Keep Pests Away From Your Backyard Grilling Station With These Essential Tips

Summer is the grillmaster's favorite time of the year: longer days and kids being out of school mean more time for family gatherings with freshly cooked steaks, burgers, and hot dogs. A less fortunate aspect of summertime, however, is the fact that the hotter temperatures also attract bugs to your grilling station — and the last thing you need is flies, mosquitoes, ants, and other nuisance bugs crashing your barbecue party and swarming your guests as they try to chow down on the meal you worked so hard to prepare.

While bugs may be drawn to many of the elements present at your outdoor grill — food remnants, spilled soda, and humans, to name a few — there are measures you can take to limit the challenges they pose to you and your next outdoor grilling event. While grilling, this may mean keeping trash concealed and away from bugs, as well as keeping food covered. After you're done grilling, it means cleaning work surfaces thoroughly and keeping food under a mesh cover. Truth be told, the best ways to keep pests away from your porch and grill might be right under your nose.

Post-grilling measures

Bugs are resourceful, and their rapid rate of reproduction ensures that their population will likely overwhelm any attempts to completely wipe them out. That doesn't mean, however, that you should give up the fight — quite the contrary. If you've found bugs lingering in your barbecue area between gatherings, that means that they are still being attracted to something there. One of the best things you can do after you grill is to thoroughly clean the space. Making your own grill spray with water and white vinegar (1:1 ratio) will cut down on grease that has built up. After a few minutes, you'll need to use a grill brush to lift any remaining buildup. Use a cleansing spray on the outside of your grill to tackle any other food residue, making sure that it is safe to use on your grill's coating. Once clean, keep your grill covered, as you might not be able to eliminate every trace of food.

Sweeping the ground for crumbs is another must-do following every use of the grill. Resist the temptation to just sweep the food off the edge of the patio, as that will still attract bugs to the perimeter of your outdoor living space; instead, use a dustpan to collect the crumbs so you can dispose of them. You can also try some basic household ingredients on the patio to control bug populations.

Ways to eliminate bugs on grilling day

Ants, flies, and other bugs will quickly take advantage of any sugary liquids or food remnants that they find, so working to mitigate these on grilling day is a good start. You need a trash bin for napkins, cups, and plates, but make sure it has a cover that your guests replace so that flies don't begin to congregate within. Keeping an eye on spilled juices and sodas and quickly wiping them up will reduce what the bugs have to feast on. Many guests will be happy to help you stay on top of the mess if you make it easy for them: create a clean-up station with a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of cleaner, and encourage guests to make use of it if they see a spill occur.

It's common to have a plate of burgers, a basket of buns, and various sides sitting out, but be sure to have food covers available for each plate of food. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil might be easy to use, but it's too simple to leave a corner of the plate exposed. Purchasing a few mesh dish covers can go a long way to preventing bugs getting to your hard-earned lunch. If you struggle with mosquitoes in your yard, you can also make a homemade bottle of mosquito repellent, so that your guests can enjoy their food without being made a meal by the blood-sucking pests.