My grandmother was a very frugal woman who often told me “if you will mind your pennies your dollars will mind themselves.” I hope to share here some of her wisdom and the wisdom of others I have learned over the years

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It’s a fact of life, whether you live in the city or in the country insects are going to sooner or later visit your home.  For most of us it’s fruit flies from over ripe fruit, for others it’s far more serious with the dangers of an allergic reaction from a wasp sting.  Then of course fleas and mosquitoes are a part of life as well.

Poisons line the store shelves every day, all guaranteeing to free you from these unwanted visitors.  Those, however, can become expensive fast and quite frankly I’m not fond of having so many chemicals in my home.

Living in the middle of cattle country surrounded by cedar trees and being big eaters of fresh fruits and vegetables flies, wasps, and fleas are among our biggest problems each year.

With the reading of Friendship Bread and then making some starter,  which of course segued into making other starters I knew fruit flies would not be far behind.   So time to drag out the recipes for homemade insect traps and try to head them off at the pass.


A fruit fly trap is really easy to make and works well for regular flies as well. 

1.   Get an empty 2 liter bottle and take the cap off, discard cap.  You can rinse out the bottle if you want to, but you don’t need to.

2.   Going about 1 inch below the curve of the top of the two liter bottle cut the top off the two liter.

3.   Into the bottom section put your “bait” about one inch thick.  This can be:

a.   White vinegar

b.   Apple Cider vinegar

c.    Wine

d.   Fruit juice

e.   Or a combination of any of these.

4.   Invert the cut off top and put it into the opening at the top of the bottom of the bottle.  Fit it snugly into this opening so there is no escape hatch for the flies.

5.   Set near the area the flies are buzzing you. 

6.   Empty and refill the bait when the trap starts looking gross.

7.   When all your visitors are gone, empty the bottle rinse and recycle it at your local plastic recycling location.

While wasps do serve a purpose in this world, especially certain ones in your organic garden there does come a time when they are a nuisance and possibly even life threatening and they need to be eliminated from an area. 

Because I want the good wasps in my organic garden I definitely don’t want to be spraying poisons.  So instead I make wasp traps for the areas that the wasps are creating problems for me. 


I start out making the trap just like I make the fruit fly/house fly trap and do so right up to the bait.  For the bait I add a chunk of meat of some sort to the inside bottom of the container.  It can be any type of meat, lunchmeat, hamburger, whatever, and it doesn’t take much to successfully bait the trap.  

After inverting the top and putting it securely in the bottom of the trap I make a small hole on two opposite sides of the two liter.  Into this I insert a piece of cord or string to make a hanging loop out of.   Knotting it securely between the two holes.

The trap is then hung in the wasp infested area away from the main human traffic and a minimum of four foot off the ground.  As the trap fills up with wasps you can either empty, rinse and re-bait or discard and replace with a new trap.


If you have pets sooner or later you will have fleas.  You can also get fleas without having pets by simply picking up those little hitchhikers on your clothing while walking through a park or similar area that has fleas in it.  If you have ever had a flea infestation you know it can be miserable for human and pet alike.  Here are a few simple solutions before you call out the pest control folks.

I.                  Vacuum thoroughly and often to get the eggs. One flea can lay approximately 50 eggs in one day and 500 in a lifetime.  So you really want to vacuum them up as soon as you can and do a good job of it.

II.               FLEA TRAPS #1: are even easier to make than the fly and wasp traps.  All you need is a bowl, pan, cup, glass or mug of extra soapy dishwater and a light source in a dark room.  You place the container of the extra soapy dishwater under a downward pointing night light, in front of a muted tv left on all night or other light source  and the fleas are attracted to the light, fall into the dishwater and drown.  The drawback to this method is some household pets will drink this soapy water and get a bit of indigestion.  So proceed with caution if you think this might happen.  No one wants a sick pet.

III.            FLEA TRAPS #2: When you are home and in the room where you can keep an eye on it, light pillar style candles.  The fleas will be attracted to the candle and drown in the wax.  NEVER leave a candle unattended and especially keep an eye on your pets because the goofy things will burn their whiskers or knock the candle over.  While burning your house down will kill the fleas it is also a tad inconvenient.

IV.           FLEA TRAPS #3: Is a combination of one and two in a way.  Float a tea candle in a plate of soapy water and the result is drowned fleas once again.  The warnings for this one are also a combination of one and two.  Don’t depend on the soapy water to save your house or your cat’s whiskers, be diligent in watching your pets and the candle.


The process for this one is a little more involved, but not much, but rather than try and write it out myself I decided it was just easier to put the link for it over to my source for this information.  They do a very good explanation on how to do it using a two liter bottle and an old sock, so please follow the link above to visit the MotherEarth News Website for detailed instructions on their inexpensive mosquito trap.

So as you can see you can easily control annoying pests around your home with two liter bottles and a few odds and ends.   Spring is coming, so why not head off these pests early?

OR use this simple solution for Mosquito Trap bait:

Items needed:

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast

1. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
2. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes
3. Change bait every two weeks for continous control.

Jan who can’t stand bugs in her home in OK

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