Summer offers plenty of opportunities for enjoying your cedar deck, but it can also mean dealing annoying pests. Moths, bees, and flies are always an irritating aspect of outdoor entertaining, and this year the Northwest has seen a bumper crop of mosquitoes. If you’re planning a late-summer shindig, here are a few easy steps to help reduce the number of insect intrusions:
Light some candles. Citronella and calendula candles are probably the most well-known mosquito, fly and gnat repellents, and for good reason. While these plant extracts smell good to most humans, to flying pests they’re the absolute worst.
Eat certain herbs and spices. Mint, garlic, chives, rosemary and lemongrass are great cooking herbs, but did you know they also help repel insects? Most flying pests avoid people who have been eating food containing them. They’re delicious and useful – who knew?
Plant flowers. Certain flowers, such as marigolds, emit a peppery smell that, while subtle to humans, is overwhelming and unpleasant for most flying insects. Marigolds are hardy and easy to take care of, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have a green thumb.
Keep a healthy garden. Insects such as wood-burrowing bark beetles can wreak havoc on your deck. One great way of discouraging them from chowing down on your cedar deck is to have healthy trees and plants nearby. Most healthy trees can sustain a mild infestation of bark beetles; most deck infestations happen because the beetle colony has run out of its natural food source.
Attract birds. Blackbirds, hummingbirds, starlings and orioles all feed on small insects, so inviting them into your garden is a great way to naturally reduce your flying pest population. Hang feeders and plant flowers, but be patient – it can take months for these birds to find your yard and move in.