How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap for the Home

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap for the HomeThe picture on the left shows how to make a fruit fly trap for the home. It is pretty simple really. All you need is a glass jar some over ripe fruit, some tape and a piece of paper. Put the fruit in the bottom of the jar. Coil the paper into a cone and place it in the jar as shown with the narrow end down. Seal the gap around the jar with tape and you have your first fruit fly trap. These work pretty well, but what do you do with the fruit flies when they are all in the jar. I guess you take them outside and let them go, or perhaps drown them with water. Don’t forget to dispose of the fruit in the garbage and seal the bag. There will probably be eggs on the surface of the fruit which will hatch within 8 days and then you have a whole new set of fruit flies buzzing around and bothering you.  There are other types of traps to consider.

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap for the Home

Another approach is to place some cider vinegar in a bowl. Add a drop of dish soap to the vinegar. This breaks the surface tension of the liquid which causes the flies to sink to the bottom and drown. Not only do you catch them, you also kill them preventing any further egg laying by the adults. This is one of the best ways to get rid of fruit flies.

Aside from trapping fruit flies, the best way to get rid of them is to get rid of potential food sources. Wipe cupboards, counter tops etc of fruit flies, you w to make sure there are no crumbs left over. Throw out all overripe fruit and seal the garbage bag. If you have a lot of fruit fly’s you may have to build several traps to capture all of them.

How to Get Rid of Ants

How to Get Rid of AntsThis year ants have invaded our yard building nests wherever they can. We have interlocking stones for our patio and they just love to build their nests under these with the entrance between the joints and lots of sand excavated on top. Sand even gets washed into the pool when it rains and we have found thousands of ants in the pool which get cleaned up by the pool skimmer. We are doing research to figure out what we can do and have also tried a variety of chemicals to get rid of them in addition to natural solutions. The only thing that seems to work is the real stuff, Raid!

How to Get Rid of Ants

Basically if the ant entrance is between the bricks, I spray raid all around the entrance and into the entrance. This kills them almost immediately! If the ant hill is in the lawn or around shrubs, we have used a lawn spray that is mixed with water to kill the ants and many other insects including grubs. We have a grub problem also so this solution does double duty in killing the ants as well as grubs.

But it is a never ending battle. It is impossible to get rid of all of them and they just keep breeding and creating new ant nests. You see there is a little leaf linden in our back yard that is infested with aphids. The tree is far to big to spray and the ants just love the aphids as well as the sweet sap that leaks from the leaves. This as it turns out is one of their primary food sources and provides a breeding ground as well as lots of food for them to consume.

The best we can do is control the number of ant hills we have. By the way we also placed ant traps near the entrances to our home inside so that any ants that do come in find the traps and take the poison back to the nest. At best we have ongoing skirmishes with no one really winning the battle.

Best Garden Bed Edging Tips

Best Garden Bed Edging TipsAdding edging to your garden improves the overall look of your lawn and your garden as well as providing separation between the two. We found that it was much easier to mow the lawn with this particular type of edging since you can rest one wheel of the lawn mower on the stones. The stones are flush with the level of the lawn. Also when it comes to trimming the grass along the edge it is much easier as well to create a nice defined edge to the lawn. The brick is actually pavers that were left over from another landscaping project. We did not bother with a gravel base. We just removed the amount of grass and earth we needed and placed the stones in place. Since they do not need to support any weight and we also want the pavers to move with the level of the grass, this works really well and is very easy to install. We tried this approach in another area of our property last year and it has worked quite well. the pavers have not moved and they do the job of separating the lawn and garden very well. It is an inexpensive way to create a really nice environment in your lawns and gardens.

Best Garden Bed Edging Tips – Types

There are a variety of edging materials in addition to the one that is shown in the picture. Many people use a flexible rubber liner that is placed partially in the ground and extends an inch above the ground level. While this works effectively, it is more difficult to cut along the edge and it also means that you have to use an edger more often to keep the grass from getting over grown along the edge. You can use any kind of edging, however you will need to take into account how easy or difficult it is to mow the lawn and maintain the edging. We have tried this approach in past years and found that the plastic liner rises over time and becomes a nuisance. We would rather not use this liner at all.

Best Garden Bed Edging Tips – Maintenance

The stone edging that is shown in the picture requires virtually no maintenance. In was installed over one year ago and only one stone needed a slight adjustment over that period of time. The flexible rubber liner we had previously had to be readjusted almost every year. My money is on the paver stones for long term maintenance and overall look and feel. If you are concerned about the cost, check for sales and left over pavers in the fall at building supply stores. If a neighbor is replacing his patio, (this happened in our area), ask if you can have the pavers. They likely will be thrown out so why not reuse them to create a great looking edge for your lawn.

Garden Edging Tips

Garden Edging TipsOver the years we have tried a variety of garden edging solutions and found that really only one stood the test of time in our opinion. We have used the black vinyl edge which comes in a coil and has to be uncoiled and inserted partially into the ground in order to hold it in place. It does not look too bad the first year, but after that it tends to become more exposed as the ground settles or the frost causes it to heave up. Our solution at that point is to either remove it or re-install it. We are not fond of either solution so we just do not use it any longer.

We have also tried just using a shovel to provide a clean edge, and it looks great for the first week, they it either rains and fills in the edge, the grass grows and it just starts looking unkempt. With the pavers, we just use the grass edger or whipper snipper to cut the grass back to provide a nice clean edge.

Garden Edging Tips – Natural Edge

We have also tried just creating a natural edge with a shovel or actually a spade. This works not too badly, however at least twice a year you have to go around and re-edge the lawn and the garden to make it look neat and tidy. Mowing the lawn is problematic. Either the wheel of the lawn mower goes into the groove you have cut or the lawn mower must be left back from the edge a little bit leaving an edge of long grass that has to be trimmed with a trimmer. This is more work and does not always look great.

Garden Edging Tips – Use Patio Stones

We have found the best solution is to use patio stones ans an edge. Install then flush to the grass level. They provide a hard flat surface to place the wheel of your lawn mower on so that grass is cut to the edge  of the patio stones. At times we also use an edger to trim the grass if it begins to encroach over onto the patio stones.

The picture shows the installation and it has been in place for several years. As you can see these patio stones look great and they also have not moved. They were installed simply by removing the grass and some of the soil to allow a flush installation with the grass level. A base of crushed stone was not added as most experts might call for. The simple reason is that this edging is not a walkway and there is no weight placed on it. If it does move a bit, it probably will move with the level of the grass. all you need to do is take a few minutes and re-level it if needed.

Using Pavers for Garden Edging

Using Pavers for Garden EdgingWe had a number of patio stones left over from a patio that we built some years ago and were wondering what we should do with them. As you can see from the picture we are using pavers for garden edging to separate the lawn from the garden. They provide a nice border that separates the two and makes it easy to cut and trim the lawn as well. As you can see from the picture they provide a nice aesthetic addition to the property when they are used in relatively small areas. Installation is relatively easy compared to installing these same stones in a patio or a retaining wall by comparison.

Using Pavers for Garden Edging – Installation

These particular stones do not even have a base of crushed stone. All we did was remove some of the grass and soil to the appropriate depth and place the stones as shown in this picture. These stones in this picture have been in place for roughly four years and have not moved. They do not need to support anything and they do not need to stay flat. Instead we want them to move with the lawn as it shifts over time. This saves a great deal of work as well as expense. If there was a retaining wall or if this was a walkway, we would have to excavate down to at least 18 inches and then fill with crushed stone that was then compacted. Not so with this simple border as a garden edging. They have not really moved in any noticeable way over the four years. It makes cutting and trimming the lawn very easy as a result.

Using Pavers for Garden Edging – Benefits

One of the benefits to edging such as this is that it is a lot easier to cut the lawn. We just run one wheel of the lawn mower along the stones and cut the lawn at the proper height. There is no damage to any plants, the soil is not disturbed and if you use mulch it does not get picked up and distributed over the lawn.

From time to time we need to trim the grass since it begins to encroach over the stones. This task is also much easier as well since the pavers or patio stones  provide a nice flat surface with a well defined edge to trim too. Consider this approach as a simple means of establishing garden edging. Using pavers for garden edging is relatively inexpensive as well, especially when you have some left over from other projects. They also add a decorative look to your lawn.

How to Get rid of Aphids

How to Get rid of AphidsOne of the best ways to get rid of aphids that have infested your flowers next to using a pesticide of some kind  is to use soap spray. The picture that is included with this post is from our garden and the flowers and the leaves were just infested with aphids by the thousands. Not only is it not a pretty site, the flowers and the plants will quickly show signs of stress if something is not done quickly. By stress we mean they will begin to turn brown and eventually die  if something is not done about all of these aphids. If the leaves begin to curl you probably have aphids on the inside of the leaves. Just uncurl the leaves to check them out and confirm what you already know is attacking them.

When you first notice the aphids on your flowers, it can be a bit sickening to see so many of these insects crawling around on your flowers and on the leaves.  While it is not nice to look at, they will not hurt you in any way and you just need to get on with the job if removing them.

How to Get rid of Aphids – Use a Soap Mixture

We tried using soap with some success. They were reduced but not totally eliminated and we had to use several treatments before we really made an impact on the number of aphids on these flowers. You will want to use a spray bottle that is left over from some other liquid. Make sure you clean it out and rinse it thoroughly before using it for the flowers. You do not want to accidentally kill your flowers by spraying Windex or some other liquid on them which would be harmful to the plants. Once you have your spray bottle follow the directions outlined below and be prepared to apply several applications of the mixture to the flowers to get the best results.

Mix the following in a spray bottle:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 drops of liquid dish soap
4 cups warm water

Shake well, and spray the leaves and steams of infected plants and surrounding plants to get rid of a current aphid problem. Spray weekly to keep new ones away. Also try to make sure that you spray the top side of the leaves and flowers as well as the underside. There are just as many aphids on the under side of the flowers and leaves and you need to get rid of all of them to ensure that they do not harm the plants.

Safety tip: The first time I made this solution I used way too much dish soap and it burned the leaves of my flowers. You really only need a couple of drops of soap in the spray bottle. You may also need to apply the soap mixture several times and soak the leaves each time.


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