You built a playset so your kids could spend hours swinging, climbing, and sliding. You didn’t build it as a home for creepy crawlers or stinging bugs!
But keeping your playset pest-free is easier said than done! After all, it’s an outdoor structure that bees and bugs seem altogether attracted to. So what can you do?
If you’re wondering how to keep your playset free of pests and insects, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll cover why bugs are attracted to your playset in the first place; then, we’ll talk about what you can do.
Whether you’re dealing with spiders, ants, bees, or wasps, we can help you eliminate the problem. That way, your playset can serve its original purpose – providing hours of safe entertainment for your little ones!
Why are Pests and Insects Attracted to Playsets?
Insects and pests are used to roughing it in the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean they won’t seek shelter if you offer it. Maybe you didn’t intend to build the ultimate campground for spiders and ants when you built your children’s outdoor playset, but you sort of did precisely that.
Playsets offer ideal protection for pests looking for valuable summer shade. They’re cool, dry, and relatively safe if you look at them from a bug’s point of view. Sheltered from sunshine and summer storms, it’s no wonder spiders, bees, and other bugs seem to love the shady corners of your backyard playset.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re welcome to stay. You built that playset for your kids to enjoy! You don’t want to worry about bug bites or stings! So, let’s look at a few ways you can keep the pests out of your kid’s playset.
How to Keep Bees and Wasps Away From Your Playset
Buzzing pollinators are fantastic if you want a thriving and fruitful garden. They’re not so great when they sting your little one.
To keep bees and wasps away from your playset, there are a few steps you should take.
Seal the Wood
If your playset is made from wood, as most are, you should apply a sealant once a year. The sealant will extend the life of your playset overall, but it’ll also keep bees and wasps from building nests in cracks.
We like Thompson’s WaterSeal for any seal jobs for cedar swing sets.
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Monitor and Repair Possible Nest Locations
Bees and wasps look for sheltered places to nest. They might build their hive in a hollow tube or an open space between two panels. Check any possible nest locations on your playset regularly to help avoid incidents. If you find one, call a professional to remove it!
Clean the Playset Regularly
Bees and wasps love sugary foods more than anything. Discarded juice boxes and popsicle sticks are favorite finds for buzzing insects. They’re also common refuse found in most toddler’s wakes. Keeping the playset free of trash, especially food wrappers, will help keep bees and wasps away. Cleaning should be part of your regular playset maintenance checklist.
Avoid Standing Water
Like all life, bees and wasps need water to survive. Standing puddles and ponds tend to attract flying insects.
So make sure you don’t have any standing water near your playset! Watch especially for permanent puddles due to leaky hoses or outdoor faucets. It’s easy to miss something small like that, and they definitely act as bee and wasp lures.
Try Decoy Nests and Traps
With wasps especially, decoy nests and traps can be effective. Unfortunately, they tend to stink! Make sure you hang them a few yards away from the playset and out of reach of children.
These decoy nests from Archetype Brands are a good option.
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Playsets Shouldn’t Be Next to Flower Beds
We’re all for pretty flowering gardens, but don’t put them right next to your playset if you can avoid it. Flowers attract bees, so keeping them away from the playset is the easiest way to keep stinging insects far from playing children.
How to Keep Spiders Off Your Playset
Many playsets are made of cedar, which is naturally insect-resistant. Unfortunately, spiders aren’t insects. They’re arachnids. And these eight-legged creatures come with their own set of rules.
No one wants painful, itchy, or sometimes dangerous spider bites, especially not from a playset! That takes all the fun out of playing outdoors!
Luckily, spiders are relatively easy to control. With these simple steps, you can keep them off your playset.
Hose Down Your Playset Regularly
Is there anything as satisfying as destroying cobwebs with a high-powered hose? We’re not sure there is.
Regularly hosing down your playset should keep spiders away. Their webs don’t withstand water blasts very well. So if you hose down the playset before use, you’ll likely get rid of any unwanted visitors.
Turn Off Any Nighttime Spotlights
It’s not that spiders hate the dark or anything, but spotlights will attract their favorite prey. Spiders eat other insects that are particularly attracted to light. So, spiders tend to build their nests near lights we turn on at night.
Having a spotlight on your playset may seem like a great idea for security reasons or maybe for nighttime play, but keep in mind that lights at night make your playset ideal for spiders too.
Try to Place Your Playset in the Sun and Away From Trees
Spiders tend to lurk in the shade; they avoid direct sunlight if possible. They also tend to live in trees and dense foliage.
For a spider-free playset, then, it’s a good idea to place your playset in a sunny spot away from low-hanging branches or brush.
How to Keep Ants Off Your Playset
Pesky ants do more than ruin picnics; they’ll ruin playsets too! Ant bites are no joke, and they can wreak havoc on little ones’ exposed arms and legs. To keep the ants away, there are a few things you can do.
Keep Your Playset Clean
Just like bees and wasps, ants love sweet treats. A toddler-sized pile of crushed goldfish crackers or squashed grapes makes the ultimate feast for an army of ants.
Keeping possible food sources out of the playset should keep ants away. While you’re at it, make sure there’s no standing water either. Ants need water sources, too, just like bees and wasps. Keeping the area around the playset dry will help control most pest problems.
Stir Cinnamon in Any Sitting Sand
If your playset includes a sandbox, try cinnamon! Cinnamon oil repels ants and insects. So, mixing a small amount of cinnamon in your sandbox may keep the ants away.
At the very least, your sandbox will smell fantastic for a day or two. And cinnamon is far less harmful than other sprays and insecticides.
Try a Kid-Safe Spray or Natural Repellant
If you are going to try a spray to repel ants, we suggest sticking to one that’s kid-safe and pet-friendly.
You could try spraying your playset with a 50/50 mix of water and distilled white vinegar. The vinegar repels the ants.
Of course, it’s a pretty strong smell that may repel your children too! You can add in a good-smelling essential oil, like peppermint or eucalyptus, to counteract the scent and possibly make the spray more effective.
Or, you could try sprinkling coffee grounds, cloves, or bay leaves around the playset. How effective each of these methods is will depend on the type of ants you have and other backyard conditions. But, in general, coffee, cloves, and bay leaves are effective at repelling insects, including ants and roaches!
And that’s about it for pests and insects, you should be all set.