Ten Easy Ways To Keep Bugs At Bay When Hosting A Picnic
By Kwame Akinyi
The sun is out. It is a lovely day, your picnic set up is well laid out, you are enjoying the moment with your family, taking in the sun, and unwinding. However, the bugs seem not to know their boundaries. No matter how hard you try to fan, swat, and “shoo” them, they just won’t go away.
To keep the uninvited guests from bugging, stinging, and bothering you, try some of these eco-friendly tips and tricks for a bug-free picnic.
1.Identify the ideal spot
The temptation to set up close to water bodies, or out in the open field may be hard to resist. As you identify the right spot for your picnic party, remember that mosquitoes and narrow bee flies are likely to be breeding too close for your comfort. If your choice of location is an open field, take note too, that hawks may easily interfere with your party as they prey on your spread. Your ideal location should also not be too close to a damp site, ablution blocks, or garbage bins. Not only will the smell emanating from such locations be unpleasant, but your delectable spread is likely to invite flies.
2. Clean out your backyard
If you are planning on hosting family or friends in your backyard, ensure that you trim the lawn, clear the clutter, and get rid of any stagnant water on the pavements or ditches. A clean yard is a healthy yard, with free-flowing air and minimal chance of disruption by unwanted and annoying insects.
3.Let your fan go to work
Portable fans come in handy during hot seasons. You can add them to your list of picnic essentials and use them liberally as you dine outdoors. Not only will their subtle breeze keep you cool but also keep the flying insects away. The trick is to invest in a battery-operated one – this ensures that you can use it anywhere.
4.DIY peppermint spray
While we do agree that some of these pests have a critical role to play in the cycle of life, we are clear that we don’t want them reigning on our parade. An organic peppermint spray is a natural solution you need to get rid of pests and insects. It is a safe repellant and appropriate replacement for pesticides that may be harmful to the environment.
Here’s what you need for your DIY peppermint spray:
1. Empty spray bottle
2. Distilled water
3.Peppermint essential oil.
To mix it up, fill ¾ of your spray bottle with distilled water then add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil. Shake vigorously to mix it well, and spray away. While out during the picnic, spray your blanket and surroundings lightly before unpacking.
5.Citronella candle-lit picnics
Citronella candles are highly recommended as they combine the benefits of smoke and citrus, two natural insect repellents. While out on a picnic, light up small citronella candles on the table to wade away annoying insects. Another advantage of citronella candles is that they are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Alternatively, if you cannot find citronella candles, you can use citrus candles, citrus-scented sprays, or even citrus fruit peels (they tend to have quite a good amount of essential oil that will work just as well.
6.Mark your territory with white chalk powder
Chalk powder contains calcium carbonate. This compound can keep the crawlies away, as it disrupts their sense of smell. The powder throws them off and they won’t cross the line because they are unable to pick up on the scent of other insects. If you are planning a backyard picnic on your patio, draw lines around the patio table and chair set up, possible entry points to keep off the insects. It is advisable to avoid insect-killing chalks. They usually contain toxins and are harmful to one’s health. Also, we only want to throw off the insects not kill them.
7.Use water to keep away ants
Ants have a very powerful sense of smell and tend to be the very first bugs that appear at the first whiff of aromatic foods and drinks. From biting, overcrowding your table, and taking over your food, they are the unwelcome guest that you would be happy to keep away, or at bay. To keep them off your picnic table, keep your food off the ground. Then place small saucers filled with water on the legs of the table. This wades them off and makes it hard for them to climb your table.
8.Reflecting off birds
A lot can be said about hawks, open spaces, and food. Sometimes, it makes for funny memories, other times, it causes undue embarrassment and disruption. Here’s one way to ensure that the birds say away from your setup: use old CDs to distract and keep them away from your site. You could string these around your setup or in adjacent trees, or place them at an angle on the ground. You could also invest in some reflective papers, as they serve the same purpose. Most birds tend to avoid reflective light since it can be distractive to them while flying.
Avoid strong perfumes – their flowery notes will attract bees. The last thing you need is a swarm of bees disrupting an otherwise elegant event. If you must wear perfume, go for one with citrus notes.
10. Keep it covered
Insects are naturally drawn to fruits and drinks, and easily pick up the aroma very fast. The trick is to pack lids too that you will use to cover up your drinks and food when you are not drinking or eating. This limits the smell and stops the insects from contaminating your foods. To avoid carrying many utensils, pack your drinks in jars and tins that have lids. You could opt for jars that have straw holes on their lids so that you don’t have to keep opening and closing while drinking. Don’t forget to carry disposable wipes which come in handy when you spill or pour your food. Remember to clean up immediately to avoid attracting insects.
Hope these tips and quick fixes help you have a bug-free picnic. Let us know any other tricks or tips that will help us all have safe, bug-free picnics. Happy Picnicking!