Planning to celebrate the 4th of July with some outdoor feasting? Independence Day comes along at a rather unfortunate time of the year as far as dealing with outdoor eating. A 4th of July picnic can quickly break bad when the bugs start showing up. If you want to ensure that your Independence Day picnic or backyard barbecue or grillstravaganza is not ruined by hordes of red ants or other bugs, make these tips a part of your party agenda.
Picnic tables offer prime real estate for ants. They just seem to know instinctively that there’s good eats to be had on any table that is placed in the great outdoors. Independence Day isn’t just about celebrating independence from the humiliating spectacle of having to buy things with money featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, it’s also be declaring your independence from ants ruining your 4th of July picnic. How? By placing each leg of your picnic table into a cup filled halfway to the brim with plain old water. You see, ants have this wonderfully tragic flaw: they tend to drown when they fall into water. A drowned ant is an ant that can’t eat your Independence Day picnic food.
Nothing can ruin a 4th of July cookout quicker than a visit from the local chapter of the mosquito welcome wagon. Mosquitoes are just plain evil, you know. Real life vampires quite literally out for blood. Which means their line of attack is the least obstructed point of entry for getting to the blood coursing through your body. But before they can get to the blood within, they must pierce the skin without. Don’t let your Independence Day picnic be ruined by mosquitoes when you can turn their most powerful weapon against them . Mosquitoes make a beeline for you as soon as you sit down to feast on 4th of July grilled steaks and hamburger because they possess one of the most powerful olfactory systems around. It’s no accident that mosquitoes will descend on one human standing alone in a field surrounded by farm animals. Mosquitoes don’t just live for sucking blood, they live for sucking the blood of humans and their ability to detect the presence of their life-sustaining red gold essentially makes them the sharks of the air. But that overdeveloped sense of smell also has the potential to be their downfall. The centerpiece of your picnic table should be an enormous vase overflowing with lavender since mosquitoes do not like the smell of lavender one bit. The candy of choice for a 4th of July cookout should contain peppermint, which is another scent that repels mosquitoes. You might also consider rubbing any exposed skin with diluted apple cider vinegar, since mosquitoes do not appear to be very happy about searching for blood beneath any skin that emits that particularly robust aroma.
As a matter of record, I must admit that the following tip for keeping flies away from your Independence Day cookout has not been personally tested for efficacy. Meaning it could be some old wives’ tale or it could even be some sort of tame and lame internet practical joke. Park your picnic close to a tree or some other structure from which you can hang a large sealed plastic bag filled with water. Place a single penny into the water and suspends from above. That’s all it takes, apparently, to keep your Independence Day cookout or backyard barbecue from becoming a 4th of July disco party for flies. Flies and outdoor eating have always gone together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in my experience, but apparently this not need to always be the case. Who knew that it only took a plastic bag with water and a penny to keep flies away from 4th of July cookouts? In the interest of completely full disclosure, the trick of using a plastic baggie filled with water to repel flies seems to be a strictly regional invention popular in the South. I’ve lived all my life in the South and I have no problem admitting that flies down here are even more pervasive than racist backwoods mongoloids, but I have never in my life seen this trick for keeping flies out actually put in use by anyone. So, maybe your 4th of July picnic will be free from flies by trying the water bag tip and maybe it won’t. But clearly it won’t cost you much to try.