How to Keep Bugs Out Of A Sandbox, Because Getting Bitten Isn’t Fun

Summertime and sandboxes are a summertime play staple for a reason. Not only can your kiddo play for hours on end digging in the sand, but since the sand should (in theory) stay in the box, it keeps the mess to a minimum. But as your child digs and sifts through the sand, they might not be alone in their play area, since bugs are often attracted to sandboxes, too. And since you don’t want your child to be bitten, you’ll need to know how to keep bugs out of a sandbox so that they can play peacefully.

How long is sand in a sandbox good for? 

Even though it might seem like it can last a long time, sand, in fact, does have a shelf life. “We always recommend new sand every 6 months to a year,’ says Kilgour. “If you are fastidious about keeping the sandbox covered, once a year is fine.” Any longer than that, and you run the risk that the sand could become old or have a potential infestation.

Why do bugs get into a sandbox? 

You’d think with all that air space that bugs could find a better way to spend their time than being in a hot, dry sandbox. Well, think again, because some bugs find sandboxes very appealing, according to Leslie Kilgour, a professional organizer in New York City. “Mosquitos are a very common bug found in sandboxes that are not covered, as the sand holds any moisture from the surroundings (rain, dew, etc), which draws mosquitoes – and also ants!” says Kilgour. But mosquitos aren’t the only insects you can potentially find in a sandbox. “Uncovered sandboxes can definitely lead to ants, mosquitos, spiders, caterpillars, and more,” she says.

Once you’ve got that covered, there are some other steps you can take to keep bugs out of a sandbox, according to Kilgour. For starters, make sure any weeds or high grass around the sandbox are trimmed, to keep bugs at bay. “Feel free to spray some non-toxic bug spray around the perimeter of the sandbox – keeping the bugs out before they enter is key,” she says. “Another easy way to keep bugs out of the sandbox before they come in is to sprinkle cinnamon into the box! Bugs hate cinnamon and it’s safe for use around children, so sprinkle plenty into the sandbox and mix it in – plus, it smells great.” Make it a point to mix the sand in the sandbox frequently to help maintain freshness — and to also check for bugs and prevent them from burrowing and potentially multiplying.

Here’s how to keep a sandbox bug-free during the summer

When your child is done playing in the sandbox, you might make the mistake of leaving it uncovered so that it can air out. And that’s when bugs can make the sandbox their summer AirBnB.The most important part of keeping a sandbox bug-free for summer is getting a snug fit cover – and making sure it’s on tight when the sandbox is not in use,” says Kilgour. “This is so important for a few reasons: it will prevent bugs from getting in the sand, it will prevent rain from getting in the sandbox – as rain leads to moisture, which leads to mosquitos, and it also keeps any other animals from getting into the sandbox, such as stray cats or raccoons!”

This is what to do if you find bugs in your child’s sandbox

Although you don’t want your kiddo playing alongside spiders and other creepy crawlies, you’ll need to assess if the insects have officially invaded your child’s sandbox. “If one or two bugs get into the sand, simply remove them, mix up the sand to check for any more,” advises Kilgour. “If there’s an infestation of ants or mosquitoes, we highly recommend changing out all of the sand.” And if your kiddo accidentally consumes some sand, it probably won’t be a big deal. But if you do notice that there are bugs in the sand — or if you find some feces — then you should call your child’s pediatrician right away.

When it starts getting warm outside, your child will probably want to play in their sandbox. By inspecting it and keeping the sand clean, the only thing your child will do is have a blast — and won’t get bitten by bugs in their sandbox.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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