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How to Keep Bugs at Bay in Your Backyard

Keep Bugs Away at Outdoor Events
June 18, 2015
Amanda Curry
Read Time
3 minutes

As the weather keeps getting better, spending quality time in the backyard continues to become more of a priority. Sure, the sunshine and summer breeze provide an ideal setting for relaxing outside, but these conditions also signal the booming presence of bugs. While layering on the bug spray or warming up the fire pit may be a temporary solution to this pest problem, there are plenty of other methods to improve insect protection outside your house. Take a look at these effective strategies for keeping bugs at bay in your backyard:

Set the traps

If mosquitoes and other pests continue to be a noticeable problem in your backyard, there’s no point in beating around the bush when it comes to boosting your bug defense. Investing in some of the bigger insect traps available is an effective way to ensure bugs won’t put a damper on your quality backyard time. According to, researchers from Florida A&M University analyzed the effectiveness of several of the highest-selling mosquito trap machines on the market. After three weeks of engaging in 3.5-hour testing periods near heavy mosquito-infested marshes, the researchers found that the Mega-Catch Ultra Mosquito Trap was the most effective, killing more than 3,000 mosquitos per session. The Mosquito Magnet machine came in second with more than 2,000 mosquitos trapped, followed by the Lentek Pest Control trap, which eliminated around 1,000 mosquitos. While the machines vary in price, it may be worth the extra investment if your backyard is being overrun by these intruders.

Tiki torches with citronella fuel are great for keeping bugs away. Tiki torches with citronella fuel are great for keeping bugs away.

Light them up

It’s no secret that insects tend to be attracted to lights, which leads to the next line of defense when it comes to diminishing their presence. There are a variety of ways you can deceive insects through their fondness for luminosity. Lighting Tiki torches with citronella fuel and placing them around your backyard is a great way to keep bugs at bay. The odor emitted by citronella fuel steers insects away, and homeowners can also consider using aerosol or propane-fueled foggers for a more powerful repellent effect. If Tiki torches and foggers are too much of a distraction in the backyard, there are also more subtle products, such as citronella candles, that can make quite a difference. The only downside to some of these products is that they become less effective whenever it’s windy outside, so always take that into account when considering how much you’re willing to spend on repellent equipment.

“Researchers report 99.9 percent of sprayed chemicals negatively impact public health ecosystems.”

Risky chemicals

Many people believe that using chemicals and insecticides can be an effective strategy for keeping bugs out of the backyard. However, recent studies have shown this to be a common misconception that could lead to worse consequences rather than the occasional bug bite. Beyond Pesticides reported that Dr. David Pimentel, an entomologist from Cornell University, states that around 99.9 percent of sprayed chemicals go on to negatively impact other public health ecosystems, leaving just 0.10 percent to work at eliminating insects. Use chemicals at your own discretion, and always consider alternative options.


Of course, booby traps and flickering lights aren’t the only way to ward off bugs. There are plenty of methods that don’t require investing in any products, and many simply require rearranging your backyard environment. The biggest factor that attracts mosquitos around your house is standing water. Having a sufficient gutter system or attaching gutter guards can help ensure that water is effectively directed away from your house and backyard. Bird baths, pools and garbage can lids are also known as standing-water receptacles, so try to keep an eye out to make sure you’re draining them often. Always keep trash cans or bags away from wherever you frequent the most in the backyard, as they are prime areas for bugs to breed. If you have any lights positioned in the backyard, switch out white bulbs for yellow-colored ones or LED lights, which are known to attract fewer insects. Even building a few birdhouses around the backyard can boost your defense, as birds are natural predators of all types of bugs.