Summer Barbecues: A Favorite Event for Everyone - Including Pests

Although summer barbecues are as popular as ever, these outdoor events frequently find unwanted guests in attendance - summer pests. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns homeowners that these "nuisance" pests can in fact pose serious threats to the health of your guests.

The May 2009 issue of Fast Company examined the popularity of summer barbecues in the United States, finding:

  • More than 74 million American barbecued in 2007-2008.
  • 74% of Americans will host a barbecue to celebrate the upcoming Labor Day holiday.
  • In the summer alone,the average American grill owner spends 4.4 hours barbecuing each week.

"So often, homeowners forget that moving festivities with food and drink outdoors can bring pests to the party," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. " Ants, yellowjackets and mosquitoes are all attracted to the sweets of barbecue, and subsequently to those enjoying such fare. These pests should never be allowed to join the festivities as ants can contaminate food, stinging insects send more than half million people to the emergency room each year and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus."

NPMA offers these tips to help homeowners keep summer pests from disrupting outdoor summer festivities:

  • Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
  • Keep food sealed in containers whenever possible, and wipe tabletops frequently.
  • Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.
  • Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
  • Remove or drain sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, wading pools or garden ponds.
  • Ensure all doors and windows in your home have mesh screens that are in good condition.

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