A Natural Way to Repel Insects from Your Patio Table Without Insecticides
If you have a patio table with an umbrella, but can't enjoy it because of mosquitoes, one simple, quick and relatively inexpensive solution is a mosquito net that fits over the umbrella.
Netting is safer for your family and the environment than chemical repellents or sprays that contain insecticides, but, unfortunately, it's not quite as convenient as getting rid of the mosquitoes completely. Still, it works nicely, and has the advantage that it keeps out flies, yellowjackets and other annoying bugs too. With diseases like West Nile Virus starting to occur, keeping mosquitoes away is more important than ever.
If you want to sit around a patio table in the evening without being bitten, and aren't as interested in roaming elsewhere in a backyard, this is great solution. If you're planning lots of back-and-forth trips from the barbecue or the pool to the table, zipping and unzipping the netting can be a hassle.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Different brands have different advantages and disadvantages, but most share the same basic design and therefore the same good and bad points.
- Keeps out 100% of bugs, as long as the net is undamaged and secure.
- No pesticides to harm you or the environment.
- One-time cost, no refills or ongoing expenses.
- Meant to fit over your existing patio umbrella and table, so no frame to set up.
- Dogs and young children need taught to treat the netting gently.
- Only protects the patio table area and makes access slightly more difficult.
- Nets weighted at the bottom with a water-filled tube can leak
- Can be damaged by high wind, so needs taken down in bad weather (though you're probably already out there doing that with your umbrella anyway).
Ways to Overcome the Disadvantages
If you purchase an umbrella net that has a tube to fill with water around the bottom to weight it down, the tubes are notorious for leaking, regardless of the brand you buy. You may be lucky and get a sturdy one, but if yours develops a leak, you can still use the net without filling the tube. That worked well for me on perfectly calm days, which were also the worst mosquito days, so that was a happy coincidence. But any good breeze would blow the bottom around.
Someone suggested adding sand to the tube, rather than water. It adds the necessary weight while eliminating the leak problem. But the sand isn't "self-leveling" like water, so it can clump on one side, and needs shaken around.
Do-it-yourselfers who have an old garden hose could add it around the bottom, with a screw-on cap at each end. A chain would also weight it down. If you're using water, don't fill the tube too full, so if someone steps on it, there's room for the tube to smush down and spring back without bursting.
Here's another modification you might want to make, if the netting is the kind with a drawstring or elastic around the top. When you lower the umbrella, it won't necessarily stay on. A couple of cords tied from the net to the knob at the top of the umbrella will keep it hanging in place when you close the umbrella.
Treat the Netting Gently
The leaky tube around the bottom is the main disadvantage that people report with these umbrella nets. Probably the second one is the net being fragile. It's thin, of course, so you do have to be careful of it, and a big bouncy dog headed for the table can paw right through it to get to you, the first time he encounters it, if you're not careful. But treated with care, the netting will easily last a season or more. That means you'll need to take it down when the wind is whipping it around, or worse yet, if there's a threat of hail--yikes! But a gentle rain won't hurt it.
If the netting doesn't come all the way to the ground, bugs will get under it, of course. Most nets will fit fine on a 7-foot umbrella, but if you have a 9-foot one, especially if it has a high pole, avoid nets with reviews complaining that they're not big enough.
You might think that being inside the netting would make it harder to see out, or feel claustrophobic, but the black nets in particular block the view less than one might think, no more than tinted windows in a car. The white nets are a little more visible.
I don't want to sound too negative, because these nets really do work, creating a wonderful mosquito-free haven so you can sit and enjoy the evening outside, alone or with friends.
Remember, all these are designed to fit over the umbrella you already have, so the umbrella, table, etc. are not included, but that's what makes them less expensive than a free-standing screen house or gazebo.
Texsport Umbrella Net Doesn't Use Water Weight, So No Leaks
This net has one big advantage over most others--it doesn't use a water-filled tube to weight down the bottom. That means no risk of leakage, which is a major problem with the water design. The main complaint is that it's small on a large umbrella.
If you have a 7-foot diameter umbrella, the size shouldn't be a problem, but people with 9-foot umbrellas have complained the net isn't long enough to reach the ground. If you're really looking for a net without the water weight but have a 9-foot umbrella on a tall pole, you may need to lower the pole or close the umbrella a little way.
Otherwise, the design and quality are similar to other nets. It has a zipper entrance and black netting, which is less noticeable than white when looking from the inside out. Like all similar umbrella nets, the mesh fabric needs treated gently to get the most use out of it, but is as sturdy as others.
Now for the big difference: the bottom weight. The bottom circumference is about 20" less than the Sid Trading umbrella net, listed first above, but that figures out to only about 6" less in diameter. Instead of having a tube you fill with water, the base is a sleeve, that you slide poles into. Maybe not quite as easy as filling with water, but guaranteed not to leak! One thing to keep in mind is to either set it on a level base, such as patio pavement, or try to avoid stepping hard on the edge over a low spot in the grass, because the poles could break. You can also stake the bottom down, if the poles don't provide enough weight.
"Says it fits a nine-foot umbrella but it hung a foot off the ground. Needed to close the umbrella a little, then it worked fine. I could set it up by myself."
"Bought this after my last patio net died and was tired of messing with the leaky bottom. The poles were a hassle to get in, but once in, no worries! Much better than the water filled kind."
"We have a 7-ft umbrella and this is fine and roomy. The zipper looks sturdy and works smoothly. Being able to stake it down helps when it gets breezy."
"Has lasted two seasons. Durable and a good value. Only thing I don't like is it comes off when you lower the umbrella."
Umbrella Table Screen by Garden Creations is Adjustable, Keeps Bugs Out
This net has a drawstring top so it fits over a variety of umbrella sizes, but is large enough for a nine-foot-diameter umbrella. The black net has a zipper entrance to seal out insects, and a tube around the bottom that you can fill with water to weight the bottom of the netting in place. As usual for all table screens, there are complaints that the tube has a tendency to leak.
The price is reasonable, and the quality is equal to netting of similar or higher prices. Like all umbrella netting, the mesh itself needs treated with care, but its strength is comparable to similar products.
The drawstring top allows the netting to be adjusted so it hangs close to the edge of larger umbrellas, leaving more netting between the umbrella and the ground. The adjustability is good, but there's more chance of it slipping off if the net is adjusted near the edge of the umbrella.
"Takes two people to set up, since you have to work the drawstring, and it falls off the umbrella whenever you close it, so you need to set it up each time you open the umbrella. Zipper works smooth. Expected it to leak but ours doesn't."
"The tube leaked when I first filled it. Was going to send it back but liked the rest of the net, and saw that leakage was a problem no matter what brand, so just fill the tube part way and love it."
"Doesn't fit 9 foot umbrella, needed to partially close it. Wish it came with more instructions. Otherwise good. When it wears out I'll buy a bigger one."
"Lasted one season but for the price can't complain. Cheaper than buying bug spray all summer and no health concerns. Will buy another next spring. It wore through where the net hung over the edge of the umbrella. In hindsight, maybe could adjust the drawstring differently each time, put the strain on different parts of the net, not always the same place. We left it set up most of the summer."
"Patched the water reservoir with a patch for inflatable toys and no problem since. This will be our second season with it. The black color is hardly visible, you don't feel shut in at all."
Umbrella Mosquito Net by Sid Trading Is a Generous Size
This black umbrella mosquito net is one of the larger sizes. The price is comparable to other similar nets. It's 472" inches in circumference around the bottom, 87" high, and 118" at the top. It has a zippered entrance.
The durability of the mesh netting is good, but like most similar mosquito netting, it can tear if not treated gently. The main complaint is the usual one for similar products: it has a tube you fill with water to weight down the bottom, and the tube can leak.
Other than the problem with the leaky tube, which is hard to avoid in any brand, this is my personal favorite for its size, its black color, a comparable price and its general construction. This will fit over a nine-foot umbrella and allow room for four chairs comfortably.
"My daughter is allergic to bees, which of course love pop and anything sweet we eat outside, so we bought this net mainly for that reason, but in the evening, it's great to keep the mosquitoes away without foggers or sprays. You do need to be careful of the net, but I sewed up a small tear made by the back of a chair with needle and thread, no problem."
"I already read other reviews so wasn't surprised when the bottom tube leaked, but we just don't bother to fill it, and it stays in place okay without."
"This is nice and roomy. You can hear the mosquitoes buzzing outside, but they can't get in. Their frustration makes me happy, is that wrong? LOL You do need to take it down before a heavy rain and windstorm, haven't left it up during one but doubt it would survive intact. The black color is less noticeable than white so I like the look of it better on the patio."
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