Bite back for bug-free dining

BLOOD THIRSTY: Unwanted guests regularly gate crash the best planned parties CAPTION: Shutterstock

THE barbeque is lit, drinks are chilled, the garden table is laid, and the guests have been invited.
But there is one thing that is difficult to organise and is sure to put a blight on a wonderful summer evening with family and friends….the pesky mosquito!
From the annoying buzz and the fearsome attack to the itchy hell after the bite, the unwanted guests are irritating and health-threatening.
And unfortunately, they’re drawn to gatherings of people.
But there are ways to keep that horde of bloodthirsty mosquitoes at bay by trying a few tips for a bite-free outdoor party.
Fans strategically placed on your patio or deck can blow the bugs away as mosquitoes are apparently pretty weak fliers. This tip has the added advantage of keeping guests cooler, too, but be sure to adjust the fan speed to a rate that shoos off mosquitoes without tablecloths and hair being blown all over the place.
Citronella is a tried and tested mosquito repellent and by making your own, you can save money and add a couple of extra scents if the uncut citronella smell is too overpowering.
There are lots of websites explaining how to create your own at home.
Apparently the fragrance of basil also wards off mosquitoes. To get the benefit all season long, consider planting containers or even a whole patch of basil near your outdoor entertaining area.
It’s an idea to keep water features far from the fun. The gurgling water fountain or designer bird bath might set the tone for a summer get-together, but could also be responsible for attracting mosquitoes. They also breed in standing water and don’t like to travel too far or food, so keep avoid entertaining near ponds or bird baths.
It’s worth checking your garden for pockets of rainwater too, which could be a culprit, and flush water regularly to outsmart them.
Finally, try burning ground coffee beans. Light a small plate of used grounds so they smoulder. The scent is pleasant enough and will hopefully keep bugs, including mosquitoes, out of range of party guests.

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