Gaining Confidence While Cooking

Don't Roast Your Unwanted Guests: Banish Pests From Your Barbecue Grill

Pests love your grill as much as you do. You can't fault them for that, since your barbecue wears the essence and bears the crumbs of every delicious meal you've cooked on it. But when they love your backyard barbecue so much they start living in it, you have a problem.

How pests damage grills.

Any pest that might enter your home will also enter your grill, and it will cause similar sorts of damage, whether rodent or insect.

Rodents: Mice, rats and other small animals nest in the kettle of the grill and in cabinets. They will bring in flammable nesting material and fluff it up to make the perfect tinder. If you turn on the burners and don't notice nests at the bottom of the grill, they could cause high flames inside the grill, and you also face cleaning a charred rodent corpse. Rodents can also chew through regulator hoses, causing gas leaks that turn deadly under the wrong circumstances.

Birds: Birds may build nests inside the grill, on top of portable propane tanks, and on shelving or brackets below the gas grill. Their twiggy nests are a fire hazard. Birds also soil on your grill as they are flying back and forth to their nest, making it necessary to clean the droppings before grilling. If they nest inside the grill, their droppings will cover racks, grill stones, and burners.

Insects: Insects multiply rapidly inside a gas grill if the bottom is full of crumbs and grease to sustain them. Insects will lay their eggs, shed their skin, and leave their droppings everywhere. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets build their hives under the grill, its shelves, or the grass beneath the lower part of the grill. Spiders may build nests in venturi tubes and cause problems with your grill's performance.

Protecting the grill while it's stored.

Thoroughly clean your grill on a regular basis to remove scents and crumbs that are attractive to vermin. Find all of the holes, rusted-out sections, and openings where small creatures may gain entry. If you won't use the grill for a while, find a way to block holes and vulnerable areas, and leave a note on the rack to remind you where you've done so.

Seal with cardboard, flat metal sections, foam packing material, and foil stuffed in openings, even though creatures may chew through most materials if they're committed to the idea of raising a family inside. You'll see evidence of their presence if you inspect the grill every week or so, and you can beef up the places they are using to gain entry. You do want to remove all of your protective measures before firing up the grill when the barbecue season begins. Leaving yourself a detailed note where you will see it as soon as you open the lid will help you remember.

Find products that protect your barbecue gear.

Sticky traps and other methods of capturing pests should be placed around your grill if it will be unused for a long time. You can purchase zippered covers that seal the grill from most pests. Also available are venturi spider guards that slip over the venturi shutters to keep webs from clogging your lines.

Another wise choice in grill protection is a hose guard, which is basically a spiral of metal wire that wraps around the barbecue regulator hose to prevent rodents from chewing through portable gas lines. This bit of safety gear could save you the heartache of a gas leak gone bad.

A barbecue grill accessory store will have more innovative products and ideas to keep pests from hanging around and spoiling your next backyard cookout.