Two things happen this weekend that marks the winding down of winter and the coming of spring, Groundhog's Day and the Super Bowl. It doesn't really matter if Pete sees his shadow, we've been down this road before and we know, spring is only a few short weeks away. Perhaps you plan on showing Old Man Winter the door by firing up the grill for Super Bowl Sunday and getting a jump start on the whole "Welcome Back Spring" thing. Might we suggest you spend a few minutes washing down the grates and the drip pan if they were left in the grill? Mice are attracted to free food and if you put off this job last year in hopes of firing the grill up one more time, you might have left a virtual buffet for any local mice to dine on. Do yourself and your family, friends a favor, scrub that grill down before the first grill session of the season.
If you're like a lot of folks, that drip pan in your grill holds a lot more than just grease, you've probably got a few tidbits that have fallen through the grate from time to time. Did you know that there are insects that feed on grease and protein? Ants, wasps/hornets and roaches to name a few, that's why you'll often find a wasp nest somewhere overhead nearby and an ant colony in the ground close by. Wood roaches will take advantage of that free meal if they don't have to travel too far and be exposed to predators for too long, so mind where you stack that wood in comparison to where your grill is.
When it comes to stories about what people find when they open up their grill we've heard most of them from; nests of mice and wasps nests under the lid (picture a face-full of angry bees) to wood roaches scattering as the lid lifts and ants being torched as the burners light. These situations happen more often than people think and they happen to good people who were just hoping to grill a meal for their family. If it's been more than a couple of weeks since you last grilled, no matter what the season, take a few extra minutes and use a bit of caution. During the summer months, tap on the grill before lifting the lid, one or two bees are easier to handle than a whole face-full. Clean the drip tray on a regular basis and if you cover your grill you'll want to give it a little shake before you remove it. Please remember there are very few pesticides that are labeled for use in or around food preparation areas, prevention really is the key.