Spring and summer bring warmer weather, which gives apartment dwellers more time to spend on their balconies. Unfortunately, warmer weather also brings more bugs, some of which want to share our balcony space with us. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to keep your balcony pest-free. Here are 10 different ideas.
Stick to a regular cleaning schedule
One of the best things you can do to keep bugs away is regularly clean your balcony. This includes everything from daily tidy ups to deep cleans every couple of weeks. Most regularly, you should:
- Clean up any food or drink items IMMEDIATELY. Make sure you thoroughly wipe down any areas and do not leave food scraps or traces of sticky substances anywhere. This is an invitation for bugs to visit and make themselves at home.
- Sweep/dust your floors and clean your balcony railings. Pay special attention to areas underneath furniture items.
- Turn over and pat down furniture cushions.
Depending on how active bugs are in your area and how often you use the space, you should also consider deep cleaning your area from time to time. This includes:
- Washing the balcony floors
- Vacuum, turn and pat down any outdoor rugs
- Clean the ceilings
Use Citronella candles
Citronella candles are one of the most widely used products to combat insects in outdoor spaces. The citronella oil acts as a natural repellant to keep pests away. These candles are easy to find, emit a pleasant smell, and add some ambiance to any outdoor space.
Citronella candles are most effective against mosquitos within a few feet of the flame. For maximum effectiveness and coverage for larger balcony spaces, consider burning candles with multiple wicks like this one and/or spacing out multiple candles across your balcony.
Think about your furniture selection
In places where bugs are a huge problem, you might want to consider buying furniture items that won’t create hiding spots for pests. Think about investing in furniture pieces with without cushions since bugs tend to like hiding in between cushion cracks. Metal or plastic furniture is also easy to wipe down and clean regularly.
Grow plants that bugs hate
Essential oils found in certain plants act as a natural repellant to bugs, who then tend to avoid being in close proximity to these plants. Consider planting some of these in your railing planters or potted plants around your balcony space. Many of these can also perform double duty and help you with starting your balcony garden!
- Lemon balm
Re-think your lighting
Flying pests are particularly attracted to white lights. Making a simple adjustment to bulbs with a more yellowish tint can make a difference, especially when it comes to attracting flying bugs.
Avoid using mulch
Mulch isn’t the most common item found on balconies, but some people may use mulch to create decorative borders around balcony flooring, or they may use it as an ingredient for a DIY dog potty.
There are a lot of opinions around mulch being a deterrent or attractant for bugs, but to be on the safe side, just stay away.
Some mulch (like cedar mulch) contains natural oils that repel bugs like mosquitos when dry, however when it rains, the wet mulch creates an invitation for mosquitos and other insects to hang out.
Simply put, a decluttered space is one that can be more easily maintained and cleaned. There are fewer places for bugs to make themselves comfortable, and fewer spaces that you can miss while cleaning. Less is more if you want to keep pests away.
Enclose your balcony
Outdoor screen enclosures like this one essentially wrap netting around your entire balcony space and work best in areas that see frequent rain or lots of flying insects. This helps keep flying critters out, and it can also provide other benefits such as keeping rain that comes in to a minimum (which eliminates the risk of standing water piling up).
Remove any standing water
Standing water attracts a variety of pests, particularly mosquitos. Common areas for standing water on a balcony include pet bowls and bird feeders. If you’re concerned about attracting bugs and other creatures to your balcony, it’s best to eliminate bird feeders entirely.
If you do use a pet bowl on your balcony, make it a habit to keep the water bowl inside when not in use and replace with fresh water each time you go outside.
A common household product that can be used as a temporary hack to keep bugs away is a dryer sheet. You can hang these off your balcony ceiling or stuff them into cracks. Depending on the weather/conditions, these can lose their effectiveness quickly, which is why these are best considered as a temporary solution.
Insects and other pests don’t have to disrupt balcony season as there’s lots you can do to prevent these bugs from coming to visit. While we’ve provided lots of ideas within this article, it’s best to consider a multi-prong approach here and implement multiple solutions into your toolkit.
The most important thing you can do is keep your balcony space clean on a regular basis. You can then add some of these other suggestions to boost the likelihood of keeping any pests away.