Don’t let uninvited guests ruin your outdoor summer plans

(ARA) – Many people look forward to the start of summer because it brings the chance to host barbecues and enjoy time outdoors. Unfortunately, people aren’t the only ones looking forward to the season.

Warmer weather also means that flying and stinging pests are looking for places to breed and thrive, and backyards provide the habitat they need. When pests like bees and mosquitoes take over your yard, outdoor hosting and relaxing becomes much less attractive.

While pests can make enjoying your outdoor space uncomfortable, they can also spread diseases like the West Nile virus and cause allergic reactions. It’s important to take some preventative steps at the beginning of the season to make your yard a safer and more enjoyable place to be all season.

“A large part of minimizing biting and stinging pests in your backyard is knowing what attracts them in the first place,” says Ron Harrison, Ph.D., technical director for Orkin. “Reducing the things that attract pests can make your summer safer and more enjoyable.”

Harrison offers the following tips to help avoid flying and stinging pests:

* Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent on clothing and exposed skin to deter bites and stings.

* Pour out water collecting in items like flower pots, dog bowls and bird baths. Standing water provides the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, so scan your yard regularly for places where water could collect.

* Use a weed trimmer to thin vegetation near your home, as thick vegetation provides a place for both bees and mosquitoes to nest.

* Don’t leave food or drink containers uncovered for long periods of time. Pests are attracted to human food sources and stinging pests can often enter cans unseen.

* Fit screens and tighten seals properly on doors and windows to prevent pests from entering into your home.

* If you think you may be having an allergic reaction to a bite or a sting, consult a physician immediately.

* Call a licensed pest control technician to address nests or other issues that may be causing your pest problems.

Everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, so don’t let summer pests force you back indoors. For more information, instructional pest safety videos or to receive a free home inspection, visit