Summer is here again, and like many Australians, you are probably preparing for the extended holiday and the warm, Antipodean Christmas. In our warm climate, hot meals are often foregone with fresh seafood, cold meats and a delicious array of salads being a more appropriate dining option. Unlike Christmas in the northern hemisphere, meals can be enjoyed outdoors at this time of year.
If you're hosting a Christmas meal this year, you may want to create a more welcoming environment on your deck or patio for your guests. One of the biggest challenges is keeping insects at bay. Flies, mosquitoes and midgies are all annoying pests that can make outdoor dining less than pleasant. Here are four great ways that you can help to keep your Christmas meal free of unwelcome guests of the insect variety.
1. Install retractable flyscreens
Retractable flyscreens work in the same way as roller blinds and can be pulled down or retracted as needed. They're made from a thin synthetic mesh that won't hinder your view but will keep unwanted insects away from your outdoor living area and out of your food and drinks. They are installed along the roofline of your deck or patio cover and can be made to measure to perfectly encapsulate the required area.
2. Add some citronella oil products
Citronella oil is distilled from the lemongrass plant and it's well-known to be a highly effective yet natural way to repel mosquitoes. It also has a pleasant citrus aroma which is far more appealing than chemical-based mosquito repellents. You can buy candles which contain citronella and you can also diffuse citronella essential oil in oil diffusers.
3. Use an outdoor bug zapper
Bug zappers work by using UV light to attract insects and then zapping them instantly with an electrical current. They're a great way to prevent insects from invading your Christmas dinner without using harsh or noxious chemicals. Outdoor bug zappers can be electric or solar powered, and you can opt for an attractive model that resembles a lantern so it's more aesthetically appealing.
4. Create an insect-repellent potted garden
There are a number of different plants and herbs that are proven to repel insects in outdoor areas. Lavender, basil, rosemary and lemongrass are all insect-repellent plants that are also attractive, aromatic and edible. Adding a variety of these plants in pots around the perimeter of your outdoor area will help keep insects at bay as well as make the area look greener and more beautiful.