Tired of seeing flies landing on your freshly cooked meals, buzzing throughout your home, and ruining outdoor entertaining? Us, too! Thankfully, there’s a family-safe, cost-effective approach for getting your indoor and outdoor fly populations under control: Fly paper.
Do yourself a favor, skip the synthetic versions found at your local hardware store and make your own natural fly paper at home. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, and the end result is non-toxic to kiddos and pets. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to do it:
With only a handful of household items, you can make your own effective and natural fly paper at home. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A brown paper grocery bag (approximately two feet deep)
- String (rotisserie string or baker’s twine works just fine
- A spatula or wooden spoon for stirring
- A saucepan and stove
- 2 cookie sheets (at least as long as the paper strips you cut) and parchment paper
- A fork
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup (or honey if you don’t have corn syrup)
- 1/4 cup water
The following instructions make a dozen strips of fly paper or more, so if you need less feel free to adjust the recipe as needed:
- Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan and heat it on your stove at medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to boil. Then, drop the temp to low-medium heat and simmer, stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Once it’s fully dissolved, turn off your stove and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for approx. 5-10 minutes as you get the rest of your materials ready.
- Using your scissors, cut 2 inch strips down the length of the brown paper bag. If you have a hole punch handy, punch a hole about an inch down from one end of each paper strip. If you only have scissors, you can also fold the strip about an inch down from one end and use your scissors to cut a hole in the fold.
- Tie about 6 inches of string or twine into each hole and set the paper strips aside.
- Get 1 cookie sheet and line it with 1 layer of fresh parchment paper.
- Pour the sugar mixture into your other cookie sheet, making sure that it doesn’t overflow.
- Drape the paper strips into the mixture-filled cookie sheet, making sure not to get any of the strings into the mixture. If necessary, you can flip each paper strip using your fork. Repeat step #6 for each paper strip until they’re all fully coated.
- Next, lift each strip by the string and feed it through your fork’s tines to remove excess mixture and avoid dripping. Once the paper is all the way through the fork, flip the strip and repeat on the other side.
- Place the finished strips on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let them dry for a couple hours until the mixture has fully cooled and the strips are only slightly tacky to the touch (to avoid a mess, do not attempt to dry them using a fan or hairdryer).
And that’s it—you’ve now got natural, non-toxic fly paper to hang wherever you need it!
For indoors, we suggest hanging them near your kitchen, doorways, windows, trash cans, pet spaces, and other areas with high fly traffic. For outdoors, position them near doorways, trash bins, and wherever else you experience the most fly activity. Replace each strip every 48-72 hours or more often as needed.
To save your fly paper for later use, just roll them into the parchment paper and place them in a sealable plastic bag. This way, when one strip gets covered in flies, you’ll have more ready to replace it!
Finally, if your strips start to dry out, give them a light mist of water from a spray bottle to replenish their stickiness.
Nothing ruins outside time like mosquitoes. They leave you super itchy. They do that annoying buzzing thing in your ear. They can give your pets heartworms. They literally drink your blood. They’re the worst.
Sick of avoiding your yard because the mosquitoes have taken over? Thankfully, controlling mosquitoes and preventing their bites is simple with Cedarcide. Plus, you don’t have to expose your family or pets to harmful chemicals to get it done.
Here’s how you can get rid of mosquitoes in 3 easy steps.
There’s simply no better way to control mosquitoes and prevent potentially harmful bites than basic mosquito prevention.
Successful mosquito prevention involves many moving parts, but think of it like home maintenance. Sure, there are seemingly several steps involved, but if you do them as you go, they become routine. And then it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything extra at all. In other words, don’t worry—preventing mosquitoes is not that difficult. It mostly comes down to limiting moisture and potential mosquito hideouts. Here’s how to do it:
- Lawn maintenance and what you might call “lawn hygiene” are crucial. Mosquitoes seek out spaces rich with clutter and vegetation like tall grass and shrubbery. Any unnecessary clutter that could potentially collect moisture needs to go. Equally important, regularly mow, weed-eat, and trim hedges.
- If you have bird baths, you absolutely must clean and change their water often, like at least once a week. It’s probably even better to consider draining them during the height of mosquito season (March-September).
- Immediately repair faulty sprinklers, hoses, faucets, plumbing, drains, or anything else that can leak moisture into your lawn or garden. Otherwise, you’re just asking for mosquitoes.
- Recreational water sources—like hot tubs, pools, artificial ponds, etc—need to be periodically cleaned and carefully maintained to discourage mosquitoes and mosquito eggs. This includes any tarps or pool covers in use, too.
- Natural features like hollow tree stumps and ditches provide the perfect environment to foster the mosquito life cycle. Whatever the solution, find a way to remove or neutralize these mosquito hotspots.
The ultimate goal here is to make your lawn inhospitable to mosquitoes and other biting insects. The secret weapon? Our family-safe lawn treatment, PCO Choice, which kills and repels mosquitoes and their eggs.
Start by thoroughly spraying your entire front and backyard with PCO Choice, including all shrubbery, bushes, and small trees (remember, this is where those pesky mosquitoes like to hide, breed, and do other gross insect stuff). For best results, you’ll want to repeat this process in two weeks and then move on to monthly applications afterward.
If you’re not currently struggling with mosquitoes and you’re just looking for prevention, you can start with monthly applications from the get-go. If you live in a warmer region such as the South, applications should be done every month unless the temperature drops below freezing for more than a few weeks. If you live in a state prone to cold spells, start spraying monthly in late February and then taper off in November as winter really starts to set in.
Because PCO Choice is plant-based and family-safe, no downtime is necessary. You, your family, and pets can enjoy your lawn right after application!
For additional protection, we strongly advise spreading Cedar Granules throughout your outdoor space, especially surrounding those areas where you and your family spend the most time, like patios, balconies, BBQs, etc.
You’ve learned about mosquito prevention and how to treat your lawn, now it’s time for the easy part: preventing mosquito bites.
One word: Cedarcide Original. Before outdoor activities like dog walks, hikes, jogs, or backyard time, apply this non-toxic bug spray to you, your family, and pets to prevent mosquito bites. For best results, reapply every 5-7 hours and after getting wet. Not only is Cedarcide Original safe to use directly on your pets, it’s also an incredibly effective approach to controlling fleas & ticks without resorting to poisonous chemicals or pesticides.
For more natural ways to control mosquitoes, check out How to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard.
Can you imagine a scorpion crawling into your bed at night? What about slipping on a pair of shoes only to find a scorpion hiding down inside? This might sound like the stuff of nightmares, but if you’re living in the Southwest, it’s just part of your day-to-day.
Although they’re usually no more harmful than a wasp or spider bite, scorpion stings can be life threatening to our children, pets, and elderly. The bark scorpion, for example, which lives throughout Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Mexico, is the most venomous scorpion in North America. In just the last few decades, over a 1,000 people and pets have died from their excruciating sting.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about any of that, because you’re about to learn how to keep scorpions away from your lawn and out of your home, without resorting to poisonous pesticides! Here are 3 steps to kill and repel scorpions:
Scorpions only enter our lawns and homes if they offer shelter, food, or water. Removing these attractants is the first step to controlling scorpions
REMOVE THEIR SHELTER
Scorpions need dark, cool places to hide in order to escape sunlight, as they’re sensitive to heat and prone to dehydration. Limiting these potential hiding spots comes down to cleanliness and clutter—and can substantially decrease scorpion populations.
Firstly, lawn maintenance is key. Keeping grass and shrubbery well-trimmed and off your home (scorpions use vegetation as bridges into houses) is essential. Removing outdoor clutter like unused lawn equipment and organic debris, such as wood piles and brush, is equally important.
For best results, you’ll need to maintain a clean and clutter-free home, too. Cleanliness matters because grime and food debris attracts bugs, which are the primary food source for scorpions. Clutter—like piles of magazines, clothing, newspapers, and scattered boxes—matters because scorpions will use these areas to hide and thrive inside your home.
REMOVE THEIR FOOD
Again, scorpions eat other bugs. In other words, if you want to repel scorpions, you’ll need to get rid of any bugs living in your lawn and home.
To kill and repel outdoor bugs, apply family and pet-safe PCO Choice to your yard monthly from February to November. To kill bugs inside your home, give them a quick spray with non-toxic Cedarcide Original. To repel indoor bugs, apply Cedarcide Original to common insect trouble spots and entryways, such as door frames, window sills, baseboards, countertops, etc.
As mentioned earlier, scorpions are vulnerable to dehydration. Deny them water by checking both inside and outside for sources of unnecessary moisture, like standing water, leaky plumbing, A/C units, hoses, faucets, etc. Removing or repairing these items will help considerably.
Surprising fact: scorpions can sneak into almost any opening the size of a credit card. No wonder they’re so good at finding ways into our homes! Locating and sealing potential entry points is crucial if you’re ready to stop seeing scorpions inside.
Start by doing a slow and thorough check both inside and outside for possible entryways like cracks, crevices, holes, etc. Look closely at windows, doorways, baseboards, fixtures, outlets, foundations, basements, and attics. You might want to consider installing seals at the bottom of doors and garages, too. It might sound tedious, but if you’re struggling with scorpions, it could mean the difference between a scorpion-free home and enduring an extremely painful sting or the loss of your pet.
If—or more likely when—you find any such openings, promptly seal them with caulk or another appropriate sealant.
Unfortunately, if you’ve seen a scorpion inside or outside your home, chances are there are dozens more hidden throughout your property.
TREAT YOUR LAWN
Now that your lawn is decluttered and free of debris, it’s time to spray it for scorpions. Start by spraying both your front and back yards, as well as all shrubbery, with PCO Choice to kill and help repel scorpions. Repeat this process again in two weeks, and then proceed to monthly applications after that. If you’ve yet to see a scorpion and this is just for prevention, you can move on to monthly applications right from the start. For best results, we suggest monthly applications all year long.
Because PCO Choice is plant-based and family-safe, no downtime is necessary. You, your family, and pets can enjoy your lawn right after application!
Want added protection? We suggest spreading Cedar Granules throughout your lawn, too.
TREAT YOUR HOME
Traditional indoor bug sprays can fill your home with long-lasting poisons that could seriously harm the health of you, your family, and pets. In fact, these products usually do more harm than good, as you’re usually better off having the scorpions in your house than toxic chemicals. For killing and preventing scorpions indoors, we suggest plant-based Cedarcide Original, which can be safely sprayed all throughout your home.
To kill any scorpions you find inside, give them a quick spray with family-safe Cedarcide Original. To help prevent them from coming back, also spray known entry points and hiding spots weekly. Repeat as needed.
The warm weather’s here and so are the fleas and ticks. Here are 3 tips to protect you, your pets, family, and your home from these troublesome pests.
1. Protect You & Your Pets
In addition to preventing harmful bites, regularly applying non-toxic repellents to you and your fur babies will keep fleas and ticks from hitching a ride into your yard and home.
2. Keep Fleas & Ticks Out of Your Yard
If there are fleas and ticks in your lawn, your family or pets are going to get bitten. Monthly pet-safe lawn treatments are essential to controlling unwanted bug populations.
3. Safeguard Your Home
Periodically treating pet bedding, kennels, and other pet spaces with a naturally sourced insecticide will help keep your home a flea and tick-free space.
Our planet is saturated with pesticides: They’re in our water, our food, our backyards our homes, even inside our bodies. Because of this, our pets are constantly exposed to these harmful chemicals, and therefore always at risk of pesticide poisoning. Whether ingested, inhaled, or simply absorbed from the environment, your pets are exposed to toxic pesticides every day—regardless if you personally use pesticides or not.
Because protecting pets from pesticides is a big part of what we do here at Cedarcide, we wanted to help you identify the signs & symptoms of pesticide poisoning in your pet. However, If you’re reading this right now and suspect your pet may be suffering from pesticide poisoning, shut off the computer and head to your nearest veterinarian immediately. Even low dose pesticide poisoning can be life threatening to your pet, and time is crucial to their survival.
Below are the most common signs & symptoms associated with pesticide poisoning in both cats and dogs. Note: Symptoms will vary depending on the severity of exposure; also, most animals will exhibit only a few of the symptoms, not all of them—and in rare cases, they won’t show any specific symptoms at all, just a general lethargy or lack of energy.
Here’s what you need to look for in your pets when it comes to pesticide poisoning:
Over 80 million pounds of chemical-based pesticides are used on American lawns & gardens every year. Sadly, pets and other animals are hit hardest by these toxic treatments. Because pets play in yards and often ingest grass, they experience greater exposure to these poisons than most other living things. And as with children, their low body weight and size make even small accidental exposure a serious, sometimes fatal occurrence.
But just how bad and widespread is pesticide exposure in pets? In 2008, the Environmental Working Group published a Polluted Pets report to give the public a better understanding of the chemicals affecting their pets. Among the dogs tested, urine and blood samples detected 35 different chemicals inside these pets. Most alarming of all, 20% of the chemicals were at levels over 5 times higher than those regularly seen in humans. While direct contact with pesticides through lawn & garden exposure is common for pets, our animals also receive exposure from inside our homes, as pesticides applied outdoors almost always find their way onto home surfaces, such as carpet and countertops. From cancer to intense stomach pain and mood changes, here are 10 ways pesticides are harming your pets.
In addition to slow heart rates, respiratory failure and even death, organophosphates—some of the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture—also cause intense abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress in animals. Carbamates, another common pesticide, are known to cause dizziness, convulsions, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, too, as are phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides (like 2,4-D), and pyrethroids (like Permethrin).
It turns out your pets’ physical health isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. A study published by Harvard Medical School linked Organophosphates and carbamates—two common lawn & garden pesticides—with aggressive behavior in both cats and humans.
Pyrethroids—which include common chemicals like Permethrin and Resmethrin—is another toxin that can mess with your cat or dog’s mental well-being. Not only are these chemicals possible carcinogens, they can also alter your pet’s mood and state of mind. Symptoms of poisoning include nervous system damage, hyperexcitability, tremors and even depression!
One of the most common but also most toxic pesticides is snail bait. Unfortunately, this poison is also very attractive to mammals, like dogs and cats. Snail bait’s active ingredient, metaldehyde, causes seizures, excess salivation and perhaps most frightening of all, blindness.
The above mentioned Pyrethroids, which are in the majority of household insecticides, are known to alter pets’ mental health. But, sadly, they can also cause muscle tremors, ataxia, anorexia and even seizures—which can in turn lead to death. Organochlorines, which constitute a large percentage of common pesticides, also cause loss of bodily control and seizures. In severe poisoning, these seizures are often uncontrollable, leading to respiratory failure and eventually death in both cats and dogs.
Sadly, various forms of cancer are not uncommon in animals exposed to pesticides, One study conducted by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that consistent exposure to chemicals commonly used by professional lawn care companies elevated the risk of fatal canine malignant lymphoma by nearly 70%.
It’s not just Lymphoma you have to worry about. In a study published by the journal Science of the Total Environment it was found that dogs exposed to lawns treated with herbicides (like Roundup, for example) experience a significantly higher chance of contracting bladder cancer. Studies have found the chemicals that help cause this extremely painful type of cancer are detectable in both treated and untreated lawns. Which means even if you don’t personally treat your own yard, your pets are still likely receiving exposure blown in from other areas, like nearby parks or your neighbor’s yard.
A particularly nasty and quite common inorganic pesticide, Allethrin, has been linked with increased risk of liver cancer in dogs. A synthetic copy of a naturally occurring botanical insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers, Allerthrin is used in many yards throughout America to kill and prevent flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects.
Your fur babies aren’t the only ones facing harm due to pesticide exposure—their babies are, too. The Environmental Working Group (or, the EWG) found that dogs commonly test positive for phthalates at levels up to 5 times that of the average human. This chemical compound found in plastics, perfumes, food containers, makeup and pesticides is believed to cause, among other issues, birth defects in newly born puppies and kittens.
The same EWG report cited above, linked phthalates not just to birth defects in pets, but to all kinds of reproductive issues also—a side effect perhaps more cruel than even death.
If you’re anything like us, leaving your dog at home when traveling is hard. The thought of being away from your best animal friend for a week or longer is enough to give any serious pet-owner separation anxiety. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: bring your dog along for the ride, or flight. Vacationing with pets is the absolute best, but without adequate preparation and careful planning, it can be the absolute worst. Follow the tips below to make sure you and your pup share a safe and memorable traveling experience.
Pack the Necessary Gear
Traveling with your dog, while rewarding, can be quite a handful. Remembering to bring all the necessary gear will make the experience much simpler, and ultimately much more fun. At the minimum, do not forget the following items:
- Food and treats, enough for the entire trip
- Filtered or bottled water (For the sake of our planet, try to avoid plastic bottles)
- Food and water bowls
- A dog-specific first aid kit
- A carrier crate
- A leash or harness
- Health certificate from your vet, and other necessary medical records.
- Poop bags
- Naturally sourced flea & tick spray (apply daily, and before walks or hikes)
- Your dog’s favorite toys and blankets.
- Necessary medications
- Spare set of current ID tags.
- Cleaning materials in case of of accidents (wet wipes, paper towels, natural cleaner, etc)
Prep Your Pet For Travel
The quality of your dog’s travel experience will depend largely on how well you prepare them for the trip. Since they’ll be spending lots of time in their crate over the coming days, it’s vital that you acclimate your pet to their travel crate. In the weeks leading up to your trip, get your pup used to their carrier by serving them meals inside of it, and encouraging them to nap or spend the night inside at least once, too. Do not force the carrier on your dog if they’re not crate-trained; doing so might make them afraid of it. Instead, allow them to explore the crate for themselves, encouraging them with treats and positive reinforcement when necessary.
If you’re driving instead of flying, take a few test drives with your dog secured inside their travel crate. This will accomplish two things: First, you’ll help them get used to riding inside a car while in their crate, and second, you’ll learn how well your dog handles car travel—in terms of motion sickness, accidents, general behavior, etc.
Before Traveling, Visit Your Veterinarian
Because not all dogs are good candidates for air or road travel or both, it’s important to schedule a checkup with your vet beforehand. Most airlines require a health certificate from your vet dated within 10–30 days of your scheduled departure, so be sure to acquire the proper paperwork during your visit, too. Pet health requirements vary based on airline and location, so contact your chosen airline and the foreign office of your destination country before your vet visit.
Choose Pet-Friendly Lodging
Some hotels only allow certain sizes and breeds of dog, while many do not allow any pets at all. Doing some preliminary research on pet-friendly lodging will save you a lot of headache in the long run (tip: BringFido is a good resource for planning pet-friendly vacations). Even within pet-friendly environments, remember to respect fellow guests by keeping your pup as quiet and calm as possible. Also, never leave your dog unattended in a hotel or motel room—dogs in unfamiliar locations often become anxious, and will bark loudly or possibly even damage their surroundings.
Choose the Right Crate
While the size and shape will depend upon breed and age, there are in general two types of carrier crates: soft-sided and hard-sided. In terms of flying, soft crates are better for carry-on, and hard-sided are better for cargo travel. Regardless, use a USDA-approved shipping crate with plenty of ventilation that’s large enough for your dog to stand up, move around, and lie down in. It’s extremely important to tag your crate with your dog’s name, the words “live animal,” and your final destination, personal phone number and address. To make your pet more comfortable, we recommend lining the crate with bedding and including some of your dog’s favorite toys and blankets in the crate, too. If you’re driving instead of flying, always keep your dog inside a secured carrier when on the road.
Protect Your Dog From Biting Insects & Other Pests
Even though your dog is always at risk of contracting illnesses or bites from bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, he or she is especially vulnerable when traveling. For your dog’s safety, apply a naturally sourced, pet-safe repellent to your pet daily and before outdoor activities such as hiking or visiting dog parks.
Prepare For Your Flight
First, always contact your chosen airline before flying, as each one has their own rules and stipulations regarding pets and how they should travel. Next, book you and your dog’s flight at the same time and as early as possible—most airlines have limited space for pets, so early booking is essential. For the safety of your pet, make sure to fly a direct, non-stop flight, and try to aim for a weekday departure. Airports are typically less busy on these days, which should help limit potential complications and travel stress. To prevent accidents, do not feed your dog for 4–6 hours before flying, and make sure to take them for a walk as close to departure time as possible. Lastly, make sure your pup has access to water during travel—risking an accident is better than risking dehydration!
When Driving, Adhere to the Following Guidelines
- Even with cracked windows at only 85°F, the inside of your car can reach 110°F in just 10 minutes. Please, please, please never leave your dog in the car unattended.
- Reconsider letting your dog hang their head out of the car window. The ASPCA warns this can lead to inner ear damage and even lung infections.
- The AAA estimates that over 30,000 auto accidents are caused by unrestrained dogs each year. Always have your pet in their crate and secured when road-tripping.
- Plan out your trip in advance, making sure that all scheduled destinations are pet-friendly and can sufficiently accommodate your pup.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends pet owners stop every 2-3 hours to allow their dogs to walk around, grab a drink, and go to the bathroom.
- Keep cool, filtered water close at hand to ensure your pup stays hydrated between pit stops.
- Keep your pet’s medical records handy, as you might need to show them to authorities when crossing state lines.
- Keep your car well ventilated during road trips—this will guarantee your pup’s carrier receives plenty of fresh air.
Try Soothing Supplements
Natural supplements like CBD oil and essential oils are becoming a popular approach for keeping pups calm during travel. In fact, a 2006 study confirmed that lavender essential oil helped alleviate travel-induced anxiety in canines. Cool, huh?
Go for a Long Walk Once You Arrive
Once you reach your final destination, but before checking into your hotel, take your dog for a long, exploratory walk. This will give your dog the opportunity to become more familiar with their surroundings, while stretching their legs and going to the restroom. A nice long walk will also exercise your dog and relax them a bit, making them more receptive to the unfamiliar experiences they’ll encounter over the next several days.