Controlling Insects & Bugs at Your Outdoor Party

grasshopperThere's nothing more annoying at a party or event than an abundance of insects that just won't go away. They're persistent, irritating, and get into the food. It really is a conundrum. What should you do if you want to throw an outdoor party but don't want the bugs that go along with it?

Pest control for your picnic, barbeque, outdoor or tailgating party is challenging but definitely doable if you know what steps to take to make the environment unfavorable for pests. Just how many you will have to deal with will also depend on if your party will be held in the daytime or nighttime hours.


First things first. You'll need to control the surroundings for your party as much as possible. Your backyard or deck will be the easiest to manage. Campsites, parks, and tailgate locations, less so. If you have the flexibility, choose the location wisely and take additional measures to ensure an insect-free party.

Your best bet is to avoid areas with puddles or standing water, which are favorable to mosquitoes. As attractive as fountains are, they should be avoided, especially on hot, humid days or evenings. If you insist on fountains or they're already in place, try to keep them running so that they aren't stagnant.

To reduce grasshoppers and other insects, mow the area to get rid of all tall grass and weeds. Using a weed-eater for tight spots will also make your party location look neater. If this is a public area, check it for crumbs, food scraps, trash, or anything else that someone might have left behind that will attract pests and remove it.

Pest Control

Besides renting a large tent with netting/screens, there are several ways to adjust the air, lighting, and atmosphere to keep insects away. Some of these strategies will only be necessary for the evening and night hours when bugs are the most persistent.

- Spray in advance for mosquitoes.

- Keep lamps, lanterns, etc. away from people since bugs are attracted to light.

- Invest in some supplies that will repel insects. Citronella candles, tiki lamps, bug lights, and mosquito coils are efficient but must be kept away from children and main traffic areas to prevent accidents.

- Electronic bug zappers are popular but can be costly. Borrow one if possible but consider buying your own if you have frequent parties.

- If your campsite has a fire pit, use it for lighting and bug control. Some stores sell fire pits that are ideal for patios. Be responsible and make sure nobody gets too close.

- Have insect repellant and sprays available for guests. Remember that anything containing Deet is not recommended for kids.

- Use trash cans with lids and place away from the party area.

- Cover food and put it away when finished. Discard or pack tablecloths full of crumbs.

- Insects are more active sans wind. If you have a very still day, consider setting up a fan to gently circulate air. Keep the children away from fans.

- Some plants and flowers are said to naturally repel insects. Rosemary, thyme, peppermint, marigolds, basil, and herbs may reduce mosquitoes and ants if properly placed. Grow any of these in a portable planter for easy transport.