So, you have some bugs on your balcony that you need to get rid of.
Flying pets. Crawling ones. And maybe even both.
In this article, we’ll cover these topics:
- The most common bugs on balconies you’ll come across
- Ways to get rid of balcony bugs naturally at home
- How to control flying pests and crawling pests
- Managing bug problems on the deck, porch, and patio
Sound good? Let’s get your balcony bug free.
Last updated: 6/21/20.
Common balcony bugs
There are many different bugs that infest balconies, decks, porches, and yards.
The reason behind this is that your yard provides the plants and food that attracts bugs.
And once they’re there, they’ll start migrating to other parts like your balcony- especially if it provides a bunch of hiding places.
Here are some of the most common ones and their respective guides to control them:
You can zone in to the specific pest you want to eliminate using the links below, or you can use this guide as a general outline of controlling, managing, and eradicating pests from your balcony.
How to get rid of bugs on your balcony
There are a variety of different DIY home remedies that you can use to control, eliminate, and deter pests on your deck or patio.
The trick to doing this is simple.
Scan through these different techniques and try a few out. See what works for you. There is no single solution that works for everyone.
That’s why you should use a combination of them for the best results possible.
Use bug-repelling plants
There are plenty of bugs that can help you keep bugs off your balcony.
The best apart using plants as a natural pest repellent is that they keep your patio clean and bug-free WITHOUT any poisons!
Unless you’re planting poison ivy or some other harmful plant, you can keep bugs away from your balcony 100% naturally with the magic of plants.
This is by far one of the most popular DIY pest control techniques favored by gardeners who know what they’re doing.
Start by finding out your hardiness zone. You can check the UDSA plant hardiness map to see what zone you’re in. Then find some plants that grow well in your zone and do some research.
Check the following plant attributes:
- Watering requirements
- Sunlight needed
- Ease of growing
- Plant food/fertilizer requirements
You don’t want to buy plants that require a lot of work, especially if you’re not a green thumb and don’t have the experience or time to maintain them.
Purchase plants that fit your budget and time so you can get the most out of it with the least cost (time and energy).
Here’s a list of common plants you can grow that bugs absolutely despise:
- Citronella grass
- Cedar trees
- Lemon thyme
- Lemon balm
- Bay leaves
- Floss flowers
- Pitcher plants
- Venus flytraps
You’re sure to find something that grows easily on your deck. There are plenty of plants available that are known to keep bugs away.
Buy a few of them and place them strategically on your balcony.
- For people with flying pests, place them higher up.
- For crawling bugs, place them in planters on the surface. Plants are a cheap, natural, and effective way to get rid of and control balcony bugs.
Start with this before you use any commercial pest killer. Natural first.
Cover your furniture
Most bugs will seek out some kind of safe area that’s sheltered from the elements to hide.
You should completely cover or protect your furniture when possible to stop them from getting to it. You can use a tarp or furniture cover made to fit snugly for your patio set.
The thing to keep in mind is to ensure a full seal- especially where the tarp meets the balcony surface.
Crawling pests like spiders, silverfish, roaches, and more will simply find a gap between the tarp and the surface and crawl right in. This then provides a perfect environment for them to establish a nest. It’s safe from rain and snow. It’s warm and temperate.
And there are plenty of bugs to eat when they wander right through the tarp! This is a spider’s paradise.
These little spotted bugs do wonders to help keep pest populations in check.
They forage the yard and eat up both larvae and adults of common insects, so they’re basically working for you for free. Ladybugs can be an effective control agent for bugs like caterpillars and asparagus beetles.
If you live in an area that already has ladybugs, you should take measures to attract them.
Or if ladybugs are a problem pest, you can learn how to get rid of them from your deck.
Place hanging dryer sheets
This is perfect if you have both bugs and animals foraging on your balcony for food (BBQ leftovers, picnic table scraps, trashcans, plant fruits, etc.).
Just take a few scented sheets, crumple them up, and shove them into cracks where bugs enter on your porch.
You can also hang them or tape them around the balcony as a repellent. Or you can even clip them to your pants if you really want to keep the bugs off.
Use a box fan
You’d be surprised at how effective a simple box fan can be.
Fans will deter and repel mosquitoes, houseflies, vinegar flies, flying beetles, bees, wasps, and most other flying pests.
Circulating fans can cover extremely large areas with concentrated “beams” of air currents.
You can also use a few box fans placed around your balcony- some pointed high and another pointed low.
They’ll keep bugs away from your balcony and they’ll offer you and your outside party guests a cooling touch!
Make bug spray
You can easily mix up some DIY bug killer at home for next to nothing.
Just get a few drops of dish detergent and mix the solution with a cup of water. Then pour it into a spray bottle.
With this, you can go around and spray down various insects you come across on your deck. Most will be killed upon contact as the surface tension of the soap is hard to break and the bug drowns in the water.
Be sure to wipe up any dead bugs so others won’t feed on them- or else you risk attracting even MORE bugs to your balcony.
Remove stagnant water
Any source of water that’s sitting still will be an attractant for mosquitoes and other moisture-loving pests.
Mosquitoes can lay eggs in still water as small as a few drops in a candy wrapper. This is why it’s imperative to keep your balcony clean and dry.
But those bloodsuckers aren’t the only pest to be wary of.
You need to note that water sources can lead to excess humidity in enclosed environments. If you have storage, potted plants, saucers, or anything that traps water and keeps it contained, this will bring up the humidity levels.
So you need to do two things:
- Dry up or remove any still water
- Block off, seal up, or caulk any possible areas where water will collect and lead to moisture buildup
This will reduce the number of bugs attracted to your balcony, especially if you live in a humid area.
Build a meat trap
Meat can be an effective deterrent for stinging pests like wasps and yellowjackets.
You can keep a small stash of fresh meat away from the balcony, but close enough to where any bug that wanders to your ledge will be able to detect it.
This will deter them and make them fly to the meat rather than directly into your face.
All you need is some basic deli meat like ham or turkey on a small plate.
If the bugs aren’t eating it or they’re still hovering around your balcony, try moving the position of the meat trap. Move it closer to you until they attack the meat and go for the trap rather than you and your party guests.
Use a commercial trap
You can buy traps made for nearly every type of flying bug out there!
Depending on what you’re dealing with, you can find bee traps, wasp traps, fly traps, and everything else.
Check your local hardware store or just buy it online. Place the trap as directed by the product packaging.
You can make it hard to see and hide from people by concealing it in furniture, hanging it on your eaves, or placing it on your balcony overhang.
Keep your balcony clean
Guess what? A balcony, patio, or porch that has nothing for pests to eat or hide in can’t harbor any bugs!
Keeping your balcony free of plant debris can make all the difference. Even if you don’t grow plants, be wary of loose leaves, pollen, and flowers that fly off and land on your deck.
Plant foliage is THE main attractant for a whole host of different species, so you want to make sure you don’t have any loose leaf litter.
Keep your balcony clean by removing this junk. Do basic cleaning every week to keep it nice and tidy. Maintenance is key to keeping it pest-free.
Consider doing the following:
- Vacuuming or blowing any leaf litter
- Keeping your plants pruned
- Remove any plant matter that’s bound to become fodder
- Build a small barrier around your balcony to prevent leaves from blowing in if you’re on the first floor in an apartment or condo
- Throw away all the unnecessary clutter (old BBQ grills, torches, water fountains, wind chimes, debris, laundry lines, or other storage junk you put on your deck.
- Dust or vacuum the balcony regularly
- Don’t use bird feeders, birdbaths, or store pet food on your balcony
- Set up an awning to block out bugs
Use pest netting
You can have pest netting installed on your balcony if it’s a small size. This is usually see-through netting similar to bird netting.
Some people have this netting draped over their small outside porch or deck so they can enjoy the outdoors without dealing with pests.
You should consider this if you have way too many different insects bothering you when you’re outside. Some models are retractable so you can remove the pest netting when you need to.
Clutter on your balcony is just asking for a pest problem.
As you probably know, bugs will hide in cracks and crevices made from debris on your balcony.
Spiders like to hide in cracks and spin webs. Roaches like to establish nests in soft and sheltered areas. Mosquitoes will deposit eggs in stagnant water that’s failed to drain.
You should remove everything that you don’t need on your balcony, such as:
- Unused patio furniture
- Chairs and tables
- Storage containers
- Plant pots
- Plant sauces
- Storage racks
Any other type of clutter that’s just sitting there will be a possible home for a bug. This is why you need to REMOVE anything you don’t use. Toss it out. Donate it. Sell it. Don’t hoard.
You don’t even use it so why keep it there and just attract bugs? That’s not a good investment, right?
Citronella oil is a proven and effective pest repellent that’s harvested from the leaves of the citronella plant. It’s commonly used to repel flying pests like mosquitos, but can also be used other bugs like houseflies, spiders, and crane flies.
You can buy citronella candles or just buy pure citronella oil and spray the solution around your balcony. Opt for organic or natural solutions when possible.
If you’re entertaining or having a party at night, you can use citronella candles or torches to keep the pests away.
During the daytime, you can spray the oil around your eaves, weatherstripping, patio doors, and windows to make an effective, passive deterrent against pests.
If you need to resort to store-bought pesticides, look for either of these.
They’re effective and SHOULD work but at the risk of adding dangerous compounds to your balcony.
That’s why you should always avoid buying pest killers and spraying that stuff all over your home. I mean, it’s a poison. It kills. That’s not good for humans NOR pests.
Get organic or natural pesticides if possible. There are a few brands you can buy that don’t use harmful substances and safe for the environment.
You can use commercial permethrin to help keep the bugs away from you while you’re outside enjoying a drink on your balcony.
There are plenty of commercial sprays and traps, but you should focus on one that contains permethrin as it’s known to be effective.
There are even permethrin-based clothes that you can buy which keeps bugs off. Or you can go the old school route and use a permethrin spray.
DEET is a hotly debated pest repellent because of the harmful effects on the earth’s atmosphere, yet it’s very effective to keep pests off and away. If you need something that works and don’t have time to mess around trying different solutions, get a DEET band or spray some around your balcony.
Use as directed, as this spray may be dangerous when used wrongly. You should avoid using any aerosol or synthetic compounds when possible.
Always stick to natural or organic control methods!
Bugs in the patio, deck, or porch
Some homes may be equipped with false balconies, conjoined balconies, or faux balconies.
Depending on how your home is set up, you may also have bugs on your porch, deck, porch ceiling, or yard.
Here are some more specific tips on ridding bugs in each area. Remember that there’s no “single” best solution for bug extermination.
You’ll have to assess your specific scenario, formulate a plan, and take it from there.
If your porch is separate from your patio (this is really semantics here), the techniques used for pest control outlined here still work.
Depending on the size and setup of your porch, the process varies.
For example, if you have a screened porch, simply sealing up any openings to the outdoors and repairing rips and tears in your screen should take care of the problem- unless the infestation is from within.
If you have a rain porch, this is more difficult as there are plenty of attractants for insects- crevices in the awning, cracks and crawl spaces in the wood, empty space underneath the porch, and even the porch lighting.
If your porch is within a few feet of any foliage that attracts insects, then it’s very easy for them to also migrate and establish a presence on your porch.
And even more difficult, if you have a wraparound porch, the bend in your construction just makes cleaning up difficult- definitely.
Regardless, the process to eradicate and manage pests remains the same:
- Keep your porch free of clutter
- Seal up and caulk any orifices where bugs may enter
- Plant plants that repel pests to keep them at bay
- Remove or reduce nighttime lighting
- Spray essential oils
- Use bug traps or sticky tape
- Block of all possible crawl spaces
- Eliminate any sources of food (bird food, small animal grains, livestock feed, etc.)
- Keep your yard clean
This should help reduce and bring the bug population down on your porch when done correctly.
Remember, it’ll take time in the beginning when you first attempt to get your porch or deck back into shape.
After that, it’s just regular maintenance. Set aside some time to do this at first.
Bugs on porch ceiling
Depending on how your ceiling is constructed, you may be able to rid them carefully.
Clean your ceiling
For beamed overhangs, bugs prefer to hide right where the beams meet the roof. If you have small cracks or gaps between the two surfaces, you’ll likely find all sorts of abandoned spider webs, termite frass, dust, and debris that the wind carried up there.
Get a shop vac and suck all of it. You can also use a hose to water it down, but don’t do this if you’re unsure about the wood’s condition.
Cracked or damaged wood can soak up water and then provide an oasis for pests and termites. If you have metal or steel beams, make sure they’re not rusted and in good condition before you spray.
Spray essential oils
You can also spray some essential oils (peppermint, lavender, basil, neem, etc.) right into the cracks or directly on your ceiling.
Spray wherever you notice pest activity. The oils will help kill and deter bugs automagically.
Buy pure oil and mix a few drops into a cup of water. Then spray it as needed on objects and areas where you suspect pest activity.
Note that some people and pets may be sensitive to essential oils, so be sure to do your research before spraying.
Also, neem oil (among other oils) kills plants if not used correctly. So that’s why it’s imperative to do your due diligence on ANY and ALL types of oils before using it. You’ll thank yourself later.
Here are a few sample recipes:
You can also soak up cotton balls with essential oil and stuff them into the cracks.
Fix up your ceiling
Lastly, you should fix up any damaged portions of your balcony.
You can use caulk, tape, or replace the entire part depending on what you need to repair.
This keeps bugs out of crawl spaces where they can establish a nest or deposit eggs. If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a contractor to do an evaluation of your porch.
Bugs on porch lights
That’s a fact.
f you have porch lights on your balcony that you leave on at night, this is simply additional bugs.
Light is a strong attractant to all sorts of pests as it provides artificial “sunlight” for photosensitive species and also may be a source of warmth.
By leaving your lights on overnight, bugs will gravitate to your porch and establish nests.
- Spiders will spin webs to catch flying bugs.
- Bees will fly towards artificial lights.
- And whiteflies will gravitate towards the lamps in your home.
If you have no reason to leave the balcony lights on, turn them off. This will right away get rid of a major attractant (and save you electricity).
Bugs on outdoor furniture
Outdoor patio furniture can be protected with covers.
Use a tightly fitting furniture tarp or grill cover as needed. Make sure that they’re covered completely and that there’s no way for the insects to crawl up from under the tarp.
Remove or get rid of any old and worn furniture, as they can have holes or damage that offer a suitable breeding ground for bugs.
Outside parties on the balcony
Having an outdoor thing with guests? Expecting a party?
Your best course of action is to set it up BEFORE the party with everything you can do to keep the bugs off your balcony.
Consider using a powerful combo of pest repelling plants around the fencing. Spray essential oils at entry points, but not close enough to the area where you and your party guests will hang out.
Use a piece of meat as bait and place it in an area clear of the balcony. Set up citronella candles or torches (especially if it’s a nighttime party to enhance the atmosphere).
Here’s a video that you may find useful:
Remove all the clutter and junk from your deck. Hang dryer sheets in areas where the guests won’t see, or just have every guest stick one on their pant pocket.
You can also use pyrethrin or DEET if needed.
But try to avoid this, because you don’t want that stuff near your food. Some people may also be sensitive to those compounds.
Always use natural or organic control methods for bugs- I can’t stress this enough!
Whatever it takes, there are plenty of things you can do to get rid of the pests on your deck for entertaining people outside.
You just need to use different combos and see what works for you.
Here are some references you may find useful for controlling balcony bugs:
Did you get rid of the bugs on your balcony?
By now, you should be able to safely reduce or remove the insects on your balcony.
It takes time and patience depending on the variety of different species you’re dealing with.
You’ll need to see what TYPE of bug you have and how to get rid of it effectively.
If you find out the species, try doing a search here and checking for a bug guide.
Or if you have any questions, go ahead and post a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Consider telling a friend about this article if you found it somewhat helpful =].
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.