Common Outdoor Bugs and How to Deal with Them

When bothersome bugs take the fun out of being outside, here’s what to do.

If knowledge is power, then it's not enough just to know you've got pesky bugs in your yard. You also need to know how to deal with them! Here are some of the most common outdoor bugs, plus some practical things you can do to get them under control and reclaim your favorite spaces.


Why they bug us: It may seem that ants are no big deal unless they show up uninvited to an outdoor picnic or invade the kitchen. Not so. Outdoor ants can pose a big and growing problem. That's because ants live in colonies that they establish in, around, and under your outdoor living spaces. Left untreated, ant colonies can increase by the hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands. Signs of ant colonies include disrupted dirt or piles of sand. Look for them in your lawn, in the cracks of your concrete walkways or driveway, and even nesting in your landscape.

How to deal with ants outdoors: Apply Ortho® BugClear™ Lawn Insect Killer₁ (following label directions) to start killing listed ants fast and keep controlling them for up to 6 months. Sprinkle some right next to your foundation, too, to help stop ants from going inside. To help keep future ants at bay, cut off potential food sources by keeping outside food covered, wiping up spills, and cleaning up crumb trails.

For more information:How to Identify & Control Different Types of Ants


Why they bug us: These small, flat, jumping insect pests like to make their home on warm-bloodied animals, including the family pet and backyard wildlife. But, that's not the only place fleas can live. When fleas lay eggs after a blood meal, sometimes the eggs stay on the animal, and sometimes they fall off – into the yard.

How to deal with fleas outdoors: Fleas prefer a dark, moist environment rather than sunny, open areas, so keep your lawn neatly mowed and trimmed, don't overwater, and never leave piles of sand and gravel sitting for long. If you're still hit with an infestation, apply Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Ready-to-Spray according to label directions. Simply connect the sprayer end to a garden hose for easy, uniform coverage of your lawn and landscape.

For more information: How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home


Why they bug us: There are literally thousands upon thousands of species of flies. Not only are many of them (including house flies) drawn to nasty things like garbage, feces, and decay, but when they land on food, they regurgitate their saliva on it. Others, like fruit flies, are attracted to ripe fruit and sweet, fermented liquids. With their incessant circling and buzzing, flies are high on the list of annoyances for many outdoor lovers.

How to deal with flies outdoors: To help avoid attracting flies in the first place, keep trash in a tightly sealed receptacle and never compost meat, bones, or oil. If they still show up, show flies who's boss with Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Ready-to-Spray. Used as directed, this ready-to-use spray protects your yard from a variety of flies, including biting flies and house flies. Non-staining and odor-free, it starts killing immediately.

For more information: How to Combat Biting Flies


Why they bug us: Not only can mosquitoes ruin outdoor fun thanks to all the buzzing (them) and swatting (us), but their bites can cause itchy, red welts that hang around to remind us of the misery. Worse, some of these blood-sucking pests can transmit serious pathogens that cause diseases (including the Zika and West Nile viruses).

How to deal with mosquitoes outdoors: Because mosquitoes need water for their reproductive lifecycle, you'll want to regularly dump standing water from old tires, garbage cans, buckets, tarps, planters, etc. It's also a good idea to keep downspouts and gutters clear of leaves and debris and to rake moisture-trapping mulch away from foundations, siding, and wood trim. If mosquitoes still show up, give outdoor areas the all-clear with Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Ready-to-Spray, which starts to work immediately. To apply it, use the Ortho® AllClear™ Power Mister. Lightweight and rechargeable, it produces no smoke or fumes. Be sure to follow all directions.

For more information: How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Your Home


Why they bug us: Blood-sucking, pathogen-carrying ticks are a nuisance to man and beast. While it's easy to think of them as similar to fleas, ticks have a very different way of feeding on blood – and that's what makes them dangerous disease spreaders. Ticks are responsible for the spread of the pathogens that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, plus many other diseases.

How to deal with ticks outdoors: Using a spreader, apply fast-acting Ortho® BugClear™ Lawn Insect Killer₁ to your lawn to kill ticks, including American dog ticks and brown dog ticks. Plus, it creates a 6-month bug barrier so you can enjoy your yard all season.

For more information:How to Protect Yourself from Ticks

Armed with a little know-how, there's no reason to put up with being bugged by outdoor insects. So, get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!