Rid yourself of pesky porch pests once and for all.

By Tamara Gane
May 19, 2021
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The sun is out, your summer wine is poured, and you're ready to head to the porch. There's just one problem: pests. It's pretty hard to relax when you've got bugs crawling around your outdoor furniture. Mosquitoes, wasps, ants, cockroaches, spiders, and more can put a real damper on your porch party. To help you enjoy porch season, we turned to the experts. It turns out there are some pretty simple things you can to fix your pest problem. Here's what you need to know.

Blue and White Porch off Marsh
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins

Inspect Your Plants

Your planters may be providing a home for more than just plants. According to Scot Hodges with Arrow Exterminators in Atlanta, Georgia, your potted plants and flowers may also be offering a little ecosystem for insects and pests. "Try to limit the number of plants and flowers that are kept on your porch and don't over-water your potted plants," he says. "For the plants you do keep on your patio, make sure they are not too close to your front door. That way, any pests living in the plants won't be tempted to make their way inside your home."

Eliminate Standing Water

John Bell, staff entomologist with TruGreen in Orlando, Florida, warns that stagnant water left to pool for weeks at a time in a trash can lid, an old tire, or even an unused frisbee can be a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. "Mosquitoes only need a water source to be undisturbed for a couple of weeks to go from an egg to a nasty biting adult. Standing water in garden features, such as a birdbath, should be emptied or changed out frequently to prevent your yard from becoming a breeding ground."

Buy Citronella Candles

If you're looking for mosquito relief, consider some citronella candles. However, don't expect these flames to keep spiders and ants at bay, warns Bell. "A citronella candle's success is dependent upon proximity to the person to be protected, the amount used (the more the merrier), and type of insect you want to controll."

Switch to LED Lights

Hodges says that lighting makes a difference too. "Most people know that lights attract flying insects–the more light, the more insects. However, studies have shown that LED lights attract significantly fewer insects. LED lights generate less heat, which makes them harder for insects that are attracted to heat sources to find." Consider switching the lighting on your porch to LED lights. This includes decorative lighting like cafe lights. He recommends turning off the lights before you go to bed at night and warns that you shouldn't put UV light traps on your porch either. They may end up attracting more insects.

Contain Food By Grills and Garbage Cans

"In general, food attracts pests, so reducing the amount of time that foods are set out in the open can limit hungry pests from joining you on the porch," advises Hodges. "Flies feed on organic matter, and they're very good at finding these food sources. When you are grilling out, make sure to keep your raw meats indoors until ready to put on the grill." For this reason, he also suggests storing your garbage can away from your porch.

Examine Wooden Decks and Porches

Hodges says that if you have a wooden porch or deck it's important to inspect it periodically since wood can attract carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Wasps also love to build nests there. "Keep your structure sealed or painted to make the wood less attractive for nesting bees," he says. Repair or remove any decaying wood on your porch or deck and check around furniture for nests. "Decaying wood is an ideal nesting material for carpenter ants and other pests attracted to moisture. Plus, wasps build nests under eaves, in grills, under outdoor furniture, and under deck boards, so inspecting these areas before use is a great way to avoid being inadvertently stung."

Schedule a Pest Control Appointment 

If you've tried all of the above and pests are still pestering you on the porch, it may be time to call a professional. Bell says that if mosquitoes are a problem, asking a professional to treat your landscape could provide relief. Hodges also warns that you should never try to remove large bee or wasp nests on your own. If you see tunnels or holes in your wood caused by termites or other insects and have persistent issues with pests within your home, you should call in a professional as well.