How to deal with summer garden nuisances

For a stress-free summer garden use chalk to deter ants, apple cider vinegar to catch flies and alcohol to get rid of weeds, say experts.

By Sue Wilkinson
Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 3:47 pm
Ants can be a problem
Ants can be a problem

Outdoors specialists from

They’ve revealed that keeping calm and using discouraging smells are the best ways to deal with unwanted wasps, whilst weeds should be dried out with a solution of pure alcohol or burned with boiling water.

A spokesperson for .uk said: “UK homeowners should be able to soak up the sun in their gardens without typical summer nuisances ruining their day.

“Some insects think they deserve an invite to your outdoor lunch, barbeque or social occasion, whilst gardening in the summer should be all about planting colour and enjoyment rather than chores.

“So, we’ve released advice to help Brits deal with garden irritations from weeds sprouting up to wasps and flies that just won’t leave you alone, to help gardeners and families avoid frustration this summer.”

Here is the guide to dealing with garden nuisances:

1. Weeds

No gardeners really want to spray aggressive, environmentally harmful chemicals all over their garden to remove pesky weeds this summer, or spend hours painstakingly digging them up – but there are other ways.

Dousing them in boiling water should burn weeds to the roots on driveways and patios without damaging surrounding plants.

For those in the middle of lawns or flower beds, consider drying them out by spraying weeds with a mixture of water and pure alcohol or pulling them out and sprinkling the spot with baking soda to prevent regrowth.

2. Ants

To keep swarms of this tiny insect off garden paths and away from outdoor furniture, draw a solid line with a stick of chalk.

It might be the sight or the smell, nobody is quite sure why, but ants won’t cross it. Other smells ants hate include lemon, garlic, coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Baking soda could again prove a practical alternative to supermarket chemicals, if you want nuisance ants gone for good.

If they’re disturbing your barbeque or children’s play, mix together equal parts baking soda and icing sugar.

Sprinkle in the affected area – the ants will be attracted to the sweetness, but ingestion is fatal

3. Wasps

The number one rule for Brits scared of being stung by a wasp in the warmer weather is to keep calm and carry on.

Wasps sting when they’re provoked or upset so wafting your hands to shoo it away or jumping around isn’t a great idea – stand completely still, if anything, or just don’t react at all.

Steer clear of eating outside and planting bright flowers in the garden which could attract hordes of them to your backyard.

Smells that can be used to discourage wasps from certain areas include tomato stems, fresh mint, ground coffee and cloves.

Gardeners could also consider placing a small glass of orange juice in a remote corner of their garden to draw wasps away from an occupied area, or create a home-made trap by cutting the neck off a plastic bottle that contains a sweet smell.

4. Flies

It’s a fairly normal sight to see annoying fruit flies buzzing around UK gardens, patios and kitchens when warmer weather arrives.

The best way to avoid the problem is to be proactive and preventative, by keeping exposed areas clean and removing any tempting insect snacks such as overripe fruit, dinner leftovers and sweet treats.

To catch a fruit fly when it makes an appearance, half fill a glass with apple cider vinegar and cover the liquid with pierced cling film – flies won’t be able to resist the smell and will probably become trapped.

If they’re managing to get away, try adding a little soap to the vinegar that will cut the surface tension and mean they sink, or add a paper cone down into the glass that flies won’t be able to reverse out of.

Should that still not prove entirely successful, there’s always the good old-fashioned rolled-up newspaper approach.

5. Dry Grass

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to dry summer grass. Remember to water regularly and consistently throughout the summer months to give your lawn a reliable and moist foundation to grow on, particularly when extra sun and heat is forecast.

If your grass starts to dry out and turn yellow in places, don’t rush over and flood the area with water – this will simply turn the soil to mud and could drown the remaining live grass.

The best approach in this situation is to gently remove any dead residue and sprinkle some life back into the lawn by giving a little water often.

Aerate the grass with a fork to allow water to penetrate down to the roots, reseed any gaps and leave clippings on the lawn for additional moisture and protection from the weather.