Summertime always brings a bounty of sunshine and blue skies, warm afternoons, long evenings – and bugs. Flies and gnats proliferate in the hotter months, thanks to an abundance of food in the wild and in our homes. If you don’t like gnats flying in your face or those fat raisin-flies that hang out on the windowsills and buzz you into insanity, try the following tips to naturally rid your home environment of these annoying pests.
1. Take out the trash. If your garbage can or recycling bin is full of drippy ice cream containers, fruit peelings and burned toast, you are presenting an ongoing buffet to any passing gnats or flies. Keep your trash emptied regularly, and make sure to wash out recyclables before you toss them. Buy lidded trash cans to provide a barrier between the bugs and the rubbish bin.
2. Make a compost heap. Better yet, move all your stinky organic refuse to an outdoor compost heap in your backyard, far away from the confines of your home. Flies will be attracted outward and you won’t have any smelly trash inside to lure them in.
3. Clean your trash bins. If you can’t remember the last time you scrubbed down your kitchen trash can and recycling bins, it’s probably a good idea. Clean both the inside and outside of your bins with a natural solution to clear off any food particles and other crusty goop.
4. Keep your sink empty. If you regularly leave dirty dishes in your sink after a meal or snack, you are rolling out the red carpet to a bug infestation. Clean dishes and food up quickly after each meal, and don’t forget to scrub your sink and faucet area and empty any drain catchers.
5. Control air flow. Either keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible to keep bugs outside, or open up your house fully and turn on the fans to create a breeze. Flies and gnats don’t like the wind, and fans also serve the purpose of drowning out that annoying buzzing sound.
6. Put your fruit in the fridge. That bowl of apples and oranges on the countertop looks pretty, but it will attract all kinds of flies and gnats. Most produce stays fresh for longer when refrigerated, so keep it chilled during the summer to stave off the pests.
7. Cover non-refrigerated fruit. Some fruit doesn’t need to be refrigerated, otherwise the quality will suffer. Bananas, avocados and tomatoes don’t like the cold, so cover them in a muslin cloth or dishtowel to protect them from flies and gnats.
8. Decorate with plants that bugs hate. Flies and gnats are repelled by the scent of the citronella plant, and they aren’t too keen on lavender, basil, mint or elderberry either.
9. Trap them with fly paper. If you’ve tried the aforementioned measures and still have too many flies and gnats, fly paper is a natural, if unsightly, solution to the problem. Hang a strip near your kitchen trash can and recycling bin for best results.
10. Kill the bastards. If you are quick and have good aim, the handy flyswatter can be an effective weapon. If not, mount up against the foe with a spray bottle filled with water and two tablespoons of natural dish soap. You can spray a larger target section, and the soap won’t hurt your home – but it will kill the flies and gnats.
Image: John%20Tann">John Tann