Keep Bugs From Messing With Your Food With An Easy Picnic Container Swap

Nothing ruins a summer bash quicker than uninvited guests, especially those of the creepy-crawly variety. As nice as a carved watermelon filled to the brim with colorful fruit salad or a big bowl of crunchy coleslaw looks, these open vessels are magnets for flies, ants, and more. To keep the bugs at bay, you could keep food tucked in a cooler or set up a buffet inside your home and have your guests shuttle their plates back and forth, but that is far from peak summer al fresco dining vibes.


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Instead, use large glass jars — like the ones that you might utilize to decant pantry staples like rice, pasta, and flour — at your next picnic. They come in a variety of sizes, the opening is large enough to comfortably fit a serving utensil, and you may even have some lying around already. The thick glass helps to insulate cold foods, and they are easy to clean when the event is over. These are perfect for serving pasta salad, cut-up fruit, cookies, tortilla chips, crunchy snacks, grilled Mexican street corn salad, and more.

More containers that are perfect for picnics

Large glass jars are both functional and attractive, which makes them ideal for dining outside at your own home. However, the weight, size, and material could make them inconvenient to haul to the park or beach. Instead, plastic pop-top containers that are also popular for cabinet and pantry organization are another good choice. These too come in a range of sizes and have many of the same benefits, though they are not quite as pretty to look at.

Mason jars are another great option, as long as the glass material is not an issue for your picnic. They have a pretty strong seal, many folks have ample stock at home, and importantly, they are cute. If the jars you have on hand are too small for family-style serving, consider packing individual portions for everyone in the group. These are also nice to use alongside the large jars at a backyard event for items with smaller portion sizes like salsas, condiments, and dips, though we are positive no one will complain if you put out a half-gallon jar of game-changing chili crisp guacamole.

Of course, if all else fails, good old food storage containers are better than open bowls when it comes to deterring critters. If possible, opt for clear glass or plastic so everyone can see what is inside before they pop open the lid.

Tips for a bug-free picnic

Bugs are always going to be there when you are eating outside, but picking a good spot is a great way to try and keep their attendance at your picnic to a minimum. Avoid setting up camp near dense shrubbery, wet grass, and standing water. To be on the safe side, good old bug repellent is also a great thing to keep on hand so at least pesky insects won't be bothering the people there.

As for the food, if you have the option, an electric, battery-powered, or ceiling fan is an excellent way to scare off flying insects. You can even purchase portable, cordless tabletop fans that are specifically designed to deter flies. You can place a few of these around the table or even the blanket where you are serving the food.

Another thing to be mindful of is trash. While it is convenient to have a bag tied up near the food area, trash is definitely going to attract bugs. Keep it at a distance, and make sure you are not situated near a trash receptacle when picnicking at a park or other public space. Also, pick up spent plates, drinks, and plasticware throughout the event, and wipe up any spills promptly. With these tips, as well as covered containers for all the food, you are on your way to enjoying a bug-free picnic!