Natural bug management (slugs, ants, ticks, fleas, fruit flies & ladybugs) & keeping biting ones off you

Boiling water
There are very few annoying problems that can’t be solved by boiling water.
1- Mold. I found mould growing in the top of the garbage can lid. No problem. I poured a kettle’s worth of boiling water over it and that pretty much took care of it.
2- Anthills – boiling water and borax.
3- Weeds growing up through your walkway, boil ‘em; they die.
4- Kiddie pool just a little too cold, one or two kettle’s worth.
NOTE: My aunt is a very specialized nurse and has a washing machine that will boil your clothes. To quote my Microbiology teacher “everything burns”.

for bug control

for bug control

Slugs
1- Throw the ones you find into the fire, a temporary, stop-gap solution.
2- Kid-friendly, effective poison: used coffee grinds or diatomaceous earth (a powder made up of pulverized sea shells. The slugs slide over it and it slices them to death, the coffee grinds work about the same way)
3- Apparently the caffeinated killer is a pot of brewed coffee, but methinks my husband would have a problem with that since he drinks the whole pot.
4- Put the grinds in the watering can, add water and water everything slug prone.
5- Geese or ducks. There are certain breeds of fowl that LOVE slugs. You can borrow them from a farmer or rent them for a day and they will pick your yard clean.
6- Drown them. Bury a glass jar with a wide mouth so the opening is level with the ground and fill it with beer. They’ll drown themselves so fast they’ll solidify into a mass in the container. Replace often.

Attracting Ladybugs
In case you didn’t know, ladybugs are very good for a garden. They eat aphids and entertain children. You can “build” a ladybug habitat by tying a bunch of sticks into a bundle and securing it somewhere safe. The ladybeetles will build their nests in the hollow spaces, spend the winter there and reproduce prodigiously.

Some garden centers sell jars of ladybugs and jars of spiders. Try not to kill spiders in your yard, just relocated them to the corner of the rose bushes.

Ticks
With warmer weather come ticks in our neck of the woods. So far only wood ticks, not the dreaded Lyme disease carrying tiny deer tick. To find a tick: pat anything that itches to make sure it is not an attached tick for if you scratch you risk tearing the head off and leaving it imbedded in your skin. To kill a tick:

1- flush down the toilet

2- wrap in a paper towel and light on fire. They explode. REVENGE!!!

3- put a squirt of dish detergent in a bottle and fill with water. The soap removes the air bubbles from the tick’s legs so it can’t float/swim and crawl out of the container. Yes, they are thin enough to slither out of a closed bottle. This is the best option if you are unsure as to what type of tick you’ve just captured. You can take the dead specimen to your local wildlife office and have them identify it for you.

To remove an imbedded tick: I’ve heard of so many things but honestly the only thing that’s worked for me is to pinch the skin with my nails below where the tick is attached and squeeze it out. Other options:

1- put a dab of Vaseline on the tick, apparently this cuts off the oxygen to the tick and they let go in order to breathe.

2- light and blow out a match. Touch hot end onto tick and the pain makes them skedaddle.

3- soak a cotton ball in dish detergent and rub the tick. The soap irritates and makes them let go, then they get trapped in the fibres of the cotton ball.

Fleas
The very dry summer here has been wonderful for flea breeding. We’ve found a few in our house and they seem way bigger than they did when I was a kid. They’re like a small fruit fly. Anyway, if you manage to catch one in your fingers, open your pinch at the bottom of a large jar of soapy water. Same killing premise as the ticks.

At night, set a flea trap. Fill a white plate with soapy water and lay it on the floor under a lamp. The fleas leap for the light and land in the water to DIE. Vacuum frequently and I’m sorry to say, especially if your vacuum bags cost $5 each, burn the bag or the fleas just crawl out to repopulate.

Fruit flies
Drosophilae have begun materializing all over our house, mostly centered around the compost container. We made a seredipitous discovery of what will attract them to their deaths. A yeast bread starter.

Put some water, tbsp of sugar and tsp of yeast in a bowl. Cover with saran wrap and poke a few holes in it. When the fruit flies fumble into the openings, either flick them down into the barm to drown, or, my favourite, squish them to the side of the bowl. Empty bowl, repeat.

Hubby came up with this when he made pizza dough and the flies were all over the cloth on the rising dough like flies on poo.

Other home remedies work too although not as quickly as this yeast option. Apple cider vinegar, beer or wine in a bowl with holey saran wrap.

Mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums
Conquered by the barbarian bug hordes I had a coup de foudre (French expression for “My God why didn’t have this obviously brilliant thought before?!”) about keeping the bugs out of my ears, hair and neck.

I first tried a bug jacket, which keeps the bugs off your arms, but I couldn’t see enough through the face screen and if I unzipped it, the bugs could get in. The solution is a headscarf, somewhat like a hijaab. It’s tight and protects the hair, neck and most of the face from both the sun and the bugs.

I fold a red beach sarong in half, pin it together à la headscarf with clothespins and put my gardening hat on top to hold the whole thing steady. If I’m burning dead wood I tuck the extra ends inside my shirt. You can use a curtain, tablecloth, or sheet too. I learned how to tie it all together on youtube from makeupaddikt:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Ca4WdAt1Y&feature=relmfu

She’s gorgeous and also shows you how to do the most incredible eye makeup.

It’s not a religious headscarf, it’s a swamp headscarf. I wear a long sleeved shirt and pants to keep the bugs off the rest of me because the bibittes (French for bugs) around here drink bug spray for breakfast then go look for blood.

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