Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me...

Hello, friends!
It's been a while! Hubby (Farmer John) and I just returned from our belated honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. I realize it's been ages since I last posted, but CK and Fancy Pantsy do such a great job at keeping the blog going that I knew you'd have lots of interesting things to read about and that you wouldn't miss us at all!

While we were in the Dominican Republic, Hubby and I both noticed that we had not seen a single mosquito while we were there! Granted, it was not mosquito season, but in the back of my mind I always think about these things. Trust me, I love traveling, but when in the Caribbean or South America, I often think about Malaria, Hepatitis, travelers' diarrhea, etc.
Hubby noticed that early one morning, the gardeners at the resort sprayed the shrubs, plants and trees with insecticide. Living in the countryside, I know how pesky some insects can be. We have a few weeks in June when mosquitoes and blackflies are out. We also grow our own produce and I used to struggle with grubs and other insects eating our fruits and veggies.

I don't like to use chemicals if I can avoid using them. Here are a few things that naturally lessen the annoyance of those persistent little bugs!

  • A few drops of eucalyptus oil on a scrap of absorbant cloth will deter flies. Leave in areas where flies are a problem.
  • Use mint as a fly repellent. Small sachets of crushed mint can be placed around the home to discourage flies.
  • Bay leaves, cloves and eucalyptus wrapped in small cheesecloth squares can be hung by open windows or doors.
  • If you're using the barbeque, throw a bit of sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitos.
  • An effective natural bug repellent, mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 - 6 hours. Strips of cotton cloth can also be dipped in this mixture and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent.
  • Planting marigolds around your yard works as a natural bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance bugs and flying insects do not like.
  • Keep a small spray bottle handy, and spray the ants with a bit of soapy water.
  • Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to cucumber. Bitter cucumbers work best.
  • Leave a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active. Dry, crushed mint leaves or cloves also work as ant deterrents.
  • Trace the ant column back to their point of entry. Set any of the following items at the entry area in a small line, which ants will not cross: cayenne pepper, citrus oil (can be soaked into a piece of string), lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds.
Fruit flies:
A few months ago, we had a fruit fly problem and I tried this trick. It really works! A girlfriend of mine told me that her mom puts a bit of cider vinegar or red wine (I suppose anything fruity will do) into a glass and then makes a funnel out of a piece of paper and snips off the end so that the funnel fits snugly into the glass. The fruit flies are drawn to the sweet liquid and enter via the paper funnel, but are not able to find a point of escape. They eventually get tired from struggling and just drown. Keep the cider vinegar solution out for a few days and your fruit fly problem should be gone in no time.

Now that Spring has sprung here and the weather is getting milder, soon the bugs will be out. Hopefully some of these tips will prove useful ;)


Fruitful Vine said...

Just popping in to say a quick hello. My computer was under repairs for the past week. I'm glad you had a good vacation in the Dominican Republic. The tip on keeping ants at bay is definitely going to be used by me. Have a great day. It was good meeting you at the Blog Party.

C. K. said...

Garlic and water? Great tip! I'll totally use that. I don't like using chemicals either.

Welcome back!

C said...

Fruitful Vine:
Thanks! :) My parents have an ant problem in their kitchen every Spring.

Missed ya! Still suffering withdrawal from the Dominican! It was nice to be pampered for a week! I guess it's also nice to be back home and getting back into the swing of things...if I must! *sigh*

Cherry said...

We occasionally have a little fruit fly issue at our house and I use the vinegar in a glass trick. I don't go to the trouble of the funnel though, just a small glass with a few cm of vinegar.