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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Shoo Fly! Shoo!

As a rogue fly whizzes around our house, I quickly run downstairs to find my old-fashioned, umbrella food tent to protect the cake that I had just pulled from the oven. Eternally squeamish about flies (thanks, Mom) it is rare they get into our house, but when they do I won’t rest until they are either outside again (or very obviously dead).

Not into using chemicals, I will chase them down with a can of hairspray, or grab a catalog to frantically (maniacally comical, perhaps) swat at them – well aware that I am amusing everybody except for myself. Insects and flies (Are flies actually insects? Yes, I just checked) both fascinate and repulse most of us. Some people like to watch scary movies that involve them (Jeff Goldblum will always be my one and only favorite fly) but we don’t want them in our homes, or casually landing on our freshly, unpacked ham and cheese sandwich. So, with creepy crawlies on my mind, here are a few, non-deadly ways to keep them away from you this holiday weekend.


A traditional, glass Wasp Catcher, filled with all sorts of concoctions, will lure flying insects into them, making it impossible for them to escape. If you don’t have one of these, you can quickly make your own with an empty, plastic soda bottle (instructions here).

FOOD UMBRELLAS So simple, yet so effective. With a bit of a retro vibe, 

mine were bought at a Fair many years ago (for about a dollar each).  

These adorable mesh umbrellas are still very inexpensive (usually less than five dollars), and are available on-line, or at many nearby home and garden stores.

FANS Most flying insects prefer it when the air is still, so a fan will keep them away for most of the afternoon. Install a permanent one on the inside ceiling of your porch (extra points if your ceiling is pale blue, as that is supposed to deter insects too) or grab your favorite one from inside, and point it towards your picnic table. 

PLANTS AND HERBS There are many plants and herbs that are said to repel mosquitoes and flies. 

Citronella is the one we hear of the most (usually found in candles) but you can also buy this, and many other repelling plants, at your local garden center. 

 For best results, you may want more than one, so for a full list, check out these plant ideas from Natural Living.


Common garden ants are rarely more than a passing nuisance,

but if you don’t want a small army of them invading your next outdoor party, 

there are a few precautions you can take. 

Although they often seem to be the Houdini’s of the insect world, they are also easily deterred by the most harmless of ingredients. Try stopping them with a path of chalk, a squirt of lemon or one of these other unexpected household items.

 SHOOFLY PIE It didn’t seem right to finish this blog without a recipe for traditional Shoofly Pie, but there were so many recipes that I just chose the one that I have used in my own kitchen. The story of its name seems to vary, with some saying it was named after people yelling, “Shoo fly!”, and others say that it was named after a type of molasses that was called Shoofly. 

Whatever the origin, it is simple and delicious

– in spite of its very unfortunate name.

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to:

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