Ridding your entertaining areas of pesky flying insects, ants and other bugs:

Repel flies naturally with fragrant herbs and plants such as pots of lemongrass, basil and any type of mint including easy to grow lemon balm around doorways and windows with the added advantage that you can use these fragrant plants in cooking.

Lavender bushes planted under windows and around entranceways are also a good fly deterrent and lavender smells heavenly. Hang dried sprigs of lavender in the kitchen, flies hate it and lavender helps to rid area of cooking smells. Also take a bunch with you when camping. Burning lavender and other fragrant oils or candles is another good trick but if camping be careful of fire risk, incense if often a better option.

When dining outside on summer evenings deter mosquitoes, sandflies and midges/gnats by toasting sage and rosemary leaves on the barbecue. Makes the meat taste great too!

Gnats/midges hate the smell of geraniums so plant in pots around doors and windows and in the garden around your entertaining areas. Burning citronella candles will also discourage small flying insects especially mosquitoes.
Avoid leaving open containers of water lying round, don’t over water plant pots and empty out the drainers if you have guests arriving on the same day.

Crawling Insects
Ants and other crawling bugs hate coffee ground and are repelled by Tansy Plants which are best planted outdoors so take a walk round your house to see where you think the ants are getting in. They are such busy little creatures that you easily be able to follow their trail. Once the trail of ants is found plant a row of tansy in their way and sprinkle the clear ground close to the house and their access way with coffee grounds.

Inside your cupboards or bench that ants seem to incessantly find their way onto or into simply leave an open jar of old coffee grounds near the suspected ant access spot.

Also if plagued by ants around your outside entertaining areas see if you can plug in your coffee maker outside and the smell alone will repel them. I spread used coffee grounds between my courtyard flagstones to discourage the growth of weeds as well as discourage ants.
On Picnics
For fire safety rather than a candle/oil burner instead burn lavender incense for the flies and leave an undrunk cup of strong coffee in the middle of a picnic table as this will stop an invasion from the local ant population.

Here’s to feasting outdoors more gardening and household tips in 2018.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The Kitchen Garden Gnome