Bug Control for Your Deck, Patio or Pergola


Termite droppings photo by Sanjay Acharya


The summer months bring with them a host of unwanted insects and bugs that can ruin the fun you have on your deck, patio or pergola. These creepy crawlers sting, bite, terrify or just plain annoy people. Here are some tips to keep them away.

Don’t Make Them Feel Welcome

Insects and bugs thrive on the mess we leave untended so it’s a good idea to always keep your surroundings squeaky-clean. If you don’t then you might as well put up a welcome sign for all the bugs and crawlers your messy surrounding attracts.

  • Say “no” to stagnant water. Stagnant water is where mosquitoes breed. Look around your property and find out where water tends to collect then find ways to remove what’s there and prevent water from collecting in these places in the future. If you cannot remove the water, or the water needs to be there, you can install a small pump to agitate the water’s surface and make it unattractive to insects, or cover the area altogether with window screen to keep mosquitoes from getting to the water and doing their thing.
  • Move trash bins away. Recyclable waste attracts flies and ants. Move the garbage bin for your recyclables as far away as possible from your home and from the patio. Also check and make sure that the lid fits snugly to keep bugs out.
  • Make food fleeting. Most of your patio or deck activities will centre around food. Bring food out to the deck or pergola as close to serving time as possible, and keep it covered at all times. Clean up right after the meal so that spilled food and leftovers do not attract insects
  • Night light redux. The bright, shiny lamps you light up on your patio on summer nights calls out to all the bugs in the area. Try switching to spot lights; you can position these farther away from the deck than usual and aim toward the spots you want illuminated. Insects will still be attracted, but now the lights are far from where people are, which probably makes it less annoying for you and your visitors. You can also try yellow lights. Insects are attracted to lights in the colder end of the spectrum — blues and violets. But they do not see very well in the other end of the spectrum — warm yellows and reds.

Go Natural

Some plants naturally repel insects. Lemon Thyme, Catnip, Marigold, Lavender, Rosemary, Marigolds, Basil, Garlic, Oregano, Wormwood and mints are good to have in your deck container garden or around the extension. If it’s not possible to have the actual plants, you can also use products that use the extracts from these plants.

Spray Away

So far we’ve presented preventive measures. But when the bugs are already crawling or buzzing around you then you need to resort to the ultimate bug control weapon — bug spray!

There are a wide variety of commercial sprays you can buy from stores. If you prefer natural and organic products you can probably get these from local shops. Why not concoct your own bug spray mix? You can easily whip up a batch using nothing more than water and some lemon essence, peppermint oil or citronella oil.

Blinds and Screens

Drop down blinds and screens are natural, affordable and very effective.  Blinds and screens keep insects out of your deck, patio or pergola by providing a physical barrier through which insects cannot pass through. But the good thing is they still allow you to enjoy the sun, the breeze and the view. When you no longer need them, blinds and screens may be folded up and retracted.


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