Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Dealing with Wasps Safely


By Reena Nerbas

Shopping Cart Cleaner

Dear Reena,

Do you know of a cleaner that I can make myself and carry in my purse to clean the handle of grocery store shopping carts? Thanks, Marie

Dear Marie,

An easy solution is to carry baby wipes in your bag to clean cart handles. The following formula may be used for shopping carts or as a hand cleaner. Into an empty squeeze bottle combine: One cup Aloe Vera gel, 1 tbsp. rubbing alcohol and one quarter tsp. dish soap. Stir and squeeze onto cloth and wipe handle.


Dear Reena,

Can you please tell me how to get rid of a wasp nest underneath the overhang on the roof at the front of my house? Thanks, Kenneth

Dear Kenneth,

If you notice wasps building a nest in the same space year after year, purchase an artificial wasp nest. Or make your own by blowing up a brown paper lunch bag and closing it with a string. Artificial wasp nests may also be purchased at hardware and department stores. Or locate an old abandoned nest and hang it in the place where wasps typically build. Wasps are territorial and don’t like to build their home where someone else already lives.

If wasps are not bothering you, leave them alone. Knocking down a wasp nest is risky business; surviving wasps will be angry and may attack. Also, they often rebuild nests in a new, nearby location. If you are desperate to remove a small nest, do so at night when they are sluggish. While wearing protective clothing, pull the nest inside of a sealable plastic bag or coffee can. For large wasp nests, call an expert. Smoking out a nest is a risky fire hazard.

Make your own wasp deterrent: In a spray bottle, combine 1 tsp. (5 mL) dish soap and 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) water. Drop in 2-3 garlic cloves. Leave overnight. Spray clothes and skin with the repellent mixture to deter wasps as well as mosquitoes. Or add 1 tsp. (5 mL) dish soap to a bottle of Mountain Dew. Place the container away from the seating area and watch those wasps disappear. Here is another option: Take an open can of tuna and lace it with borax. The wasps gobble up the tuna and will disappear in a few days. Wasps love garbage!

NOTE: Please keep borax away from pets and children as it is poisonous.

Flat Soda

Dear Reena,

Do you have any tips on how to keep soda pop from going flat (especially two-liter bottles)? Thank you, Wayne

Dear Wayne,

Keeping pop cold (but not frozen) and closed are big factors in fizz loss since the solubility of carbon dioxide is greater at lower temperatures. Squeezing the bottle until the soda almost reaches the opening before recapping is also an effective trick since smaller gas volume reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the gas phase. In addition, you can purchase a cap that enables the user to re-pressurize the bottle. Turn it in place and then operate the little attached pump which is part of and affixed to the center of the cap, these are available at many department stores.

Grow Your Own Freshness

Transform a dull meal by adding fresh herbs to the dish. Grow them indoors or outside in pots, they won’t take up much room and they won’t take over your garden.

  • Start with a high quality potting soil. Try this combination; potting soil, used coffee grounds, organic compost and crushed egg shells.
  • Popular herbs: Rosemary (add to potato or chicken dishes, gives foods a Mediterranean flavor), basil (Italian dishes), chives (salads, egg dishes and potato casseroles), oregano (Greek or Mexican cuisine), thyme (French cuisine, vegetable and meat dishes), parsley (add to dishes containing garlic and fish), sage (liven up meat dishes) and mint (perfect for salads and homemade tea).
  • Make your life a little simpler: Grow fresh herbs from seedlings rather than seeds.
  • Water herbs daily and spritz with water to keep plants happy.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

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