How to Host a Pest-Free Outdoor Party

The summer is the perfect time to entertain outdoors, but nothing ruins a good time faster than pesky unwanted guests—of the flying sort. When hosting a party, picnic or outdoor barbecue, you want your guests to enjoy themselves without being bitten or stung. However, you also don’t want to ruin the visual appeal of the beautiful food and drink displays that you worked so hard to create.

Try these easy, natural ways to keep bugs away during your next outdoor party.


  • Mosquitoes dislike the aroma of lavender, try to grow some in your garden or use some fresh cut flowers in your party décor.
  • The scent of essential oils like tea tree, lavender, or peppermint are natural ways to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Just put a few drops on ribbon or fabric and hang around seating and eating areas, you can even incorporate them into your décor.
  • When grilling, add a few stalks of rosemary, the scent will help to ward off mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all standing water, even tiny amounts will attract the little blood suckers.
  • Mosquitoes are generally weak flyers so if there is a breeze that’s great! If not consider putting a few fans around seating areas to help keep them at bay.
  • Citronella is also an effective repellant, however the area it covers from a candle is rather small, so be wise in strategically planning your use of candles and torches.

Bees + Wasps

  • The most effective way to keep bees and wasps out of your food is to cover the dishes with plastic or wire mesh baskets.
  • Be smart when selecting your location for food and beverages, stay away from your garden and large flowering trees.
  • Place dryer sheets around the edges of your serving dishes and on food tables to repel bees.
  • Try putting clove around the food, the scent is thought to repel bees and wasps.
  • These insects are territorial and will stay away from neighboring hives, so create your own fake nest by blowing up a brown bag and tying it off, then hang it in the trees.
  • If repelling the bees and wasps doesn’t seem to be working, redirect their attention by mixing a sugary drink and leaving it open well away from your guests and food.


  • Fill glasses about 1/3 to ½ full of water and add 4-5 pennies, this may sound odd but it is affordable and you can dress it up by using pretty glasses, so why not give it a try.
  • The smell of moth balls is a natural repellant for flies and other flying insects so hang a few (out of view) around the perimeter of your seating and eating areas.
  • Planting or putting out fresh mint or basil leaves will help to ward off flying insects (and the basil is also a good natural mosquito repellant).
  • Be smart and put your garbage cans away from areas that guests will frequent.
  • Clean up grease immediately after cooking (this will also keep ants away).

With a little planning and ingenuity, you can entertain all summer long, free from pesky insects. The only things guests will remember will be your excellent hosting skills, beautiful décor and delicious food!

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