House flies and fruit flies (resisting the urge for a time flies pun here) are driving most of us mad this time of the year. Fly paper is pretty disgusting, especially when it gets stuck to your face at two in the morning when you get up to get yourself a glass of water (don't ask...) and you don't want pesticides in your home either.
Luckily, you can make your own fly traps that use items you already have in your home or fly repellents to keep your home fly free.
Fruit Fly Free
Fruit flies breed in drains, so pouring down a half a cup of white vinegar from time to time will keep your drains clean and will kill all the fruit fly eggs.
Put all fruit and vegetables in the fridge to prevent fruit flies from breeding. Remove any garbage and food waste from your home or keep it in a properly sealed trashcan.
Wash fruit and vegetables when you bring them into the home to remove any flies or eggs that may be on the skin.
Fruit Fly Trap
Pour a little apple cider vinegar into the bottom of a glass jar. Cover with cling wrap and poke some holes into it. The fruit flies will be attracted by the fermenting vinegar and will get in through one of your holes, but won't be able to get out again. Adding a few drops of dish washing liquid will break the surface tension of the vinegar so flies die faster.
You can sweeten the deal by adding some fruit to your trap, especially if it's past its due date. Red wine* is also irresistible to fruit flies and at least they get to go out with a bang.
Getting Fly Free
You can prevent flies by cleaning up after every meal, keeping your garbage closed and wiping down your counters so that there are no food sources for flies. Growing basil, lavender or mint on your windowsill can also deter flies and keeping your screens in good working order will prevent them from getting in to your home in the first place.
Cut a two-litre soda bottle in half. Place your bait in the bottom of the soda bottle. This can includefly-trap-31 rotting fruit, honey, sugar or soda. Now turn the top of the bottle upside down and place the spout into the bottom, forming a funnel. Flies (and fruit flies) will come in to feed and won't be able to find the entrance again.
This natural fly spray works on both fruit flies and house flies. Mix 20 drop of lemongrass essential oil with 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle. spray on surfaces to repel flies and give your home a lovely fresh fragrance.
Another way to repel flies is with eucalyptus fly strips. Cut a ribbon into strips. Drop five drops of eucalyptus oil onto each ribbon and hang them above doors and windows to prevent flies from coming in.
*May also bring all the girls to your yard.
This blog was originally posted on Greenmoxie.com.
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One of the main methods of eradicating lice is through suffocation. Though some people swear by substances like Vaseline or mayonnaise, a less messy way to go is olive oil. Coat your child’s head in olive or almond oil, put a shower cap on his or her head and have them sleep with it on. Lice can hold their breath for hours (not kidding), so it’s important to keep the oil on overnight.
Even if you get all the lice smothered, combing is an essential part of being sure you’re egg-free. Reason? You can’t smother lice eggs. The morning after oiling your child’s hair and scalp, separate the hair into sections and go through slowly and methodically with a very fine comb. Make sure you buy a proper lice comb online or from your school's health nurse. Any other comb won't work. Comb out any lice or eggs and dispose of them. (It’s also a good idea to comb through the hair regularly to ensure you’ve really eradicated the problem... and that they don't come back.)
Another natural method of lice-busting involves soaking the hair and scalp in undiluted vinegar (which apparently loosens the eggs’ “glue”), and then coating with conditioner. Once the hair is all goopy with the vinegar/conditioner mix, comb methodically to remove lice and eggs.
Many proponents of natural lice-eradication swear by adding essential oils to shampoos or conditioners. Tea tree oil is a popular choice, as is lavender, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary oil. (Note though, there are no studies that prove essential oils actually help to kill lice). You can also massage the essential oils in after shampooing. When using essential oils, though, be cautious –- they can sting if they get in children's eyes.
It’s important not to share brushes, combs or hats if someone in the house has had lice. Check the heads of other family members. A precautionary comb-through for everyone doesn't hurt. You should also wash bedding and clothing in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Don’t go too nuts with the cleaning though –- remember that lice will die quickly if they don’t find a warm scalp to live on. Focus on the heads in the family (rather than the textiles) and you should be able to say good-bye to pesky lice. At least until the next outbreak. Sigh.
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