How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Fast and Easy

Here’s my one and only fruit fly trap for getting rid of fruit flies easily:

* one fourth cup apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, add

* 1 tsp. Dawn dishwashing liquid

Spray a small amount of water in the bowl so the dish soap foams, then put it where the fruit flies are.  Come back in about an hour and inspect. You’ll be surprised that they’ll all be in there – at the bottom of the bowl.

This is the method for getting rid of fruit flies that I use every year.  It’s fast, simple and works every time!

Planting Your Garden: The First Steps

Spring hopefully, is just around the corner and in anticipation you might be getting ready for some planting or pruning action. I know my husband is, he just pruned the roses, which I thought weren’t supposed to be done until March, but he says any time after President’s day is fine (unless you’re in one of those states that keeps getting hit by snow, then you better hold off a little while longer.)

But if you’re in Seattle (like us), or somewhere just a little warmer, now is the time to start your baby seedlings indoors and watch them grow, flourish, and become big and strong enough to take on the outdoors.

You can begin with seeds from a packet or seeds from last year’s harvest, or you can even take the easy road and purchase pre-sprouted seedlings from your local gardening supply shop. Whichever you choose, you’ll be watching over these little darlings in their first days and weeks of tender life, and that’s a precious time for any gardener.

So first of all, make sure that you have a safe, warm area for your seedlings, one which receives at least six hours of sunlight per day and won’t be knocked over by family members or wayward pets. Usually a window ledge or top of a bookshelf will do nicely.

Once you have the spot picked out, it’s time to set up the nesting area.

Ooh, speaking of nesting, if you have problems with birds (or other creatures) outside being where they don’t belong, here’s a site I just found that can take care of that problem. Get Rid of Birds Here.

OK, anyway, back to the PLANT nesting. . .

You can use a variety of containers for seedlings, anything from a black-plastic flat to Dixie cups to egg cartons. Last year Jeff bought a warmed seedling hatchery.  It was a long flat seedling planter that you plugged in and kept the little plants warm.  Worked pretty well!

But if you don’t have one of those, you’ll really be starting from scratch. So here’s what you need to do: Fill your containers with a little gravel in the bottom to assist with drainage and to keep the container from tipping over easily.

Then fill them the rest of the way with soil, and pop in seeds. Moisten each thoroughly, and cover them tightly with plastic wrap. This will help retain warmth and moisture, and quicken their growth.

Now all they need is sunlight, continual gentle moisture, and time. After a few days, or up to a week depending on the type of plant, you should see little sprouts beginning to peek through the soil. At this point you can remove the plastic wrap and say hello to your new precious babies!

If you haven’t gotten your seeds yet, Gardeners Supply still has their sale going on – Free Shipping at Gardeners Supply.

Bird Control Products Online | Electronic, Sonic Bird Repellers

How to Get Rid of Ground Moles

mole1.jpgJeff and I were watching our favorite gardening show “Gardening by the Yard” and we learned a few tricks from Paul James on how to get rid of ground moles.

These are harmless to humans, and would be worth a try if you don’t have a shotgun that you can shoot the little buggers with (not that we do that, of course)!

Here’s just a few:

Caster Oil Granules (or a solution of Castor oil and water)- Put these in and around the ground mole hole. They slowly dissolve and the smell scares moles (and gophers) away. If you want to show them the way out, apply the granules to the farthest point first, then when they move on, apply to the next section, and the next, until they’re in your neighbors yard (I’m sure HE has a shotgun!) Just kidding, hopefully they’ll just find another home when they get to the “door.”

Human Urine and Water – Works like the Castor oil does, but be sure to hide the shotgun if you’ve been drinking beer in order to obtain enough “poison” to cover all the mole holes.

Setting Harpoon Traps seems to work the best – you need to put them by the main tunnel for the best chance of a catch.

Nematodes or microscopic worms are bacterial sprays that eliminate the grubs, which are mole food. It may or may not work, since moles also eat earthworms, so you’ll have to test this one.

DO NOT try fumigation by attaching a hose to the exhaust of the lawn mower. This doesn’t work, and the smell might just frustrate you enough to get out the shotgun again.

OK, I’m really not sure when I decided to go for the shotgun angle, but I thought it might just add some humor into an otherwise very irritating subject.

Good Luck removing moles from YOUR yard!

Mole Control is HERE!


Are Bug Zappers Bad for the Environment?

Bug Zappers – I hate them!  Most people hate them, but since there are so many bugs flying around the lights in the summertime, there seems to be no other choice.

I don’t get it though – they make me nervous.  You are aware of every bug that is killed and you can hear it frying on the light, I HATE them.  I remember one year at my mom’s house in South Dakota there was an infestation of moths (it seems like there’s something new there every year, one time it was grasshoppers, then snakes, and now a drought and very bad sticker bushes), anyway, the moths were so bad, we decided to put up a bug zapper.  I’ll tell you, I never heard so much zapping and saw so many “feathers” flying!  We almost started a fire!

That’s not exactly a funny story, but it is true.  The problem with the zappers though is they can destroy the beneficial insects that keep the harmful insects away, and this makes the problem even worse.

The best thing to do is to try to get rid of any standing water you have around, and maybe even try the mosquito larva killer if you have a pond.  Fish in a pond will also eat mosquito larva, so that’s an even better option.

Gardener's Supply Company

Tick Removal

I received this in my email box this morning, and it sounds like a better way to remove ticks then with a hot tweezers, which we always used at “home” in South Dakota!

Tick Removal:

FYI — A  School Nurse has written the info below  — good enough to share:

I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a tick. This is great , because it works in those places where it’s sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball.  Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it’s own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.
This technique has worked every time I’ve used it (and in KY, that was frequently), and it’s much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me.  Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can’t see that this would be damaging in any way.

I even had my doctor’s wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn’t reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, “It worked!”

More resources can be found at the Ecology Shop.

Ants on Peonies – Love Um and Leave Um , But Attack the Earwigs!

I have a Peony plant by my front door, it’s beautiful when in bloom, but every year I want to get the spray out and get rid of all of the ants on it.  But I don’t. 

You see, the ants that accumulate on Peonies are eating a substance produced by the plant, which they enjoy very much, and because they are on the plant, the plant is protected from predators.  So it’s a win-win situation.

Earwigs, however, are another story!  I was driving to work one day with a handful of Peonies in my car when suddenly I noticed earwigs crawling out of them!  I stopped and began shaking them off feverously.  This was my first contact with those little monsters, and they scared the crap out of me! 

Earwigs are beneficial because they eat predators such as the  insect larvae of cutworms and snails, but they also eat everything else! 

To get rid of these beasts, roll up a damp newspaper and leave it on the ground where you suspect the earwigs are munching.  They will crawl into the paper and start feasting, and then you can put them into a bucket of soapy water in the morning and kill them.  You can also put saucers of fish oil in the garden.  They will go in for a drink, get covered in oil and drown.



P.S.  It’s only a myth that earwigs crawl into your ears and attack your brain, driving you crazy – but they can drive you crazy if you discover them while driving!

Surprisingly Harmless, Natural ways to Repel Mosquitoes…

I think I mentioned once that if you have a garden pond with fish in it, your fish will eat mosquito larva, which will cut down on the mosquitoes as a whole, but I’m sure some of them will still get away.  Therefore, since summer’s coming on, I thought I would give you a few tips that I found to repel those nasty creatures!  Some of these may surprise you, and I haven’t tried all of them, but it’s worth a look!

For other pest control, Click Here.  For Mosquitos here are a few goodies.

Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets…just wipe on & go…Great for babies!
There is a fisherman who takes one vitamin B-1 tablet a day April through October. He swears by it and hasn’t had a mosquito bite in 33 years. Everyone he has talked into trying it says it works. Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg.)
Don’t eat Bananas!  Your body does something to the banana oil as it processes. Stop eating bananas for the summer and the mosquitoes will be much less interested.
One of  the best insect repellents someone found (who is in the woods every day), is Vicks’ Vapor rub.
Plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like (I can believe that!) Plant some in that garden also to help ward off bugs without using insecticides.
“Tough guy” Marines who spend a great deal of time “camping out” say that the very best mosquito repellant you can use is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol. I’ve never heard about the alcohol part before, I tend to want to drink my alcohol!
Last but not least – one of the best natural insect repellants seems to be made from the clear real vanilla. This is the pure Vanilla that is sold in Mexico. It works great for mosquitoes and ticks.  I guess I better go to Mexico and get me some! 

If fish, vitamins, and skin care don’t work -get a frog – LOL!

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Get Rid of Slugs the Natural Way – Invite Them to Happy Hour!

While February is usually the time to start looking for slugs because they are smaller (and have not eaten all your plants yet), it’s never to late to test a few natural slug-eliminating techniques before you try slug bait.  Slug bait works, but unfortunately it also kills animals.  Yes, dogs, cats, birds and squirrels are at risk, and the chemical bait can also be harmful to children!

So, try this first


No one knows exactly why, but slugs love beer!  It might be fun to do a little experiment and drink a different beer every night, sharing some with your slug trap to see what they like best.  This will put a little enjoyment into your slug problem. 

Anyway, to use beer, just pour an inch or two into a cottage cheese container (or any plastic container) close the lid, then cut notches in the top of the lid.  Slugs like to squeeze into small places, so getting into the container will be great fun for them!

Then, bury the container in the ground where you have discovered slug trails, leaving the container lid at least an inch above the ground so they will fall into it.  Remember that it is the beer that will kill the slug, and not being trapped in the container, so if your slugs are pretty big, you will want to use more beer – and change it about once a week. 

Hopefully your slugs aren’t too big, and you’ll have some beer left for yourself for Happy Hour!


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