Bug off: How to keep your 4th of July party pest-free


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As Americans, there’s nothing we like more than celebrating Independence Day with a big barbecue. Burgers on the grill, potato salad and lemonade round out the perfect patriotic celebration.

But one major challenge can be the “Battle of the Bugs.” No, I’m not talking about Will Smith’s latest summer holiday blockbuster. I’m talking about pesky flies, mosquitoes and gnats that can ruin an otherwise awesome cookout. Here are a few ways to combat these annoying little critters.


Prepare your yard ahead of time.

Terminix recommends mowing the lawn, trimming shrubs and removing any standing water to keep the bugs at bay.


Light the area strategically.

Use yellow lights in outdoor lighting fixtures, and add citronella candles in places where guests are likely to sit or congregate. Many home improvement stores also sell lanterns, such as those made by Thermacell, that detract mosquitoes.


Cover your food.

While foil and plastic wrap surely work, uncovering and recovering food can be a bit of a pain with these products. Try a food tent, instead, to help keep the bugs out while making access to your yummy offerings easier. Food tents come in a variety of sizes.


Protect yourself, head to toe.

Larger tents that still allow you to enjoy the outdoors can be helpful if it’s an especially buggy season. There are versions that stand up like a pop-up tent and others that drape over your patio table’s umbrella.


Throw out your garbage

Make sure to immediately dispose of soda cans or cups with sugary lemonade, as bugs are especially attracted to sweet liquids. One clever way to protect your guests’ beverages? Babble.com suggests serving them in mason jars or other containers, and covering them with decorative cupcake liners with a straw.