Outdoor Life

Controlling outdoor insect pests

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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solar bug zappers
Solar insect zappers from Hammacher Schlemmer
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How to control outdoor insects safely and easily.

Most people enjoy the chance to enjoy the outdoors as soon as the weather gets warm, but not if they are bothered by insects. Outdoor insects can ruin an outdoor picnic by flying into food or biting people. Insects are categorized as anything with six legs such as ants, beetles, mosquitoes and bees. Insect bites can be uncomfortable, causing itch and pain. At their worst, insect bites can be unhealthy and may spread diseases such as West Nile encephalitis and Malaria.


If you plan on going outside this summer, here are a few ways to control outdoor insect pests.


If your yard has mosquitoes or other flying insects, you can eradicate them with insect zappers.You can even find a bug zapper that runs on solar power. The new solar-powered bug zappers require a moderate amount of sun to keep its batteries charged for hours. Look for a zapper light that turns on automatically at dusk to attract and kill mosquitoes, flies and other insects using an electrical charge. Be sure it contains a cover that keeps children and pets safe.  

Citronella candles and torches are also effective in warding off mosquitoes and other outdoor pests. For serious infestations, commercial pesticide applications and fogging can help rid an outdoor area of pests. Professional pest removal is usually the best option for bee and wasp nests, to avoid dangerous swarming and multiple stings that can cause severe physical reactions.

There are also bug-repelling clothes such as hats and shirts with bug repellent built into the cloth. Most contain the added benefit of protecting from UV rays. Unexpected gifts such as these are most appreciated by the home gardener or someone who enjoys being outdoors.

The best solution to preventing outdoor insects is to prevent infestations from occurring in the first place according to Jonathan Hatch, author of How to Get Rid of Things. Try to prevent insects from hatching by avoiding standing water on your property. Leaving even a small amount of water out for an extended period of time breeds insects such as flies and mosquitoes. Dump out any standing water which is the perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. 

These eggs, or larvae, can produce hundreds of mosquitoes in a matter of only a few weeks. Dump any buckets, trash cans or wheel barrows that contain even puddles of water so that the mosquitoes and other insects do not have the chance to breed. Also make sure to keep your pool properly chlorinated. Mosquitoes are happy to lay their eggs in pools with inadequate levels of chlorine.


Another reason for controlling outdoor insect pests is to keep your plants and vegetables healthy. The insects most damaging to plants are sucking insects that latch on to the plant and suck out the plantís liquid. Some examples are caterpillars such as tomato horn worms and potato beetles. They spread diseases as they travel from plant to plant which may kill them. Evidence of infestation include a puckered leaf or a plant that is not developing as it should.

If you suspect something is living on your plant, check under the leaves and brush off any insects that may be lurking there. A simple solution of soap and water sprayed on your plants is another good way of keeping your plants bug-free while avoiding harsh chemicals. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of dish washing liquid. Spray this concoction on your plants once or twice a week. 

This method is especially suited to vegetable plants and fruit trees because it keeps chemicals off of the food source. It is much easier to wash off soap than it is to remove a toxic chemical from your fruit or vegetable. Insecticidal soaps are readily available in most home and garden centers.

Controlling outdoor insect pests is essential if you want to enjoy outdoor living. By using repellents such as solar bug zappers or insect repellent clothing you can keep insects from spreading disease and discomfort by biting or stinging you. To prevent disease or damage to your plants, fruits and vegetables, insecticidal soap or simple examination of your plants for insects will keep them healthy and hearty.

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