Summer is in full-swing – even though it looks and feels significantly different this year. While you may be trading your beach or international vacation for a staycation, it’s still important to get some sun and fresh air, appreciating all the great outdoors has to offer.
This season, we challenge you to step into the benefits of outdoor activity with tips to keep your backyard thriving and family safe from biting bugs.
Check out our Summer Bucket List filled with activities you and your family can enjoy safely at or near your home.
Give your backyard some TLC with a spruce-up.
Recreate your favorite destinations in your backyard with a mix of colorful new blooms and accent pieces to fuel the explorer in you. Before you get started, check to see if your local lawn and garden center is offering curbside pickup. Protect your new plants from pests and disease with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, balancing the use of EPA-approved pesticides and fertilizers paired with preventative practices to confidently control home and lawn issues today and prevent their return tomorrow.
Bring the outdoors in with fresh greenery.
Adding hints of greenery throughout your home is proven to boost your mood and reduce stress levels. Start small with a low-maintenance house plant and read up on the benefits and care requirements before planting indoors.
Spot a problem? Call a local professional.
Take a walk around your house and yard to survey for pests and potential lawn issues. If you see pests, such as ticks or grubs, or discolored grass or plants but don’t know where to start, call a local expert to schedule a walk through. Once you’ve identified a trusted pest control or lawn care service, send them a few photos of your problem area. Their professionals are well-equipped to handle issues unique to your region and can help prevent the return of backyard intruders.
Plan a tick-free play day with your pet.
Warmer weather means fun in the sun with your four-legged family member complete with fetch, tug-of-war and belly rubs. Like humans, pets are also susceptible to the harmful effects of tick bites like the transmission of Lyme Disease. Perform regular tick checks on pets and yourself after time outdoors and before going back inside.
Start an herb garden to keep garnishes within reach.
Plant the gift that keeps on giving by adding fresh herbs to your garden – and involve your kids in the fun. Maintaining an herb garden is a great daily activity for kids who need outdoor time and new stimulation this summer. And as an added bonus, it serves as a small backyard, homegrown spice rack for cocktails and recipes.
Enjoy a campout from the comfort of your backyard.
Pitch a tent and spend the night under the stars for the ultimate staycation the whole family will enjoy. Fend off mosquitoes with a bug repellent that includes DEET, Picaradin, IR355 or other EPA-approved active ingredients recommended by the CDC as proven and effective. Apply and re-apply according to label directions while outdoors.
Plant a pollinator-friendly garden.
Create an inviting, colorful space with plenty of sun and water sources where bees and other pollinators can thrive. Before you dig in, consult your state’s native flower guide or university extension for a list of native plants for your garden. Another pro-tip is to only apply products when bees aren’t active (just after dawn), never apply to a flowering plant and always according to label directions.
Spend quality time hiking on your nearest trail.
Hiking is the perfect outing to discover your surroundings and get moving while relieving stress. But before you head out, it’s important to prevent tiny bugs, such as ticks and mosquitoes, from biting. Wear tall socks, light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts to help block tiny bites that can cause big problems. Tuck your pant legs into your socks as an extra precaution. Make sure to apply repellent and sunscreen, separately, to exposed skin according to label instructions. Before you get to exploring, confirm that the trails in your area are open and pay attention to any state safety protocols.
Score big with a one-on-one backyard sports tournament.
Whether you like football, soccer or anything played on grass, a well-maintained yard can be the difference between going for the goal and sitting on the sidelines. Before you and your household go head-to-head in a backyard battle for the ages, call your local professional for tips to keep your “field” play-ready all summer long.
Reorganize your garage to keep everything in its place.
A well-organized garage or storage space can have a big impact on yard projects, big and small. Start your garage update by decluttering your space and outlining where and how to store essential items safely according to label directions. You can also designate a small area as a “transition zone,” creating a nook near your backdoor to check yourself and pets for ticks and other pests.
Share how you’re spending time in your great outdoors! Use the hashtag #TheGreatOutdoorsChallenge and remember to tag @DebugtheMyths on Twitter.