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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

With warm weather comes bugs!

I love summer. I am not a fan of hot weather but i love the atmosphere. Everyone is happy, even if they are hot, it is colourful and there is lots to free activities going on, ready for the summer holiday's. My only gripe.... is the bugs! Masses of them. Wasps in particular drive me up the wall. Luckily for everyone, some genius invented, fly spray, ant killer, bug nets. But the cost of keeping your home bug free can be quite high depending on you're tolerance to the pests.

I have spent several days trawling the net for frugal and effective bug killers or preventives.

Please note not all are my ideas and i have not personally tried them all yet. I just thought i would share to save you some time.

Homemade Bug spray.

This one i have tried. My grandad Used to make it himself in big bottles and stores in a big fridge in the garage to keep bugs away from the greenhouse. His house smells amazing when he makes this!

  • Deionized water/distilled water or if you are really frugal - condensed water from a condenser tumble dryer. (which can also be used in your iron - if clean from fluff and a steam mop)
This can be found in all supermarkets, in the car section or sometimes in the ironing/cleaning aisle for roughly £2 for 2l -5l depending on the brand and store. 
  • Surgical spirit/witch hazel 
My grandad actually used surgical spirit. I have fond memories of not wanting to fall over in his garden for fear of that little bottle and cotton wool being brought out to tend to my graze! It can be found in most pharmacists, boots, and supermarkets and is reasonably priced at around £3-£4 for a 500ml bottle. You do use very little of it. 
  • Peppermint leaves 
Mint is easy to grow but from experience, it just spreads! My grandad plants it in a catering sized coffee tub, with the bottom cut out to stop it spreading. 
  • Citrus rind. (optional)
  • Vanilla (optional)
The kids always leave their  orange peel in their lunchboxes so i make good use of that. 

  1. Place the mint leaves and citrus rind/vanilla if using,  in a pan and cover with water. Then bring to the boil. The amount of leaves you use is down to your personal preference. I use around 2-3 leaves as peppermint is quite strong and i use a small sprig of lavender just to add another scent. Mix well and leave to cool, overnight is preferred *Keep covered to keep volatile oils in*
  2. Strain the herbs and mix the mint water with the surgical spirit and deionized water. - i use around 1 cup surgical spirit and 2 cups deionized water. 
  3. Pour mixture into a squirty bottle and store in the fridge to keep cool. 

Safe to use on plants, skin and makes the surroundings smell lovely.


Most herbs are brilliant insect repellents. I have not personally tried this but apparently it works.

  • Mint - as mentioned is fantastic repellent. Rub fresh or dried leaves on the skin to deter bugs. It is also said to deter mice and ants. 
  • Basil - Like the mint, rub fresh basil leaves on your skin. 
  • Lavender - Hanging sprigs of it around the house not only makes the room smell great but also repels moths. I make little lavender bags to hang in the wardrobe and put it drawers with clothes. 
  • Rosemary - I grow this in a planter near the patio to stop fluttering moths whizzing around the lights at night. Cats hate it too.
  • Vanilla - not strictly a herb but a spray can be made up using just vanilla water and another herb if wished. It is not very long lasting though and would need to check if you skin is sensitive to vanilla essence before using on yourself or family members.  

All natural fly killer 

I found this while browsing the net and have linked the site i found it. 

Really really simple and cheap but not tried and tested by me. For the cost its worth trying yourself. 
  • Zip lock bag
  • Water
  • Pennies (4)
  1. Fill a zip lock bag about half way with water and add 4 pennies. 
  2. Remove as much air as possible and tie the tops with twine. 
  3. Hang in problem fly areas. 
I am not sure how this works if i'm honest but like others i am curious and will be trying it. As our youngest cat still uses a litter tray we have a mass of flies gather in that area! Found at waycooldogs.com 

Wasp trap 

Wasps are the bane of my life in the summer. Can guarantee i will be stung by at least one of the blighters! I found this while browsing too and will be testing it out. It says it will not kill or harm bees which is a bonus as they are ok. 
  • An empty pop bottle - coke, lemonade etc
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  1. Make a mixture of vinegar, salt and sugar. The idea is that is is a sweet and sour mixture. The sweeter the better by the looks of it. Using honey will attract bees so avoid this 
  2. Cut the top off the bottle to form a funnel and place the funnel inside the larger part of the bottle so the funnel is upside down. The funnel provides and easy entry for wasps to get to the sticky liquid but makes it difficult for them to fly back up.
I like this idea, everything is in my home already making this super cheap. The post mentions leaving it out of the rain so maybe only use when planning to be outside. Found at the blog complete garden

    Fly and Ant trap 

    Ants! Need i say more. Horrible things that swarm the house in masses. I tend to murder them by boiling them to death but it does not stop them. Fruit flies are just plain annoying in the warm weather. 

    This one is suitable for Fruit flies. 
    • Jar - the bigger the better. This blog has used a large gherkin sized jar. I am basing this on a bog standard sauce jar. 
    • Paper rolled into a cone
    • Tape
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Slice of banana. 
    1. Pour around 100mls of vinegar into the jar - use more if using a bigger jar. 
    2. Add a small slice of banana. 
    3. Roll the paper into a cone shape and place into the jar. Then secure with tape around the top. 

    This one is suitable for Ants

    • 1 tsp Borax - I have this in my house as its fantastic for homemade washing powder, i believe oxi clean is the same thing though and much cheaper. Borax does last a long time so is worth the investment but the only places i have found it is some boots and some wilkinsons. 
    • 2 cups of hot water 
    • 6 tbsp sugar
    • Folded paper towel 
    • Small shallow dish 
    1. Pour boiling over over the borax and stir in the sugar
    2. place the paper towel into the mixture until completely covered and saturated 
    3. Place in an ant trouble spot for them to eat and take back to the nest.
    Keep out of the way of children and pets if possible,/ 

    After further googling i also found that 1 Tbsp Jam/honey/syrup can be used in place of the sugar/water. The borax is what kills the ants and the sweet stuff is what attracts them. 

    Both found at Passionate Homemaking 

    Wasp Repellent

    I saw this on a facebook group but i have seen this at some outdoor parties in the past, but stupidly never asked why they used lemons like this. I am basing this one a table in the garden for an average sized family, more tables = more lemons. 
    • 1 Lemon
    • Whole cloves - available in most supermarkets for between £1- £3 a bag
    1. Cut the lemon in half 
    2. Stuff whole cloves into it (leaving the top of the clove poking out) 
    3. Place in a bowl clove slide up and put on the the table when you are eating, 
    Wasps hate the smell, I think i will try this when i have a BBQ next month. 

    Plants that repel bugs 

    If you prefer the idea of planting things to repel bugs away from your planting areas then here is a few i have found that are great at doing just that. Some can be brought indoors and dotted around in pots for the home. 
    • Lemongrass - Great for keeping mosquito's away
    • Catnip - Not so great if you have a cat but is supposed to keep all sorts of bugs away 
    • Geraniums - Apparently good at warding off beetles
    • Mint - As mentioned in above posts. Have been told mint leaves are toxic to dogs. 
    • Garlic - Wasps hate it. Plant near roses to keep bugs off them. Have also been told Garlic may repel fleas too. 
    • Chrysanthemums (the ones that look like Daisy's) - Repels most bugs. 

    As with all plants, if you have pets you should find out what is poisonous to them.

    I will be trying out the ones i have not tried yet. Here's to a bug free summer :D




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