How to Build a Ladybug House

How to Build a Ladybug House

We built mason bee houses to attract pollinators for our fruit trees. Now, that that’s worked, we’re working to attract more beneficial bugs to help with the pest control.

Since this is the first year that our apricot bushes have fruited, making sure they’re well protected is top priority. I did some research to figure out which pests we were likely to be up against, and learned that aphids are one of the biggest threats. Knowing that ladybugs have a voracious appetite for aphids, I decided it was time for us to finally build that ladybug house that’s been sitting on my to-do list for ages.

We already have a good ladybug population in our yard, but by building them a house, we hope to encourage them to overwinter in our yard, so they’ll be ready to go to work for us as soon as the warm weather arrives each spring. And since we’ll be placing our new ladybug house next to our apricot bushes, that should mean our bushes will be well protected from aphids all season long.

Ladybugs also eat mites, white flies and scale, so we may just have to build another one for our vegetable garden.

Want to build your own ladybug house? Here’s how we made ours: [Read more...]

How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

Carpenter Bee Damage

See those holes? They were made by carpenter bees. That’s pressure treated lumber, and they started boring holes in it as soon as we finished building our tree house. They continue to bore new holes in it every spring.

When we built a new roof overhang over the basement a couple years ago, they bored holes through the new cedar supports, before we had a chance to finish them, and they continued to bore holes through them even after we stained them. They’re destructive creatures, I tell you.

So, this year, it’s on. Since we’re not fans of chemical solutions, my husband and I decided to build some carpenter bee traps. We’ve been seeing them in catalogs lately, so we did some research, and came up with our own design. Here’s how it’s made: [Read more...]

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Ready to dive into your spring cleaning, but not sure where to start? Print a copy of my spring cleaning checklist, and use it as your guide.

How to Clean a Coffee or Spice Grinder

How to Clean a Coffee or Spice Grinder

I ground some cumin in my coffee/spice grinder two weeks ago, and it still smelled like cumin when I pulled it out this morning. Those essential oils really have staying power! Not wanting the next thing I grind to smell and taste like cumin (unless it happens to be cumin), I took a minute to give my grinder a thorough cleaning. Here’s what you do. [Read more...]

Restoration Hardware Shelf Hack

Restoration Hardware Shelf Hack

Last spring, I spotted a shelf in the Restoration Hardware catalog that I absolutely loved, but I wasn’t feeling the same love for the price. It would have been $285 for the shelf and another $25 for the shipping. Youch!

Fortunately, I knew it was something that my husband and I could easily replicate. [Read more...]