Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Melon fruit Fly - Photo: Flickr
A fruit fly is a small flying insect about 1/8 inch in length with red eyes. The essential element in how to get rid of fruit flies is to locate and eliminate their breeding sources. Although there are several sprays and traps used to kill flies in a home, restaurant or other building, the infestation cannot be completely eradicated without eliminating its source.  

Inspecting for fruit flies

When searching for fruit fly breeding sources, remember that the larvae need moist decaying organic matter to survive. The most obvious place to look for these sources is where fruits or vegetables are stored near refrigerators or coolers. Other areas to inspect include recycling bins, garbage cans that are rarely cleaned or used and under and behind large appliances. Be sure to check sink and other drains. Here small flies are often found breeding in the super thin film or layer of debris that naturally accumulates in pipes, traps, and drains.

In commercial and residential structures, tiny amounts of organic debris are often found where the legs or feet of appliances, tables or cabinets touch the floor. These tiny spaces can harbor thousands of fly larvae. All small cracks and crevices at floor level must be inspected and thoroughly cleaned.

Once one breeding spot has been located, keep on looking. Fruit flies easily follow air currents and usually have several breeding places in any structure. Do not assume that all breeding sources are indoors. Fruit flies will fly in from nearby dumpsters, outdoor garbage cans or even damp compost piles where fruits and vegetables are disposed. 

Fly elimination products

Here are some ideas on how to get rid of fruit flies. A pyrethrin space spray can be used for a quick kill. It will reduce populations of flying insects. Pyrethrin spray is also used by pest control operators as a crack and crevice tool to spray the tiny areas where fruit flies and other insect pests breed. To monitor the area, use a Gold Stick trap. These traps use a fly sex lure to attract flies to their doom. Every fruit fly caught means one less breeding adult. 

Professional fly traps use pheromones combined with powerful ultraviolet bulbs in lighted fly traps. These come in a range of sizes. Different designs offer options for use in public areas, commercial kitchens, hospitals, offices, and homes. Using ultraviolet bulbs increases the numbers of flying insects captured while drastically reducing the need for use of sprays and other pesticides. Use the powerful Fly Trap Professional in commercial kitchens or other areas that are not open to the public or customers. In high profile areas, the Cento Fly Traps and Luralite Fly Traps are less obvious.

If you find a drain that is a breeding ground for fruit flies, the best method for how to get rid of fruit flies is using Drain Gel (Fly Gel) to destroy the film in which the fly eggs and larvae develop. A surface spray is not recommended here unless there are great numbers of flies resting on the surface of trash cans, dumpsters or exterior walls. 

Fruit fly traps are another excellent tool for how to get rid of fruit flies. Attach the trap to the inside lid of garbage cans, dumpsters or compost bins to capture adult flies before they breed. Dispose of traps when full of flies or after three months, whichever comes first.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Hymn to Baked POTATOES

Backed Potatoes - Photo: Max Pixel
What better on a cold winter’s night, than to come home to a supper of crisp-skinned baked potato, piping hot, a knob of butter soaking into the fluffy center. Perfect for days when you get home in good time but have a million things to do and cooking supper is last on the list. 

All you have to do is get the oven hot (200C), fling them in, (with a cross scored on the top, so they don’t burst and coat your oven with an irremovable patina of flaked potato) and leave them there for at least an hour, better an hour and a half. You can get on with everything else, secure in the knowledge that supper is cooking without you and then put together a few fillings at the last minute.

One of my favorite toppings is tuna. Just open the tin, drain, season with salt and pepper and some lemon juice (feel free to add mayonnaise if you like it but we don’t). Other hassle-free accompaniments are baked beans, grated cheese, left-over juices from last night’s stew. Any of these makes a tasty, nutritious meal with no fuss and best of all, one that most kids will enormous plus point for mothers everywhere.

A microwave hastens the process but leaves you with thin-skinned potatoes that might do as an accompaniment to something else but lose the crisp appeal of the true oven baked article. If you are in a hurry, cook pasta instead and save your jacket or baked potatoes for a day when you remember to switch the oven on in time.

A variation to try with smaller potatoes: after washing, drying and scoring the potatoes, rub the skins with a little butter, then season with salt and pepper before baking to give you extra crispy, tasty skins that everyone will eat. 

Another thing to try if you want to get fancy: once the potatoes are cooked, halve them, scoop out the insides, mix with a beaten egg, grated cheese, salt, and pepper, heap the mixture back into the skins and return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown. A meal in itself!

Cheap, filling, nutritious with the right toppings and needing the minimum investment of labor, the baked potato is every busy mother’s ideal supper!

Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock

Friday, October 13, 2017

COLEUS, The Most Beautiful Houseplant.

Coleus - Photo: Wikimedia
Many of us have done vegetable gardening at some time in our lives and some have carried this pastime hobby indoors. One plant which can spread beauty throughout one's home or apartment is the Coleus, the most popular, known as Coleus Hybridus (painted nettle). A much more vibrant Coleus plant, simply called "Rainbow Mixed Colors" on the seed package is unbeatable in color variations. Easy to keep alive through even lengthy attendance and very simple propagation techniques, it can bring much joy to the plant enthusiast.

Because of the high level of regeneration of the Coleus plant, you could easily propagate a single nursery bought a plant or one started from seed into several totally new plants. It's simple! Once the plant has blossomed to a beautiful foliage, cuttings can then be taken. Begin cutting near the bottom. Trim each to about 6" in length, then trimming 4 to 6 of the lower leaves. Place cuttings in a jar or glass, about 1/3 filled with simple tap water. Several plant cuttings can be placed in the same jar, but the water level will have to be monitored more closely. The Coleus gets pretty thirsty and could drain your plant's water supply in a very short time. Store in a low-level lighted area for several days, or until roots are produced at the base of the cuttings. Wait until new roots have produced at least half a dozen and the longest have reached about 1". Now they are ready to be transposed into a more permanent growing media.

At this juncture, one must be a little more selective, at least in choosing the type of growing media in which our new botanical jewels will spend their maturing lives. First, one can easily find soil that will grow our new cuttings and keep them in their healthiest state throughout their adult lives and produce the brightest of color variations in their ever-changing leaf patterns. The soil should contain the greatest amount of organic material as possible along with self-contained nutrients within the organic growing material. We should select a growing pot which would accommodate a progressive growing stage, so we could probably begin with a 4" wide pot since this is usually the size that would hold our cuttings which are by now well rooted. Each individual plant should have ample room to remain in this size pot for about 2 months. When the Coleus has outgrown its original pot, it's time to move it to the 8" pot size. This should last for the rest of its natural life...but now the process can be started all over again and you will have a house full of the beautiful Coleus plant.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Harvesting the Honey

Beekeeping - Photo: Pixabay
Obviously, the whole reason to set up, maintain, and stock a beehive is to harvest honey. You will know that it is time to harvest the honey when you look in one of your hives supers and find that the frames are full of honeycombs that your bees have covered with wax caps. 

Now all you have to do is remove the honeycombs.

Harvesting your honey won't be a problem as long as you put on all your beekeeping gear, wear light colored clothes (beekeepers swear that lighter colored clothes have a soothing effect on bees) and stay calm. 

When the super is full of capped honey combs you are going to have to remove the bees from that super. There are chemicals available on the market that will make this easier. One popular chemical that beekeepers use to remove bees from the super is Bee-Go. All beekeepers have to do is apply Bee-Go to a fume board. When the bees smell the Bee-Go they head to the bottom of the hive, leaving the super full of capped honeycombs empty for you to harvest. Another product beekeepers use to clear out supers is one called Fishers Bee Quick. Neither of these products harms the bees, the bees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it.

Now that you are in possession of the honeycomb you need to prepare it to be extracted. The first step in this preparation is to remove the wax caps the bees have used to seal the honey into the honeycomb. Many beekeepers prefer to use nine frames instead of ten in their supers. By using nine frames they give the bees enough room to draw the comb out, placing the cap right on the very edge of the comb. This makes it easier to remove the wax caps. Beekeepers use a metal knife to remove the caps, the knife works best if the knife blade is warmed after all its easier to cut warm wax then it is to cut cold wax. You can keep the knife blade warm with frequent dunking in a basin that is full of hot water. Many beekeepers like to use their bread knife to remove the wax caps from the honeycomb while others prefer an electrical knife that is designed just for beekeepers. What do you think bee's wax candles are made out of. Removing the caps from the dripping honey is easy, just use a piece of cheesecloth to empty the contents into a second pot, the honey will drain through the cheesecloth and the bee's wax caps will collect on the top.

Once the caps are removed from the honeycomb the honey is ready to be extracted.

As you remove the caps, let them fall into a pot, do not just threw them away. You will notice that there is a surprising amount of honey attached to these caps, honey that can be processed and used. Also, there is a market for the wax caps. Once the caps have been removed from the honeycombs the honeycombs are ready to have the honey extracted.

Chicken Tetrazzini

This delicious and easy to make pasta dish is a meal on its own!  A cream sauce is the signature of this pasta casserole that is believed to be invented in San Francisco, where it was named after the then-famous opera star Luisa Tetrazzini.

Photo: Flickr

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

2 Chicken Breasts (cut into 1" cubes)
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 cup Butter
2 Large finely chopped Shallots
2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
4 tsp. Chicken Boullion
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Sherry
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
4 cups of cooked Egg Noodles or Seashell Pasta
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, cook diced chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When cooked all the way through, remove chicken with a slotted spoon leaving juices in the frying pan.
Add 1/4 cup of butter to the frying pan and saute shallots and mushrooms, cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Mix 1/4 cup of flour, chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper then sprinkle over cooked mushrooms and shallots.  Add Sherry and water and boil for 5 minutes.

Stir in Heavy Cream then add salt and pepper to taste.  Add cooked chicken and noodles then serve hot.

Author: Jim Rutherford

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FALL Planting

Fall Gardening - Photo: Pixabay
Most people don’t think of Fall as a time for planting new landscaping and garden plants. To most, it’s time to put garden ventures to sleep until Spring. While it may not seem so, Fall planting of trees, shrubs, Perennials, bulbs, and cool weather grasses like Fescue is a very good idea.

Roots of newly planted plants and trees can continue to grow and become established in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. And since the roots don't have to supply the rest of the plant with energy to grow, more energy is focused on root production. Come to Springtime, because of an established root system, plants shoot out of the ground with plenty of energy for top growth.

Soil Temperature

Planting in the fall, soil temperatures are still warm from a long Summer. The warmer soil temperature encourages root growth.

In the Spring, the soil is still cool from the Winter and roots are very slow to become established. Even if you grow plants from seed indoors and transplant outside when the temperature warms, new sprouts still don't have the advantage of Fall planted plants.

When Exactly Is Fall?

The Fall season officially begins with the equinox in late September. However, Fall weather varies considerably from one part of the country to the next. Basically, the best period for fall planting is around six weeks before the first hard frost in your area. You can get an idea of the average first frost date near your area from here: . Just keep in mind that the roots need to have time to become established before Winter sets in.

Autumn Bloomers

Fall isn't just a time to put the garden to sleep and start getting ready for Spring. The growing season isn't quite over yet. You can add color and new life to the garden by replacing dying Summer Annuals and Perennials with Autumn blooming plants like Pansies, Chrysanthemums, and Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Marigolds, and others.

It's also the time to plant spring flowering bulbs and divide Perennials.

Monday, October 9, 2017


The Dandelion is an herbaceous plant that really is much more than just a nuisance in your yard. For all purposes, the Dandelion leaves are at their best just as they emerge from the ground and they are very distinct as nothing really resembles this at all. Depending on when you harvest the Dandelion leaves will determine the bitterness of them but it is an appealing bitterness.

These leaves that are considered an herb blend nicely with salads and do well either sautéed or steamed. Many claim the taste is similar to that of endive. People who are into eating the fruits of nature claim that it is perfectly acceptable to eat the Dandelion flower as well. Some claim that they make outstanding fritters if they are battered up and fried and make a colorful contribution to any stir-fry.

Dandelions leaves are actually extremely nutritious, much more so than any herb that can be purchased in the stores. They are higher in bets carotene than carrots are and they have more iron and calcium and iron than spinach does. Dandelion leaves are also full of vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Dandelion root is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies on the market and is widely used today.

Traditionally it can be made into a tonic that is known for strengthening the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder because it promotes the flow of bile. Dandelion root contains taraxacin so it reduces the inflammation to the bile ducts and reduces gallstones. It is commonly used for Hepatitis, liver swelling, and jaundice. It also helps with indigestion.

This plant also goes by the French name, Pissenlit. Ironically enough when used in the tea form made by the leaves or the root has a tendency to act as a diuretic on the kidneys. Over the counter, diuretics have a tendency to suck the potassium out of the body but not the Dandelion leaves. Dandelion root tea has helped some actually avoid surgery for urinary stones. Dandelions are really just good for overall health and well being so just about anyone could benefit from a cup of dandelion tea. Many herbalists say that incorporated the Dandelion plant into dinner each night will assist in easier digestion.

When you take a Dandelion plant and break the stem you will find a milky white substance inside. This substance is great for removing warts, pimples, moles, calluses, soothing of bee stings, and blisters. Some other things that Dandelion has been popular in the past for is making Dandelion jam and others use it as a coffee substitute when it is roasted and ground Dandelion root. Many also drink Dandelion wine.

Today, Europeans use plenty of Dandelion roots to make herbal medicines and find it hard to believe that Americans refer to this highly beneficial plant as a weed when it has such positive benefits for the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, and the stomach.