Eating outside is one of the best perks of summer — until the bees, flies, gnats, and other annoying buggers start showing up. (No one invited you, Mr. Mosquito!) And unfortunately, these pesky insects can be so much, a lot of us give up and head inside for cover. Let’s make 2019 the year we reclaim our patios, porches, and picnic tables! There are a few smart things you can do to keep the bugs at bay (beyond bug spray and Citronella candles, that is).
Here’s what we suggest:
1. Set up some fans.
Funnily enough flies (and mosquitos and other insects) can’t, well, fly super well in the wind. Consider installing some fans (if you have a covered porch) or just set up some portable ones. They’ll help keep bugs away and give you a nice, cooling breeze, which will be very welcome as the temps rise later this summer.
2. Make a centerpiece of herbs.
Certain herbs can actually repel insects — and they’ll look/smell good while doing it. Fill some vases with any combo of basil, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, or mint. Then scatter them around the tables and your patio.
3. Be smarter about your serving pieces.
Obviously, your best bet is to keep the food inside, but that’s not always possible or convenient. If you want to set up a buffet table or just have certain dishes out on the table, think about the bugs when you pick out your serving dishes. For example, you can swap pitchers for beverage dispensers, use bowls with lids, and consider wine glasses with tops.
4. Create a diversion.
As ridiculous as this may sound, you might want to consider just giving the bugs what they want . . . far away from your dinner party. We know some Williams Sonoma shoppers who will put a few pieces of deli meat on a paper plate on the other side of their yard. This way, the bugs will get distracted and hang out over there, instead of by you.
5. Use dryer sheets.
Lots of people swear that dryer sheets keep mosquitos and gnats away, and some researchers have confirmed that there’s some weight to the theory. Set some out for guests to grab and tuck into their pockets or just pin a few around a tablecloth. May sound weird, but worth trying, right?