The thing bugs like to do best is spoil parties, especially the Fourth of July. You can get yourself all greased up with insect repellents, you can build a moat around the back yard, you can set fire to the lawn -- there is still no scientific method for keeping the critters off the picnic table. There are a few products on the market that might help, however.
Outdoor insect fogging sprays, under a variety of brand names, sell for about $3 in most drug and hardware stores. Asthmatics or hay-fever victims should beware of these. They contain chemicals that can, if inhaled or touched, bring on an allergic attack.
There are a few non-chemical remedies.
Many hardware and department stores carry electric bug eradicators that attract flying insects with a fluorescent light and zap them when they touch an electric grid.
Sizes and prices vary. Sears has three different models, priced at $80, $110 and $140. Montgomery Ward's also has three, $42, $89 and $129. Hechinger sells two sizes, $80 and $129.
The killer element in these machines is the electric grid, charged with 2,000-4,000 volts of electricity. There should be a protective screen around the grid that allows bugs to fly in but keeps human fingers out. The screen is supposed to be far enough from the grid to prevent children's fingers from reaching it, if they should conquer the barrier.
But you may find cheaper models without these features and without the Underwriter's Laboratories [UL] label certifying they meet safety test standards.
"We have seen some that have not passed [the test]," said a UL electrical engineer. "I've seen some that I would consider poorly designed products. Some where the grid was not even provided."
Hechinger sells an electric "Pestolite" that claims to do in bugs with neither chemicals nor electrical charge. A black light lures the beasties into a bath of soapy water and their just reward. It costs $50.
Many stores carry yellow light bulbs to replace white lights on porches and around doors. Insects allegedly are less attracted to yellow.
Insects will follow goodies into the house. This may be the time to fix screens, if you have not inspected them recently.
Many years ago we used a device on flying insects that proved both fun and effective. It was made of a square piece of wire mesh on the end of a metal handle. We called it a "fly swatter." In these days of olympic electricity prices and chemical saturation you might do yourself a favor by seeking out one of these relics [lately they are being made of modern plastic] and exercising forgotten muscles in the shoulder region.
Fly paper and paper strips create mental pictures of sweaty stables, grungy garages and seedy service stations. But if strips are not friendly to the eye at least they do not threaten you with poisoning. They do the deed with adhesive.
You might look at traps containing glue but no poison, such as Black Flag Roach Motel and d-Con Roach Trap. Both lure traveling crawlers with promises of bed and breakfast in sweet seclusion. Most guests never live to tell about their stay.