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July 22, 2013

Don’t be Bothered by Bugs. ~ Linda V. Lewis

This is the time of year when we want to be outside and not be bugged by flies or any flying or creepy-crawly things that bite or look like they might.

But, think for just a moment:

Are all insects obnoxious?

Consider the beauty of the diurnal butterfly with its brightly colored wings or the nocturnal firefly with its magical bright, intermittent light. Or, consider the precious honeybee that, after pollinating fields of food for us, stores the nectar and turns it into the sweetness we then steal.

Most insects, if not all, are beneficial and important to our interdependent ecosystems.

But yes, occasionally some are a nuisance—like when ants come into the house.

So, what to do?

If you can find the point of entry, there are many things you can do to discourage ants:

1. Tabasco sauce.

Put a bit of Tabasco sauce in a spray bottle of water and spray the outside area where they enter.

2. Coffee grounds.

For a garden entrance, apply coffee grounds to the area, which discourages ants, as caffeine, like speed, causes them to lose their single line formation and get disoriented!

3. Plant mint.

As much as we love the herb, ants dislike it. In Boulder, Waylon and I had mint around the south and eastern part of our home and never had ants in doors!

4. Baking soda.

I have also found that if ants come in a window, baking soda discourages them. You can make a paste of it with water, or just put a small “fill hole” where they come in. If your windows and sills are white, this is invisible to the human eye.

Okay then, what about slugs and snails eating your garden?

1. Eggshells.

Grind eggshells, which are good for the garden, esp. if you have roses and bulbs, but are very rough on the smooth undersides of slugs and snails. They’ll tend to avoid a garden with bits of eggshells like we avoid glass under our bare feet.

2. Grapefruit.

If you are really, really plagued by them, and have already tried eggshells, cut a grapefruit in half and have it for breakfast; put the hollowed half in the garden with a bit of beer in the hollowed “bowl”. And the slugs and snails will have a blissful (burp) exit.

Now for the supreme challenge—flies at night when you’re trying to enjoy a quiet summer evening or a fun party.

Because flies have many facets to their eyes, a clear plastic bag of water with pennies in it disorients and confuses them. I don’t really understand how this works, but it works.

I hope these methods help to avoid folks using toxic chemicals, which kill more than the intended nuisance and actually come back to bite us humans worse than the perceived “enemy” bug.

 

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Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Pinterest}

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Linda V. Lewis