Saturday, June 20, 2015

Are Ants Taking Over at your House?

Here are a few ideas on naturally controlling ant invasions

Unless you are an ant lover, you probably would prefer to see no ants in your bird room or anywhere else in your home.  In fact you probably also prefer not to have them hanging around your home on the outside either.

There are many articles online to help you identify which species of ant you are trying to rid yourself of.  However, I prefer to focus on how to get rid of them.  Getting rid of ants naturally is the way to go if you have birds, other pets, or even small children in the home.

There are commercial ant baits that do work, but I prefer not to use them around my birds and cats, as birds and cats are very inquisitive creatures that love to check out anything new in the room.  Birds are quite capable of cracking open ant baits to see what is inside, and I find my cats love to bat the ant baits around the room to see how far they will slide.

 One easy way to help prevent ants from climbing up your bird's cage is to put all cage legs in a small container of water.  Ants do not like water, they do not swim.  However you will need to check daily to be sure there is still water in the bowls.  Although this helps keep the ants out of the cage, it doesn't get rid of them.  It is however a quick fix to keep ants out of your bird's cage.

Method 1: Mix a soapy water solution in a spray bottle.  Doesn't take much liquid soap or dish detergent.  Spray the ants.  This will kill them almost instantly.  The soapy water mixture also eliminates scent trails of the ants helping with newcomers.  You can also spray this mixture on your bird's cage legs (but not on your bird) and around baseboards of the room as well.  You may need to repeat daily if you have a lot of ants invading.

Method 2: Mix a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water, and with a spray bottle, spray the ants.  This will kill them and vinegar is not harmful to your birds or other animals (of course don't spray it on your bird or other pets).  Doesn't especially smell good, but it does work.  Vinegar and water is also a great cleaning and disinfecting solution for cleaning your bird's cage too. Just rinse after cleaning. 
Method 3:  Cucumber peels repeal the ants, so you can chop up some big cucumber slices and spread around the bird cage tray.  You will need to do this fresh daily as your bird if able, may decide to taste or enjoy the cucumbers as well.  Cucumbers are fine for the bird and most love the cucumber seeds as well.  However you don't want your bird eating day old stale cucumbers.

Method 4: Mix up a solution of water with some lemon juice and spray around the room corners or baseboard.  Ants don't seem to like lemons very much either.  Your room will probably also smell lemony good.  Clean and reapply as often as needed.

Method 5: You can sprinkle corn meal around the corners and baseboards of the room to keep ants out as well.  Or sprinkle a circle around your bird's cage.  Corn meal is safe for pets and children, but not so attractive sprinkled all over your floor.  Cornmeal seems to work well outside the home, especially poured on top of ant beds or mounds.  If using outside, you will need to repeat after any rain.

Method 6: I'm sure everyone has seen the spray bottle of Bird Mite Spray you can buy at many pet stores.  I do not ever recommend spraying your bird with this yucky stuff.  If your bird has mites, lice, or anything else these sprays claim to take care of, your bird needs to go to the avian vet.  Your bird does not need this chemical sprayed on him or her.  Why do I even mention this product then you ask?  Because this Bird Mite Spray stuff kills ants.  Kills them quick and is actually safe to spray on your birds cage, trays, papers, or all around the floor.  Just remember to not spray directly on your bird.  It does have to be repeated every day or two to stay active.

A note about using Diatomaceous Earth as a deterrent.  

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth does kill ants, slugs, roaches, grasshopper, earwigs, and fleas.  However the dust can be an irritant to birds, children, pets, or anyone with asthma or other breathing issues.  I prefer not to use this inside the home.  It can be safely used around the outside of the home with good results.

Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you with your ant problem this summer.  For more information please check out our Pinterest Board "Bug and Pest Control Naturally".  

Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Invasion of Fruit Flies!

Ah, summertime and the living is easy.  Well, unless you are being invaded by those nasty annoying fruit flies and gnats.

If you have birds in your home, you may well have experienced first hand the summer fruit fly takeover.  They can multiply from one to hundreds in no time at all.  They love sharing the fruits and veggies along with your bird.  Swarming onto the leftovers in the cage tray, or on the food on the floor that your parrot has selectively thrown out of the food dish.  Maybe hidden until you bring out that nice juicy piece of fruit to chop up for your bird.  Then, wham, they are there to enjoy the fruits of your labor, so to speak.

This time of year also brings those pesky gnats and to me they look just like fruit flies and are just as annoying.  Main difference is fruit flies as named, love the foods they can find, gnats tend to gather most around water sources.  It's easy to have both.  Whether it's fruit flies or gnats, in my opinion they are both nasty little buggers and not welcome.  So here are a few natural and safe tips that might help rid your home and bird area of these unwanted guests.

Apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish detergent are great for attracting the flies.  I have found also that red sweet wine works great too.  I have been told beer also works but I haven't personally tired that one yet.  Also I hear sweet fruit juice works good too.  Sometimes I add a piece of over-ripe banana to the container as extra come here attraction.  They really do love bananas.

Now that you know what to use to lure them in, decide which of the following you want to use as your vessel of entrapment.

You can use a mason jar, drinking glass, small bowl (glass or plastic), or my favorite, a plastic water or soda bottle.

If using the plastic bottle simply cup off about 1/3 of the top of the bottle.  Then place the top section upside down into the bottom part of the bottle.  I prefer not to tape the 2 pieces together as I can dump the bottle in the garbage, rinse, and reuse as many times as I need.  Now that you have the bottle in 2 sections, before placing the top part on, add a few ounces of apple cider vinegar, wine, fruit juice, or beer.  Add a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent and and stir a bit.  Then place the upside down top part into the base of the bottle and place near the kitchen sink, on a window sill, near or under the bird cage, or wherever you are seeing the flies the most.  I like to make several traps and place all around the room.

If you use something other than a plastic bottle, you may also need some plastic wrap or wax paper that you can poke some small holes in, or a piece of construction or heavyweight paper to make your own funnel.  Pour a few ounces of the apple cider vinegar, wine, juice, or beer into the glass or mason jar.  Add a few drops of the liquid dish detergent and stir a little.  Then place the paper cover over the glass or mason jar making sure that is large enough to overlap the top sides of the glass or jar.  You can use a rubber band to hold the paper on or you can tape it if that works better for you.  You will need to make a circle of several small holes around the paper in the top.  Make sure one hole you make in the center of the paper is large enough for the flies to enter into the container.  If you are creating a paper funnel, it is best if the smallest tip inside the container does not quite touch the liquid or bottom of the container.

The idea of the upside down water bottle technique, self made funnel, or paper top, is that you want to make it easy for the flies to enter, but harder for them to find a way out.

You can also use a shallow bowl with the same ingredients and add a small piece of fruit into the liquid such as banana or apple.  You will probably catch some flies and gnats even if the container is left open.

For more tips on controlling bugs and pests naturally and safely around our birds, please check out our Pinterest Board