Beat the bugs at your barbecue this summer
With the summer now upon us that can only mean only two things for us Brits, lots of rain and as many barbecues as we can squeeze in during those rare hot days. The problem with this fantastic combination are the uninvited guests!
Sources indicate that up to half a million people visit the local hospital each year with insect related ailments so we think it’s wise to be ready and prepared for when your guests arrive so as to make the party run as smooth as possible without any nasty little mishaps.
Things to consider:
Before the party starts ensure that the lawn is freshly mowed and that bushes are neatly trimmed as these can be a haven for all those creepy crawlies.
- Ensure your barbecue is nice and clean before any party. Not only for cleanliness but insects and spiders have a tendency to hide in those hard to reach areas and especially if you have a gas barbecue as the odour released from the gas smells like rotten eggs.
- Keep all food and drinks covered in suitable containers at all times for the duration of the party, flies and bugs carry an array of germs that you will not want contaminating the food.
- Keep rubbish away from the vicinity of your guests and food and have a facility available to remove waste whenever the need arises. Flies and wasps are particularly attracted to rubbish and this can ruin everyone’s evening.
- Well, you can employ a few ‘herbal bouncers’ for a start. When shopping for the buns, beef and veg for your barbecue, grab a few sprigs of rosemary, lavender, sage and basil at the same time. That’s because insects, and especially flies, hate the scent of these burning herbs (put some of the side of the burning barbecue) and see them as akin to your lighting citronella candles. However you don’t have to burn them to get a reaction. Just laying them in sachets and dotting them around tables will have a similar effect.
- The best way to ensure you’re not overrun by nature though is to make sure you light up your barbecue as far away as possible from long grasses, perfumed flowers, stagnant pools of water (including bird baths and children’s paddling pools) and animal waste.
- For those who prefer chemical deterrents you should really use these around a week prior to when you plan to hold your barbecue. Just spray them in the grass and bushes and let them do the work while you plan for the big night.
- You could also bring along some insect repellent especially for your guests to spray themselves with at the event. Just make sure you don’t leave these anywhere near the barbecue or food though as you don’t want the wind spraying chemicals onto the burgers and ruining their taste!
- An easy – and tasty – way to ensure an insect-free party is to use lots of garlic in your cooking. If all else fails you could resort to electronic means. Inaudible insect repellents emit a high-pitched noise they can’t stand – luckily the frequency is so high your guests won’t be able to hear it!
- If it’s bees that are causing your guests to shudder in protest then it’s a good idea to try and distract them from the barbecue food by luring them away with some honey or jam in a jar placed several feet or more away from your guests.
- Try to serve food indoors where possible, and keep the outdoors for the guests, the entertainment and of course consuming the food.
- Citronella candles are an extremely popular repellent, especially for mosquito’s and annoying midges – these situated safely around the perimeter of the cooking area will give added protection and will also give an added ambience, particularly in the evening.
- Keep a fan close to the cooking area. A few years ago the heat was tremendous from the sun (a rarity I know) and a fan was promptly installed to ward off any insects that may have had the wrong idea about approaching our food.
Before we leave you to get on with your planning we’d recommend having a look at our gas barbecues. They offer convenience while in use and also provide a handy shelf for standing your Citronella candles.