Depending on where your home is located, you’ve likely had more than a few run-in’s with area critters. From raccoons, possums, and squirrels to horse flies and mosquitoes, the last “guests” you want in your backyard kitchen are pests. When creating your dream outdoor kitchen design, it is a good idea to go ahead some of these prevention techniques to protect your kitchen from late night raiders and BBQ party crashers.
Chemicals and Traps
Poison? Nobody likes to think of it. But sometimes it may be necessary to use chemicals pest control to keep your food and prep areas safe. Consider laying ant and roach traps inside cabinets where you keep food or drinks. You may need to also consider a mouse trap if this seems to be a problem. Avoid using broad distribution chemicals near a pool or garden area. Fly tape is also an effective chemical-free solution that can be easily tucked behind columns and walls so that it’s not on display.
Carefully position a bug lantern away from the main gathering and eating areas, but close enough to attract and condemn bugs so they will not bother your guests or get into food.
Tiki Torches and Candles
These are actually attractive and also practical. Torches and candles provide lighting for your outdoor area, add a romantic ambiance, and also can keep pests away when scented with citronella or other natural oils used for pest control.
Colanders and Covers
Always have a few colanders or food nets available to protect buffet dishes from pests. You are outdoors after all- there will be flies and gnats no matter what precautions you take.
Mow the Lawn
Keeping your outdoor dining area clear of tall plants and grass can prevent a lot of bugs from setting up camp nearby. You can have attractive planters with some flowers and such, but be cautious about what types of plants you use so they do not attract too many bees or other insects. Catnip or rosemary can discourage many types of bugs from coming close.
Blow Them Away
Installing several fans around your outdoor kitchen and dining areas can produce just enough wind to keep flying pests from coming anywhere near your guests. You can use outdoor ceiling fans, portable fans, and even vent fans if you like.
Water-Filled Plastic Bags
Have you ever seen clear plastic bags of water hanging around a patio area at a local restaurant? While the science behind this method is debatable, there are many that swear by it, from ranchers to backyard grill masters. To give it a try, fill some clear plastic bags with water and hang them around your kitchen area. The light refraction is said to keep flies away.
Keep trash receptacles handy for everyone to use and empty the trash often. Also have environmentally safe cleaners around to take care of spills or to clean up the countertops and appliances after use. Make sure everything is sealed away and cleaned thoroughly so unwanted pests will have no interest in your outdoor kitchen areas.
Yes that’s right- some critters are so wily that only locks will keep them out. (Have you ever seen a raccoon pry cooler lids and trashcans open? We have!) Consider adding locks to your cabinet and fridge doors. Some of the child locks are very effective, yet low-profile so as not to detract from your kitchen’s design. When cleaning up at night, approach your outdoor kitchen like you would a camp site- make sure everything is locked up and secure and that food is stored in air-tight containers so as not to provide more temptation for night visitors.
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