The balcony is one of my favorite places in my apartment. It’s where I start the day with a cup of coffee in hand while soaking in the morning sun, and I enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine in warm evenings.
Just like it is for many city dwellers, my apartment balcony is the only place I have to step outside while at home. So I didn’t take it lightly when I noticed various bugs slowly encroaching on my precious outdoor space.
While I didn’t mind the occasional mosquito, fly, or bee flying by, I had to stamp my foot down when they started becoming a nuisance. Luckily, I found many ways to keep bugs away from my apartment balcony and used them to great effect.
A few insects on an apartment balcony are usually not a reason to panic. However, I had to take charge when they started making regular visits while increasing in numbers.
I started by making my apartment balcony a less attractive place for bugs. Then I moved on to employing different tactics to get rid of them, and to my relief, most of them were very simple and effective.
Let’s learn the best ways to make an apartment balcony less attractive for insects and how to get rid of bugs from apartment balconies.
How to Repel Bugs From Apartment Balconies
It’s important to remember that bugs aren’t merely a nuisance. I knew that too many of them could quickly turn into hygiene or health problems, especially since I spent much time on my balcony.
Mosquitoes and flies were my biggest concern since they spread diseases and germs. I was also scared of bee stings. So all of them had to go, and here’s how I solved the growing bug problem in my apartment balcony.
Re-Check the Lighting
Bright white light attracts flying insects compared to dimmer yellow lighting, according to experts.
So I checked all the lighting on my patio and made a few changes to ensure that I didn’t put on a big welcome sign for bugs every evening.
Remove Any Standing Water
Standing water does not help create a clean and hygienic apartment balcony. Insects wander into standing water to drink it and find food and shelter. Many bugs, including mosquitos, lay eggs in standing water.
They only need the equivalent of a teaspoon of standing water to lay eggs. Such insect eggs can then survive without water for months. Therefore, I made it a point to remove any standing water from my balcony to stop providing breeding grounds for insects.
De-Clutter the Balcony
A cluttered balcony offers all kinds of nesting places for insects, providing them shelter and the opportunity to multiply. So I made sure that I wasn’t creating any hiding places on my balcony by having too many items there.
I also made it a point not to leave any debris lying around for bugs to use as building materials for nests.
Rethink Furniture Selection
Having a bug-free apartment balcony needs furniture that doesn’t provide them shelter. Unfortunately, I had two chairs that seemed to create cozy hiding spots for insects, so I had to remove them.
The ideal balcony furniture should be minimalist. Having furniture with cushions didn’t help my cause since bugs seemed to love hiding underneath and in the cracks between the cushions and furniture.
Covering furniture is also a good alternative, especially for those who don’t want to buy new furniture.
Maintain a Clean Balcony
Poorly maintained apartment balconies can easily attract all kinds of insects, especially those searching for food. Therefore, it’s vital to clean up immediately, especially anything that bugs find edible, including plant matter and dead insects.
Those who use their balconies for barbecuing need to make sure that all charred food is removed and grease stains are wiped clean soon after they are done to stop inviting little unwanted guests. I vacuumed the balcony whenever I had food there.
I also created a regular cleaning schedule that included a biweekly deep clean, and it really helped my efforts to keep my balcony a bug-free zone.
Switch Flowering Plants
Flowering plants add lovely colors and aromas to any space. I also had a few potted flowering plants on my balcony. Upon learning that they attract bugs, especially bees, I removed them from my balcony.
However, there was no need to be upset about my empty balcony without them. Just like some plants attract bugs, some repel them. So all I had to do was trade them to insect-repelling plants, and my balcony looked as green and colorful as before.
Here’s a list of colorful flowering plants with bug-repellant qualities:
- Floss flowers
Bring Out a Fan
This was a surprisingly effective way of getting rid of bugs from my balcony, given its simplicity. An outdoor ceiling fan capable of covering a large area would have been the most effective option, but I had to use a simple pedestal fan since my balcony is relatively small.
Despite having much less reach, it did an excellent job deterring flying pests such as mosquitos and flies. Having a fan on the balcony is also a bonus during warm weather.
Insects despise the sharp smell of Citronella Oil. I found many ways of using Citronella to get rid of bugs on my balcony.
Since my balcony is on the smaller side, I didn’t need the aroma spread too far to work its magic. So I could enjoy great results by lighting a few Citronella candles or incense sticks.
Citronella torches feature a bigger flame, making them more suitable for larger outdoor spaces. I also came across an eye-catching Citronella coil with a total burn time of 150 hours.
Use Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are a great way to repel insects, including mosquitos, flies, mites, gnats, weevils, roaches, and critters. Linalool, a plant compound found in dryer sheets, has excellent insect-repelling qualities. Linalool is found in plants such as basil, coriander, and lavender.
I taped some dryer sheets to a few surfaces on my balcony, and the method seems to do wonders. Another great way to use them is by hanging them.
Use DIY Bug Sprays
DIY bug sprays are an excellent way to deter bugs from apartment balconies, especially since I know what goes into making them. That way, I can use safe, natural ingredients rather than chemicals.
One easy way to create a spray is to mix a cup of water with 20 to 30 drops of Citronella oil before spraying it on the furniture and railings, creating a natural insect-deterring barrier around the balcony.
I also had success by combining equal parts of witch hazel oil.
I came across many essential oils with bug-repellant properties, so feel free to experiment by mixing the following quantities of essential oils with one cup of water. Add a few teaspoons of vegetable glycerin or rubbing alcohol for better results.
- Vinegar – One Cup (Equal Parts)
- Geranium Oil – 30 to 40 Drops
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil – 30 to 40 Drops
- Lavender Oil – 30 to 40 Drops
- Rosemary Oil – 20 to 30 Drops
Essential oils can have side effects on humans and pets, although rare. Therefore, practice with caution when handling and storing essential oils. It’s recommended to keep children and pets away from surfaces sprayed with essential oil mixtures.
Immediately stop using essential oil if side effects appear and seek medical advice. Remember that ingesting, especially substantial amounts of some essential oils, can be hazardous.
Introduce More Bug-Repelling Plants
I talked earlier about replacing flowering plants that insects love with ones they opt to stay away from. I didn’t stop there. I kept working on the greenery I had on my balcony and brought in more potted plants with excellent insect-repelling qualities.
I must mention the added benefits of having some herbs on my balcony. They not only deterred insects for me but also helped with cooking and other home remedies.
- Bay Leaves
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Grass
- Lemon Thyme
- Pitcher Plants
- Venus Flytraps
Malnourished or unhealthy plants can make any space look lousy. Therefore, consider the required space, sun exposure, water, care, and other factors carefully before buying any plant.
Avoid Using Mulch
Sometimes people use mulch to decorate borders around the balcony floor. Mulch is also commonly found in DIY dog potty. Many believe wet mulch creates enticing hang-out spots for bugs, including mosquitos. Whether or not mulch attracts insects is still a highly debated topic. Therefore, avoiding it is a good idea, just to be on the safe side.
Use Bug Traps
These are great for targeting a particular type of insect since there isn’t a single bug trap for all the bugs out there.
In my case, flying bugs were the biggest concern, so I bought a trap for them. However, this might not be a practical solution for balconies with more varied bug problems.
Commercial permethrin is a great way to scare away insects lounging in balconies and other outdoor spaces. In addition to using permethrin spray, I found many sprays and traps containing it.
Netting or Enclosing the Balcony
I kept this method aside as my last resort, and luckily, I didn’t need to use it. However, I understand that it might only be the case for some.
It’s important to understand that removing bugs from outdoor spaces involves many outside factors. For instance, all my efforts would have gone in vain if I had a neighboring property attracting or helping bugs breed. Enclosing or netting the balcony would have been my only choice in such a situation.
Seeing my lovely balcony slowly turning into a picnic ground for insects wasn’t pleasing. Luckily, I didn’t wait until things got out of hand. I started by making the balcony less attractive for insects by removing what they were interested in, food, water, and shelter.
Once I had that covered, it was just a matter of getting rid of the ones who had developed a habit of lounging there. I found many effective ways to keep bugs away from an apartment balcony, most of which were natural methods or revolved around better maintenance.
It did require some hard work, but nothing beats having a beautiful pest-free balcony to step into whenever I feel like it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are flies attracted to my balcony?
Flies might find a balcony attractive for many reasons, such as the availability of water, food, shelter, and nesting opportunities. White bright light can also attract flying insects to balconies at night.
What naturally keeps bugs away?
Many plants and herbs act as natural bug-repellants, including Alliums, Basil, Chrysanthemums, Citronella, Geraniums, and Peppermint.