How To Have A Pest-Free Summer Barbecue

The following provides 5 key summer pests to watch out for when grilling outdoors along with 9 simple actions you can take to have a pest-free barbecue throughout the warmer Pittsburgh months — the most important of which (obviously) is to call us, your local, trusted, tried and true pest control company for regular, ongoing pest management! (412) 252-5200

While no one can say for sure, it is believed that the word, barbecue, derives from the French, and is a combination of barbe à queue, which means from beard to tail, and refers to the roasting of an entire pig.

But whatever the meat and whatever the origin, barbecues are delightful summer happenings where friends and family gather for a meal al fresco, but too often are accompanied by unwanted and unpleasant guests frequently armed with stingers. 

While the clash between humans and unwanted insects may be inevitable to a certain degree, a little care, thought and advice can go a long way in reducing the number of close encounters of the creepy crawly and flying critter kind.

Pittsburgh Summer Pest Control Tips

The Summer Pests That Love Barbecues

Summer can be a glorious time that is often sweetened by family get togethers and delicious foods prepared on a smoking grill.

Understanding what attracts these unpleasant progeny of Mother Nature’s strange design is the first step in knowing how to prevent them from ruining the day and stinging friends, relatives and pets.

The most prominent pests found at Pittsburgh barbecues are: mosquitos; hornets; ticks, flies and ants. More on each follows below.


Mosquitos sense human breath and hover towards it, especially as the sun is about to set for the day. They do not, however like the aroma of charcoal grills and you can repel them by placing a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on the grill. The smoke it creates deters them from venturing too close.

Mosquito Control Services For Pittsburgh Residences


Hornets are attracted to sodas and beers left out and can cause a painful sting. They do not however like the acid quality that is found in cucumber. Place a few slices around the barbecue area.

Pittsburgh Hornet Stinging Insect Control


Ticks don’t usually come to mind as picnic pests but they spread disease and are a risk to children and pets playing in the yard. Most tick species are potential vectors of serious diseases, some of which can last a lifetime.

They are likely barbecue invaders if nearby landscape is overrun and unattended.

Check For And Remove Ticks

If found on a Pittsburgh property, any home owner should consider a visit from our pest control experts to monitor the situation with regular, ongoing cost-effective solutions.


These insects have ruined many a barbecue and they cannot resist the smell of food cooking on a grill. They can be repelled by a citronella candle that bears an intensely lemon scent, which they hate.

House Flies Food Contamination


Grilling on the deck often attracts carpenter ants. Although they love to bore into wood, their true appetites lie in sweet foods and meats.

These insects are very quick to pick up the scent of food, especially sweet stuff such as punch and plates of pies and other goodies.

Odorous House Ants Pittsburgh

Always keep food sealed in containers and transfer sweet beverages into closed containers. If food is left unattended on a table, ants have been known to invade in great numbers and ruin many a barbecue.

9 Tips To Help Keep Pests Away From Your BBQ

Strategically Select The Barbecue Area 

The designated space should be relatively pest-free and landscaped. Mowing nearby grass, trimming edges and eliminating weeds and overgrown thickets will reduce the number of insects drawn to the festivities.

Always Keep Your Grill Clean

One unfortunate rule of barbecue thumb is that if the grill is dirty, pests, particularly wasps, will surround it when it is in use because they are attracted to the smells of meat or rotting food.

Keeping the grill clean also matters because it makes it safer to use. Bacteria can form on it and the flavor of old meals does not enhance new meat.

Aim To Wear Insect Repellent

This will help especially with regard to mosquitoes, as they can really be problematic for evening barbecues.

Make sure that the insect repellent covers your body well so you can avoid any harmful bites. You should also supply enough repellent to go around for all barbecue guests.

Place Your Grill In A Sunny Location 

This is a smart move because the added direct heat from the sun deters bugs from gathering in the area. Never place a grill near a tree or tall grass. This will not only attract bugs, but it it also may create a serious fire hazard.

Remove Any Stagnant Water

Backyards containing a buildup of stagnant water are like placing a welcome mat out to mosquitoes. Home owners should drain bird baths and small pools that aren’t ventilated.

Early Afternoon Is The Best Time For A Barbecue

Barbecues should be held during the early afternoon for the simple reason that mosquitos and other bugs are more commonly encountered in the early morning or evening hours.

If later in the day is more convenient, Pittsburgh home owners should provide bug lamps or torches to help keep insect pests at bay.

Serve Your BBQ Food Indoors

By serving the food indoors and then going outside to eat, insects may linger but they will not be as as attracted to the area as they would be if all the food preparation and serving are done outside.

They also will not have the chance to creep into food if it isn’t sitting outdoors. 

Eliminate Trash As Soon As Possible

All trash should be thrown away immediately and never left to build up. Every trash can should be positioned indoors or on the perimeter of a yard.  

If it can’t be immediately thrown away, then cover it securely until you can. This is is often not done because most people don’t think about covering something that no one is about to eat, but it is important.

When food is in the trash it is even more attractive to pests as it begins to rot.

Hire Professional Help To Protect Your Pittsburgh Yard

This is perhaps the most important tip of all. The services we offer are the most cost-effective found anywhere, and they will ensure that your yard and home are protected against most pests.

Their treatments, are eco friendly and will make outdoor family gatherings at this glorious time year much more enjoyable. 

Give our teams at Pestco a call today; for a pest-free barbecue tomorrow! Happy summer!


Photo Credits: Pixabay and Pestco

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