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Summer is when you enjoy your deck the most! But you don’t like the bugs buzzing around it because they might be unwanted guests at your back porch party.

How do you keep bugs away from your deck?

Take a look at our comprehensive guide for keeping pests away from your slice of back porch heaven.

We recommend cleaning your deck every day if you plan on using it regularly throughout the summer


Spilled grease, bits of meat, ketchup drips, and leftover potato salad droppings on your deck will attract ants faster than you can say “backyard barbecue.”

Wipe up any stuck-on foods and sweep away any crumbs from hamburger or hot dog buns. Otherwise, you might find yourself with a pest problem the following morning.

Bugs are attracted to your backyard barbecue because they can smell the food. But they can also smell you.

Citronella candles have a citrusy yet pungent scent to them as they burn. This aroma works to drive off flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects by overpowering their olfactory senses. In doing so, they can’t smell your sweat, perfume, or deodorant. Nor can they smell your delicious barbecue, potato salad, and fruit salad.

Consider placing a few citronella candles around the perimeter of your deck for decent coverage. 

While some experts believe citronella doesn’t work very well to repel mosquitoes, another alternative is to try lemon eucalyptus, a natural insect repellent. 

A concentration of 30 percent eucalyptus oil usually keeps mosquitoes at bay for up to two hours at a time.  Consider lavender oil, too.

Spray your deck with these essential oils by mixing them with water and then dispersing them in a spray bottle.

Yes, several herbs and flowers planted near your deck can ward off insects.

Garlic contains a natural bug repellent, allicin, that it produces when the plant becomes injured. The powerful scent overwhelms any bugs that bite into the garlic. 

Rosemary has a woody scent, and this herb can keep pests from getting to your deck.

Look for herbs and flowers with a strong aroma. Chives, lemongrass, and marigolds are excellent natural ways to repel insects. Marigolds are fantastic container plants if you want to grow them on wooden containers along the handrail of your deck. Verbena also has a strong scent and beautiful flowers.

Citronella plants also represent a great way to keep insects away. Look for Ceylon or Java citronella grass. It contains 14% – 22% citronella, more than other citronella plants. This plant is related to lemongrass.  

Anything in the mint family makes a great natural bug repellent due to the scents given off from their leaves. Spearmint, which grows very fast, peppermint, basil, sage, catnip, and lemon balm (which contains citronella) are fantastic ways to deter insects.

The best part about these plants is that they will beautify your yard and deck while keeping insects at bay. Garlic, mint, rosemary, and lavender are edible.

Yes, you can. Consider replacing the white bulbs (even if they are LEDs) with yellow ones.

Yes, bug lights can keep bugs away. Zappers use low levels of light to attract bugs that get too close. When the mosquitoes fly within a certain perimeter, an electric charge zaps the bugs and kills them.

Yes, you’ll hear the zapping sound every once in a while. But you’ll have a bug-free zone on your deck.

Every time you go out on your deck, check for pests. Look for ants crawling in between boards. If you see them, consider getting ant baits that will have a thick liquid inside of them. When ants get this liquid in their system, they take it back to the rest of the ants in the hive. It will kill them all eventually.

  1. Mouthwash. Mint-flavored mouthwash works really well to repel bugs. Pour some into a spray bottle, and then spray a thin layer around your entire deck ahead of hosting an outdoor party.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water. Spray around the perimeter of your deck and on the surface. Don’t spray this mixture around food.
  3. A deck fan. Having a fan blowing lightly in the breeze can keep flying insects away because they find it hard to control their flight with a wind blowing at them. 
  4. Clean your gutters. Debris in your gutters attracts bugs, so it’s really important to keep leaves, branches, and debris out of your gutters. The debris also keeps water in your gutters, which makes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies, ants, earwigs, and other insects that will make it harder to get rid of them later on.
  5. Mow your yard regularly. Tall grass is a wonderful place for bugs to live, and keeping your yard mowed to a few inches tall provides a great way to keep insects off your deck. 
  6. Trim back those trees and bushes. Are there any tree branches that hang over your deck? Trim them back at least three feet away from your house to keep bugs from crawling onto your house and making their way to your deck.
  7. Watch out for termites. Although some types of wood keep termites at bay, look out for these wood-boring insects. Look for holes in the wood and the trails that termites leave behind. Then contact a termite exterminator as soon as possible. You don’t want these guys munching on your deck.
  8. Remove standing water. Do you have a birdbath in the backyard? Change out the standing water every few days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.
  9. Attract birds with birdhouses. Although some birds eat seeds, attract insect-eating birds by having birdhouses in your yard. Bluebirds, woodpeckers, swallows, sparrows, wrens, and cardinals all eat insects and can keep pests away from your deck.
  10. Avoid using too much mulch. Mulch looks great, but it helps soil retain moisture, and moisture attracts insects. If you do have mulch, keep it at least 12 inches away from your home. Consider using gravel or rocks as alternatives.

To keep bugs away from your food when you’re entertaining on your deck, keep the food covered as much as possible until it’s time to eat. Cover with foil or put your food in an airtight plastic container. 

When the party is over, remove trash promptly and put it in your rollaway trash can. This will keep bugs away from your deck after the party’s over.

Seal Smart’s permanent deck sealing comes with a 25-year warranty. It can protect your deck from moisture and rot, both of which can attract insects.

Want a free quote? Request an estimate from our team and we’ll be in touch.