Improvements can be made to patios for the summer months that will allow for a more enjoyable, bug free time outdoors. All too often, summer pests such as mosquitoes, flies and gnats chase people indoors. The problem can be addressed inexpensively from several angles. Reclaim your patio from the pests and enjoy your summer relaxing outdoors.
Things You Will Need
Repair Items according to your specific issue
Fish Tank or other small gravel
Citronella candles or tiki torches.
Repair any damage to your patio and cracks along the foundation. Not only do insects hide in them, they will lay eggs there.
If the patio is made from paving stones, be sure to replace the sand between them on a regular basis. If sand is not used, consider planting creeping rosemary between the paving stones. Rosemary repels many pests and the creeping variety does not grow to be more than 6 inches high and will fill in quickly.
If you have a raised, wooden deck, consider planting chervil underneath it. Chervil loves shade and many pests don't like it at all.
Get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes don't need very much water to lay their eggs in. For example, many planters have a dish under them that will accumulate enough water for the pests to lay eggs in. There are many small spots that are overlooked because they don't accumulate a lot of water. Level out any spots in the patio pavement that may accumulate water. Ashtrays, decorative bowls, candle holders and lawn ornaments are all examples of often overlooked culprits.
Even if you don't consider yourself to have a green thumb, or aren't very fond of plants, use them around your patio area. There are a large number of plants that repel a variety of bugs. Marigold, geraniums, lavender, rosemary, basil and mint are just a few. There are also "mosquito" plants readily available on the market. Tansy is especially helpful in fending off flies but self sows so is better grown in containers. It is toxic to animals so should be used with care. If not planted directly in ground, most of these plants can be kept in planters and strategically placed throughout the seating area.
Cover the top of soil in planters with at least an inch of very small gravel or sand. This will prevent a number of pests, such as gnats, from burrowing into the soil to hide or lay eggs. Fish gravel works very well and can even add a little more color to beautify the patio for more summertime enjoyment.
Get rid of the ugly bug lights and zappers. Place citronella candles and tiki torches around to provide for lighting and pest control. Citronella oils and candles now come in a variety of colors and some even have added scents. One such find is a citronella candle that is also scented with rosemary essential oils. Both scents repel bugs. Make sure to follow fire safety guidelines when using candles and torches on the patio and near the home.
Consider adding a goldfish or two to patio water features if size allows. Even if there is water movement, it may not be enough to prevent some pests from laying eggs. You can also turn the water off when not relaxing on the patio so bugs will land on the water so the goldfish can eat. If you do add goldfish, make sure the water feature is in a spot where the water will not get too hot for them.