Wiser Living
Finding a natural solution

5 DIY Remedies to Keep Bugs Away This Summer

Insects and bugs are a common problem during the warmer months of the year. Attracted by various food sources, from crumbs to your pets, insects like ants, mosquitoes and wasps can make your life miserable once they invade your home and garden.

When you hire a professional contractor, exterminating most of these creatures can cost an average of $250 to $300, while termite and bed bug extermination can cost $1,300 to $2,500. Thankfully, you don’t need to hire an exterminator or use a lot of toxic chemicals to deal with the issue; there are many natural remedies you can use to help rid your home of pests.

food and herbs on the grill
Photo by Adobe Stock/
karepa.

Diatomaceous Earth and Borax for Ants

Even finding one ant inside your home can indicate a bigger problem. Ants can eat away at your home, cause foul odors and, generally, be a nuisance. To find the most effective means of dealing with them, you need to know what type of ants you have.

The most common ants found in homes are odorous ant, house ants and carpenter ants. For house ants or odorous ants, mix equal parts borax and sugar and sprinkle it around the areas the ants enter to attract and kill them. For carpenter ants sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE), a lethal dust for insects, made from natural and organic algae-like plants around your baseboards.

Repel Mosquitoes and Flies with Basil & Rosemary

Simply put some fresh basil leaves in a vase or jar with water, then leave them on a table or mantel as decoration. Basil naturally repels both mosquitoes and houseflies, along with looking and smelling great. Add some flowers for a more appealing aesthetic, or decorate the vase or jar with ribbons to blend it in with your decor.

If you’re having a barbeque, and want to keep the bugs away from your guests, just throw a bit of rosemary on the coals to help repel mosquitoes. Rosemary also grows well in gardens as a culinary herb; you can keep it in small pots on your window sill or on your porch to help keep bugs away, while adding its fresh scent to your home.

Repel Garden Bugs with Flowers

Keep your garden and yard free of some of the more annoying bugs by planting any of the following around the perimeter. All of these plants are well-known natural bug repellents that will help increase your enjoyment of your yard.

Citronella Grass
Citronella oil is frequently added to natural bug repellents and the grass it grows from has the same repelling qualities. Plant some around your garden, or simply set a few pots of it out on your porch, to help keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Petunias
Petunias are easy to grow and make a beautiful addition to any yard. Known as “Nature’s Pesticide”, petunias can repel aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers and squash bugs. Protect your garden crops by planting petunias around the perimeter          .

Lavender
Lavender has a smell that repels mosquitoes, even as it attracts people. Lavender is perfect for the summer season because it grows best in hot, dry climates. The beautiful purple blooms can also be harvested and dried to capture the scent inside your home for months during the winter, as well.

Make a Jar Trap for Wasps

Wasps are a nasty customer to deal with in your yard or home. If they’ve been buzzing around your house or garden, consider making a jar trap to attract and capture them naturally. Fill a jar with 6 ounces of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt. Set the jar near the area the wasps are coming from; the more wasps you have, the more jars you may need. Keep the jars in place until you’ve attracted and killed all the unwanted guests.

Before you opt for invasive or expensive methods to deal with pests in and around your home, give these simple, do-it-yourself methods a try. You may find them effective for dealing with minor to moderate infestations. If you find that you need more help, a pest control service may be necessary. To find out more about the costs, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

T1International: Saving Diabetic Lives

Many misconceptions are associated with diabetes, but it’s a complex condition that predominately affects people in two forms. You have type 1 and type 2; type 1 diabetes is typically caused by an autoimmune response in which the immune system attacks insulin making cells in the pancreas. The cause hasn’t been confirmed and the healthiest individuals can be affected.

It’s Not Only the U.S.

While diabetes is prevalent in the U.S., it’s making a painful mark on countries around the world. It has been speculated that rates of type 1 aren’t high in some poverty stricken countries because people die quickly after diagnosis, since they don’t have access to insulin. Insulin is life: Type 1 diabetics around the world are dying without it.

Say Hello to T1International

T1International is aiming to change the world for diabetics. Their website states that they are “working toward access and affordability of access to insulin, diabetes supplies, medical care and education for all people living with type 1 diabetes.” Awareness is raised through personal stories form type 1 diabetics, statistics and other data, as well as providing knowledge to those supporting the cause through the T1International Advocacy Tool Kit.

T1 advocacy toolkit

Recently, the head of T1International, Elizabeth Rowley, traveled to Uganda to take part in a camp hosted by the Sonia Nabeta Foundation, who also advocates for type 1 diabetics and their need for supplies in in Africa. Elizabeth and Stephen Nabeta began the foundation in honor of their daughter, Sonia Stephanie Clarissa Kyagaba Nabeta, who lost her battle with type 1 diabetes in 2015.

Rowley and her travel partner, Gavin Griffiths, were able to inspire not only hope in the camp’s attendees, but a passion to push for change. With the Advocacy Tool Kit, Rowley spent several sessions explaining how to effectively fight for the things they need to survive. Their current goal is to constructively create a plan to get the government to commit to providing one daily syringe to each diabetic by the end of the year. Ugandan diabetics depend on donations, which can often be uncertain, and syringes are a crucial part of care. T1International made a profound impact in Uganda and continues to do so in other areas.

Type 1 Diabetes Around the World

Low income individuals in Bolivia often die as they do not have access to proper healthcare. Patients wait in long lines to see doctors; natural remedies are often used in place of insulin, leading to severe complications and death. Much of the insulin in Bolivia has been smuggled in and sometimes is of poor quality, which also causes complications.

Venezuelans have little to no access to insulin or blood sugar strips. Parents of diabetic children will opt to not inject insulin when they are unable to test blood sugar. Too much insulin could cause a life threatening condition known as hypoglycemia, but high blood sugar can result in death as well. Unfortunately, it’s a lose-lose situation.

Thailand is praised for having a great healthcare system, and they do have great healthcare that is accessible to those who work. But there is little education of what type 1 diabetes is, therefore the care is inadequate. People die because the disease is not understood. Advocacy can prove to be extremely important in these places because it helps create a knowledge base and understanding.

Even in the U.S., diabetics aren’t getting the insulin they need because of astronomical prices. Here, in our own country, people are dying because of this.

T1international group

Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a United Nations document drafted by diverse individuals worldwide, in effort to set a standard of principals in which our world should live upon. “It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages,” states the UN’s site. Article 3 in this document reads, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” The right to life; we all have the right to life. To me, it seems we are stripping type 1 diabetics of the right to live by denying them a medication they cannot live without.

In 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin and handed the patent over to the University of Toronto, and ultimately Eli Lilly, because they wanted it to be distributed to everyone who would need it. Their intent was not to make money, but their fears are now a reality; many diabetics don’t have access.

People have been spreading the word through the #insulin4all tag and by signing the T1International charter. The charter shows how many supporters stand behind diabetic rights and can be an influencer in making big changes in governments. Five key rights that diabetics need to live a full, healthy life are:

1. The right to insulin.
2. The right to manage your blood sugar.
3. The right to diabetes education.
4. The right to healthcare.
5. The right to live a life free from discrimination.

By simply educating yourself on the matter, sharing the #insulin4all tag and signing the charter, you are giving diabetics everywhere a fighting chance.

Photos courtesy T1International.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.

A Brief History of the Summer Solstice

Summer is, officially, here! Although school has been out for some time, June 20th marked the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer as we know it. Also known as Midsummer, the summer solstice has been celebrated and honored by civilizations throughout history.

The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated with feasts and, in both cultures, the solstice aligned with some of their most prominent festivals—the Olympics in Greece and the festival of Vestalia in Rome. The Native American Sun Dance represents this changing of seasons and other early indigenous tribes often built their important structures during solstices. Some pagan traditions believed that certain plants, such as St. John’s wort, roses and rue, possessed different, beneficial properties if picked on the year’s shortest night.

stonehenge with bright sun
Photo by Adobe Stock/andrewmroland.

So why do we continue to celebrate this ancient holiday?

Like many of our modern traditions, the summer solstice was also married to religious calendars during the rise of Christianity. Throughout Europe, what pagans called the solstice became St. John the Baptist’s Day.

In recent years, studies have been conducted to determine whether humans are happier when the days are longer and have more hours of sunlight. One specific study looked at the tweets of 2.4 million people across the world. The researchers discovered that, based on the content of tweets, people were more positive when the summer solstice was approaching, lengthening the hours of daylight. (Learn more about how vitamin D can improve well-being.)

Although the hours of day shorten following this solstice, it’s a time of optimism and new beginnings. Whether you actively celebrate with established traditions, you probably honor it in other ways throughout the season. Bonfires, picnics, barbecues, family cook-outs and other festivities are all essential parts of summer that allow you to enjoy the weather and sunshine before winter rolls back around.

Think you know everything about the solstice? Test your knowledge with a short quiz!

Device Settings You Should Be Using to Save Cash and Energy

phone battery notification
 Photo by Shutterstock.

Want to cut down on energy consumption? From your thermostat and refrigerator to your smartphone and personal computer, these are the device setting hacks that you should know about.

Boost Battery Life

Today smartphones are the most used device. And it’s likely you could be cutting down on your energy consumption costs. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 plus are already energy-efficient, but can be even more so with a few simple hacks. It’s longtime charge of 11 hours can be optimized by turning off the Always On display. This setting draws a bit of juice that can wear down the battery life, but by disabling it via the Settings menu, you can earn yourself extra battery life. Also, changing your Galaxy S8 plus screen resolution from 2960x1440 to 1440x720 can also work wonders when it comes to extending your battery life.

Disable Notifications

Notifications can get annoying. And these annoying alerts drain energy. Manage your device’s alerts in the settings center and opt for the alerts that you want or need only. Do you really need to know how many likes your latest Instagram post is getting in real time?

Use Sleep Mode Power Settings

Named one of Energy Star’s most efficient desktop computers of 2017, the ASUS MB169 is a portable, lightweight computer that is a simple choice for energy efficiency. But not only is the model itself efficient, it comes equipped with a host of eco-friendly, energy-saving settings to reduce your footprint. One such setting is the MB169’s sleep mode. Rather than turning your system off, then on again, sleep mode, or standby, uses less energy from the outlet than powering down, utilizing the least amount of power necessary. A constantly running PC can run you about $130 per year. Putting it to sleep can save you some coin.

Switch Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

These two are major energy suckers. Turn them off. When they are on, your phone is constantly searching for a signal to pull from, which drains your phone’s battery and wastes unnecessary energy. For iPhone users, deselect these options in the slide up control center.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Want to save as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs? It’s simple. Turning your thermostat back by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours each day from its normal setting can do the trick. Just switch it back before heading into work, and when you come home, switch it back on, cites the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s that easy. Programmable thermostats, also called smart thermostats or learning thermostats, like Nest or EcoBee can also save you money, plus you can control them directly from your smartphone remotely.

Manage Your Brightness

This should go without saying. Managing your screen brightness, no matter what device you’re using, whether it’s a tablet, computer or phone, can cut energy usage, because you’re not constantly searching for an outlet, and also save battery life. Disable automatic brightness and enable manual control of your display brightness. For iOS users, you can do this by tapping Settings, then Brightness on your device.

Set the Right Temp

Is your refrigerator running? You can save money on your utilities and conserve energy by ensuring that your refrigerator is running at an optimal temperature. Energy Star recommends setting the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the door closed and regularly checking the seals can also save money and energy.


Lauren Topor full-time freelance writer and alumna of Arizona State University. Her professional work has appeared in a variety of publications from lifestyle mags to business websites. Follow Lauren on Twitter @laurentopor.

Charity Spotlight: National Women’s Health Network

 

Why They’re Crucial: When we cover personal care and health, we encourage readers to be vigilant about what products they use, their effects, and how they’re made. That’s because poorly regulated or tested ingredients in everything from makeup to headache medicine may potentially cause serious health risks.

The National Women’s Health Network is a nonprofit that has worked since 1975 to help shape policy and support consumer health decisions; monitor the health-care industry and health professions; and provide accurately researched information for women on health issues and consumer safety. The group’s main strategic approach is to analyze important women’s health issues and share their informed understanding in ways that encourage grassroots action, bringing the voices of people concerned about women’s health to decision-makers and industry leaders.

What They Do
• Work to improve access to health care that meets the needs of diverse women
• Provide thoroughly researched answers to common health questions
• Create updates and alerts on policy and product safety information

Did You Know?

More than 80 percent of prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generic drugs not required to include the same side effect information as brand-name counterparts.

A 2001 study found that eight in 10 drugs recalled from the U.S. market posed a greater health risk to women than men.

Visit the National Women's Health Network

4 Benefits of Having Pets

In the United States, more than 50 percent of households own a pet and consider it to be part of the family. Dogs and cats are the most common companion animals, but some keep birds, horses and other animals for the same purpose. Research suggests that pet owners experience fewer illnesses, improved recovery time following injury or surgery, and are often happier. Although it’s true that pets are great company and ensure feelings of loneliness are few and far between, these furry friends are likely providing more than anyone realizes.

cat and dog playing
Photo by Adobe Stock/vvvita.

Promote Heart Health

Studies of the human-animal bond are fairly new, but the National Institutes of Health reported that pet owners were more likely to have lower heart rates and levels of stress than those without pets. More specifically, dog owners who had experienced a heart attack were more likely to live through the following year than those who didn’t own a dog.

Aid in Child Development

Aside from physical health benefits, other research suggests that pets can play a crucial role during childhood. Many children report talking to their pets before anyone else when they’re upset or scared. James Griffin, an expert in child development and behavior, says that this shows the value of pets as sources of “comfort and developing empathy.” For children with autism, pets can be especially helpful for working on their ability to interact with family members and other kids.

Boost Immunity & Fight Allergies

It may sound contradictory, but children raised in a home with pets are less prone to common allergies, such as ragweed and pet allergies. Researchers have found that growing up with animals allows the immune system to build a tolerance to specific allergens and bacteria.

Reduce Stress

Pets are cute, cuddly and soft, all of which allow them to help their owners manage stress. When your dog or cat does that silly thing that always makes you laugh, you’re reducing stress. Petting and grooming companion animals is relaxing, for both the animal and human, and lowers heart rate.

In a study from Miami University and Saint Louis University, psychologists found that pet owners also had higher self-esteem as well as fewer feelings of fear, loneliness and depression which resulted in reduced feelings related to stress.

Caring for an animal is a big responsibility, but it can also add a sense of purpose to daily life which may increase lifespan. If you’ve been debating whether or not to get a pet, consider the positive benefits it can bring and then go find newest, cuddliest addition to your family.

The Sandpearl Resort: Earth Conscious Luxury

Resort

Photo courtesy The Sandpearl Resort

The Sandpearl Resort resides on the sandy white beaches of Clearwater Beach, Florida; a semi-detached island off the gulf coast. You may know Clearwater for its celebrity residents like Hulk Hogan and the creators of Crayola, but the Sandpearl is also a growing icon of the area.

When pulling up to the towering, luxury hotel, it hardly seems that the AAA four diamond resort is a leader in green lodging and conservancy. The building met all requirements to become a LEED certified resort with its energy efficient construction and systems.

The conserving plumbing systems cut water consumption by 2.2 million gallons every year. Traditional Freon cooling systems are bypassed and a water based system is used to efficiently cool air while using only 70% of the energy the typical air conditioner requires.

Keeping Guests Healthy

The materials chosen to build the resort are low in contaminants and particles that could harm the human body. An air filtering system further purifies the air for clean breathing.

Below a grand back entrance with cascading waterfall resides the beach entry pool, surrounded by palm trees, a bar/restaurant and breathtaking emerald water views. A naturally occurring oxygen product, ozone, is used to cleanse the pool, rather than toxic chlorine that damages our skin, body and swimsuit. In the winter, the water is heated through an all-natural, geothermal, heating system.

Food

Carretta on the Gulf is the main dining area, located off the formal lobby will seashell chandeliers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered in a fine dining atmosphere, overlooking the gulf. The menus are centered around organic or natural choices. For breakfast, a la carte pancakes, French toast, eggs, smoked salmon and fruit plates are available, or you can go with the extensive buffet complete with omelet bar, waffles, cheeses and any other breakfast item you can think of.

Exterior

Photo courtesy The Sandpearl Resort

Tate Island Grill is the casual restaurant located beside the pool and serves cafe style seafood. It's a simple choice if you don't want to change out of your swim suit, and with all of the complimentary activities the Sandpearl offers, from volley ball, corn hole to boogie boarding, you probably will want to hang by the water all day. The Cajun Salmon Salad is Greek inspired with kalamata olives, feta cheese, peppers and crisp, dark green lettuce. If you’re wanting authentic beach fare, the Crab Cake Sandwich with House Made Potato Chips is loaded with real crab and delicious sauce with a soft, light bun.

If you are looking to dine out, the Thirsty Marlin is short drive from Clearwater, in Palm Harbor. Being a family friendly, relaxed restaurant with outdoor dining area, it’s a favorite for us. Ingredients are high quality and fresh with the use of many vegetables and herbs. Fish choices, like crab topped grouper and salmon are served with healthful sides such as beans and rice and fresh salads. If you are looking to get a little crazy, the corn on the cob is lightly fried and absolutely fantastic. Thirsty Marlin's special sauces compliment their cracked conch appetizer well, or for a healthier starter, the sushi menu is a mile long.

Activities

Spa

Photo courtesy The Sandpearl Resort

If lounging by some of the most beautiful waters in the United States isn't enough, the Sandpearl's Spa offers natural and organic skin treatments for a day of eco-friendly relaxation. The entire spa area is equipped with water features, calming rooms and the same environmental standards as the rest of the resort.

Tours are offered by the Sandpearl of the surrounding Eco system. For adults and children, the enrichment programs teach the importance of protecting the earth. Kayaking and night tours are fun, unique ways to learn about sea life.

Organic cooking classes are offered; you can assist in cooking a gourmet meal under the instruction of Carretta's accomplished chef. Don't worry, you definitely will get to eat it!

A Cozy Night Environment

When night rolls in, you won't find a drunken party going on by the pool; things wind down, the fire pit lights up and families gather for smores. Everything becomes very peaceful, and room service will deliver healthy snacks to your room for enjoyment on the balcony. The Sandpearl provides a truly magical experience for adults and kids alike. Knowing that you are contributing to preserving the environment while on vacation is a pretty great feeling.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.