You’ve been looking forward to that outdoor barbecue. Steaks, burgers and hotdogs sizzling on the backyard grill. A time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Then the bugs swarm in. Mosquitoes and flies – more frequent intruders during the warm summer months – are ready to dine. You and your guests are their unfortunate targets. These pests aren’t merely annoying – their bites can sting and itch. Some even carry diseases.

If you want to keep the bugs at bay so you can enjoy your backyard barbecue in peace and safety, follow some simple steps, courtesy of the National Pest Management Association.

  1. Remove any standing water; mosquitoes can breed in as little as a half-inch of water. Bird baths, flower pots and grill covers are among the many objects that can collect water.
  2. Use an EPA-approved insect repellent. The product label will let you know if the repellent contains chemicals that are safe. The EPA approves insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon/eucalyptus.
  3. Avoid using scented products such as perfume and candles – they attract insects.
  4. If at all possible, serve your food inside. If you choose to eat outdoors, make sure all your food is covered. And don’t use plastic bottles or aluminum cans – they are great places for insects to hide. Use paper cups instead.
  5. Clean up your mess! Leaving crumbs and unwashed dishes and utensils invite insects to take up residence in your yard.
  6. Treat bites by mosquitoes, ants, flies, ticks, bees and wasps with Bite Helper™, a product that will relieve itching and discomfort. Bite Helper’s proprietary Thermo-Pulse-Technology™ enables pulsating heat to penetrate the bite wound in order to provide relief.