5 tricks to keep outdoor dining happily bug-free

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Whether you’re visiting one of the many new restaurants with open-air patios in Oak Cliff, or just hosting a backyard barbecue, you’ve probably been visited by a variety bugs that seem to abound in our humid sub-tropical environment. Here’s a list of tricks to help keep the bugs at bay:

1. I learned this first tip while dining outside at a Tex-Mex place and noticed that several bags of water were hanging from strings in the trees around the restaurant. The bags of water, I was told by a server, help keep flies away from diners. I don’t know how it works, but I must say that I’ve never seen a fly grace their patio since.

2. Fruit flies can also be fairly pesky as the temperatures climb up. The sugar on a sticky bar attracts these guys like a moth to a flame, and can be a signal that the bartender may need to do a better job cleaning. If you’re plagued by fruit flies at home try this trick: put some red wine (or apple cider vinegar) in a wine glass and seal some plastic wrap tightly on the top. Poke a few small holes in the top: the aroma from the wine attracts the fruit flies, but they aren’t able to get out so they drown in the wine. You’ll know it’s working when you have a smelly glass of wine with fruit flies floating in it. Yummy.

3. I saw this trick once at another restaurant patio: if yellowjackets are pestering you while you dine, place some fragranced dryer sheets near you. Something about them repels yellowjackets, and as a bonus you have a little aromatic ambiance.

4. If the big daddy of creepy crawlies, the cockroach, has invited his buddies to your barbecue, there are a couple things to try before calling the exterminator. Birds eat roaches, so get some feeders to attract birds to the yard for some natural pest control. Move around any piles of wood or debri in the yard from time to time to disrupt possible breeding areas.

5. Though it pains me to say this, the all-natural mosquito repellents don’t work, and they smell awful. Not the bracelets, not any of them. Use DEET to avoid West Nile, or skip all of the bug-fuss and move the patio dining indoors.


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