Updated on 06/28/24

Large round fan running to reduce insects and pests
 The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Planning some house parties this summer? As you compile your guest list, give some thought to those who will not be welcome—notably mosquitos, ants, wasps, and other nasty pests. 

If the mere mention of mosquitoes makes you itchy and the thought of raccoons rummaging through your post-barbecue garbage makes you cringe, keep reading.

We have effective hacks (straight from pest control experts) to remind those critters it’s your party they’re crashing. Nasty buzzers will always attempt to go where they’re not invited. Here are some easy ways to bounce them from your gathering.


  • David Price is the director of technical services and associate certified entomologist at Mosquito Joe,
  • Meg Pearson is the training manager at Critter Control.

Make Insects Thirsty

Keep the cool beverages flowing for your guests, but shut down hydration for your mosquitoes.

“The most impactful thing that can be done is removing water collection where mosquitoes can breed,” David Price of Mosquito Joe tells us.

Don’t let insect prevention stop you from watering your lawn and garden, though. Price recommends timing watering and sprinkler systems to give plants and grass just enough to drink to stay healthy while ensuring the water can be fully absorbed into the soil. 

If you can’t remove a water collection, Price recommends purchasing Mosquito Dunks at your local hardware or home improvement store. These little floating, doughnut-shaped tablets contain a soil bacterium that destroys mosquito larvae.

Become a “Fan” of Mosquitoes

The Home Decorators Collection 25'' Heritage Point Integrated LED Indoor/Outdoor Natural Iron Ceiling Fan after installation
 The Spruce / Patrick McGowan

Despite all their buzzing about, mosquitoes aren’t actually the most agile insects, says Price. Use that to your advantage by pointing a fan in their direction.

“Utilizing a fan is very effective as mosquitoes are not very good fliers and avoid the moving air,” he explains. Bonus: You’ll circulate the air, and that makes your guests feel more comfortable.

Use Essential Oils to Repel Insects

Brown spray bottle shaked with essential oils, water and alcohol mixture
 The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

More than just aromatherapy for your self-care session, essential oils can repel insects. Rather than relying on just one type of oil, Price recommends trying different combos of oils to get rid of not only mosquitoes but other annoying insects.

Try these concoctions: coconut oil and peppermint, rosemary oil and apple cider vinegar, and eucalyptus oil and witch hazel.

Want to experiment with what’s best for your nose? Price says you can mix two or three of the ingredients on this list with some water to keep insects away:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon
  • Thyme
  • Tea tree
  • Rosemary 
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Cedarwood
  • Citronella

Citronella makes the list, but don’t run out to your local home improvement store and buy a slew of candles on sale.

“I haven’t found citronella candles to be very effective, as they typically have a low amount of citronella oil to repel,” he explains.

Insects are not the only pests you might be dealing with. Here’s how to deal with other common party poopers.

Tidy Your Garden to Keep Away Predators

If you need another push to keep weeds and overgrowth at bay, know that a well-kept garden is a good defense against pests and predators.

Now, garter snakes are actually helpful in that they’ll eat other pests and predators in your garden, but if all snakes are a nightmare for you, tidy up that garden.

“Snakes look for places to hide so keeping all grass mowed, shrubs trimmed, and brush picked up will help keep homeowners safe,” Meg Pearson of Critter Control says.


She adds that you should always be mindful when reaching into shrubs, bushes, and plants while gardening in case any pests are lurking in there.

Entice Birds Elsewhere

A bird house hanging from a tree
 Randy Amor / Getty Images

Birdwatching is super relaxing, but dealing with a nest where you don’t want one is the exact opposite.

“The best advice on diverting birds is to make the property not desirable,” Pearson says. Installing deterrents like wind chimes or reflective tape in areas conducive to nesting—think covered porches and ledges—can help.

You might even consider installing birdhouses in parts of your yard where you don’t mind having birds in the hopes that they move in. Whatever you do, don’t keep bird feeders close to your house.

“Bird feeders not only attract birds but also mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and other wildlife that could become a nuisance,” Pearson says. 

Seal Cracks to Keep Out Bats

Interior crack near window being sealed with caulk gun
 The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

If bats find any shelter in your house during mating season—right smack during spring and summer—they’ll stay there until their pups are ready to fly. 

“The best way to prevent bats from getting in your home in the first place is to make sure all accessible areas of the home are closed off,” Pearson says. “Bats enter very small spaces, so a proper inspection and exclusion of any potential entry points will prevent bats from roosting in your attic.”

She adds that annual inspections are important to ensure that your home hasn’t sustained any damage that would create entry points for future bat sightings. 

Secure Your Trash to Cut Off a Raccoon Buffet

person maintaining a compost bin
 The Spruce / Cori Sears  

It’s one thing to clean up after a backyard meal or party, but it’s another to ensure that the garbage collected stays in the bags and cans you’ve put it in.

To keep raccoons, mice, and other rodents and insects far away from your “leftovers,” Pearson says the best strategy is to remove the garbage from your property. But if it’s not yet the day for garbage removal on your block, keep the trash cans in a secure area that animals can’t access until then. 

Make sure those lids are on tight, too. “The odor of food draws in animals, so keeping garbage sealed in tight containers is also recommended,” Pearson says.