How to Prevent Unwanted Pests from Invading Your Backyard Barbecues this Summer

The National Pest Management Association is warning Americans about the threats pests pose to outdoor activities and how to prevent them from ruining backyard barbecues  

FAIRFAX, VA (July 27, 2023) – In the midst of summer, barbecues and outdoor gatherings are in full swing and unwanted pests are hoping to join in on the fun. An online survey from the National Recreation and Park Association reports having a picnic or barbecue is a favorite summertime outdoor activity in the U.S. To protect families during their summer celebrations, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is sharing tips to prevent encounters with pests like ants, ticks, mosquitoes and stinging insects.  

“Summer barbecues are supposed to be all about fun but mosquitoes and ticks are a couple of pests that are more than just a nuisance. These pests pose serious health concerns as they can spread pathogens that cause dangerous diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease,” said Jim Fredericks, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for NPMA. “Sugary food and drinks can also draw in ants, flies and stinging insects like wasps and hornets. You’ll want to watch out for stinging insects especially – these pests send more than half a million people to the emergency room each year.”  

To help prevent a pest invasion at your next barbecue, NPMA is sharing the following tips:  

  • Apply Insect Repellent: Most mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn, while other species are active all day, so if planning a barbecue, be sure to have plenty of insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET available for you and your guests.  
  • Utilize an Outdoor Fan: Consider setting up an outdoor fan on porches to help circulate the air when sitting outside to deter mosquitoes as they are not the strongest flyers.  
  • Drain Standing Water: Remember to dump any sitting water from kiddie pools, flowerpots, or birdbaths and to unclog gutters as mosquitoes only need about ½ inch of water to breed.    
  • Properly Maintain Your Yard: Pest hide out in overgrown bushes and weeds. Keep shrubbery trimmed and grass cut. 
  • Keep It Clean: Ants and flies are attracted to barbecue fare, so take steps to keep food safe and sanitary by using tightly sealed containers or coolers. Additionally, be sure to clean trash, crumbs and spills from picnic tables immediately.  
  • Don’t Encourage Stinging Insects: Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can be attracted to drinks and food. Keep food covered and pour canned drinks into a cup to avoid stings. Dispose of trash into tightly covered containers to avoid encouraging stinging pests. 
  • Patch It Up: Remember to repair holes or gaps in windows and door screens before your guests arrive to prevent stinging insects, ants and mosquitoes’ entry into the home.  

“If you suspect you may have a pest issue in or around your home, contact a pest control professional immediately. Don’t wait until the problem gets out of hand,” added Fredricks. “Enjoy your backyard barbecue without the presence of pests.” 

For more information about pest prevention, visit 


 About the National Pest Management Association 
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube and @PestWorldOfficial on Instagram