biting insects out of your garden, as can herbs including chives, garlic, lemongrass, mint and rosemary.
Candles and oils
Smoke from candles and torches is usually enough to repel biting insects, but you can add to the punch by lighting citrus and citronella candles, which have the added bonus of a pleasant fragrance. You could also achieve success with essential oils, spraying citronella, eucalyptus and lavender oils from a spray bottle or potent anise oil diluted in water.
Don't look at mosquito nets as an annoying concession to pests, but as an opportunity to add to the ambience and intimacy of your outdoor retreat.
Cover it up
Just in case a few pests slip through your defences, the most effective way to keep flies and other bugs off your food at a buffet is to cover it up. You can invest in mesh food covers or improvise with upside-down colanders and whatever else you find in your cabinets.
Mow the lawn
If you needed more reasons to keep up with your regular lawn maintenance, shorter grass means your garden will harbour fewer resident bugs all year round.
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