Easter is a popular time for kids and families to be outdoors, hunting for Easter eggs, celebrating the beginning of springtime, and taking part in other Easter activities. The last thing you want to worry about on this holiday is your children accidentally disturbing a wasp nest and getting stung, getting bitten by the year’s first batch of mosquitoes, stepping on ant hills (a particular concern if they’re fire ants), and so on. In this article, we will explore some simple methods of Easter pest control in your backyard so that your Easter egg hunt can go as smoothly and problem-free as possible.
Protect the Sweets
Many insects, including wasps, ants, gnats, and hornets, are drawn to sweet, sugary things that provide them with quick, easy energy. When hiding candy for kids to hunt for, make sure to keep it in secure containers so that bugs won’t be able to detect the candy. In addition, make certain that candy and food wrappers are disposed of properly – either recycled if possible or thrown into a covered trash bin that pests can’t easily get into. If you’re having a cookout, ensure that any food scraps are similarly disposed of, or placed into a compost heap far enough away from the Easter festivities so as not to cause potential issue.
Though a little unorthodox, another thing you can do is strategically plant flowers and flowering plants/trees in areas to help draw potentially problematic pests away from the festivities and toward these areas instead, ideally toward the edge of your property or in areas that your family and guests don’t spend as much time around. Of course, you should also try to avoid hiding any Easter eggs in these areas. Alternatively, many insect species, including wasps, mosquitoes, and ants, don’t like the scent and compounds exuded by marigolds, so you can plant these in areas where you most want to help keep pests at bay. The toxins they release also help to both repel and kill nematodes, garden beetles, and various other pest species including, reportedly, mice and burrowing moles that can cause yard damage.
Some pests, like mosquitoes, gnats, and many fly species, are drawn to water and depend on it to lay eggs and respawn. With this in mind, you should make sure that your yard is well-drained. You can do this by using simple gardening tools to poke some holes every few feet or so into your lawn to encourage water drainage, and this will also encourage oxygen flow and thus improve both soil and plant health. If portions of your yard are at a lower slope, try to avoid these areas when conducting Easter festivities as they’re more likely to have standing water from spring snowmelt and rains and thus will have most insects.
Another popular pest control strategy is to utilize various insect deterrents. These include conventional sprays that you can spray onto yourself to keep some bugs, like mosquitos and ticks, away from you, as well as either store bought or homemade sprays you can spray around your yard or incorporate into a fogger for continuous release. If you would prefer to go the chemical-free route and steer clear of DEET and related potentially harmful compounds, you can also dilute mouthwash with water in spray bottle, create your own insecticide soap spray using Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 soap, dilute either white or apple cider vinegar with water, create homemade bug spray with various essential oils, or purchase insecticidal soap for plants and all of these can be sprayed on plants, your home, the deck, and so on to keep insects away from these areas. They also don’t hurt if they get on your skin, and can be used as personal bug sprays as well (just keep them out of your eyes, of course!). Another proposed method is to use beer, but we don’t actually recommend this as the yeast and natural sugars in beer are more likely to draw in insects rather than keep them at bay.
Other deterrents include using fans to increase airflow and thus hindering insect movement as many of them will avoid flying in areas with “wind.” Another method is building a small bonfire with just enough smoke to keep bugs at bay, as the smoke will disrupt their olfactory system and encourage them to avoid that area. Bug foggers are also useful.
Store Firewood Appropriately
If you have an outdoor collection of firewood, it can easily become a perfect home for mice, centipedes, ants, spiders, wasps, and even mosquitoes. You should have your firewood stacked neatly with a bit of space between each piece of wood to encourage airflow and drying, as damp wood is more desirable for many pests. Before stacking wood, make sure that it’s completely dry, and cover it with a tarp or store it in a covered structure of some sort to help protect it from rain and moisture. Don’t treat the firewood with artificial chemical-based pest repellent such as DEET, as these will persist in the wood and can cause personal harm to your lungs, eyes, and so on once the wood is burned in your home or even outside. Instead, try using some of the natural repellents mentioned above that are much less likely to have adverse impacts on you and your family.
Keep Your Yard Cleaned Up
Having debris like branches, built up leaves, grass clippings, and so on will draw in insects and rodents alike. Make sure you keep your yard picked up and properly dispose of organic waste by composting, mulching, or simply tossing them into the woods if you live in a wooded area. Do try to avoid burning leaves and grass clippings, as doing so releases carbon monoxide, ozone, and many other dangerous compounds that are quite harmful not only to you, but they also cause air pollution and are capable of traveling across the globe and penetrating into the atmosphere. It’s much better for you and the environment if you simply allow these things to break down naturally. If you don’t mulch or compost, you can simply mow over them, or mix them into your garden and/or around trees. In addition, keep other things like children’s toys, gardening tools, bags of potting soil, and so on properly picked up and stored away as all of these can hold water and further draw in spring and summer pests.