Surprising Ways to Get Rid of Bugs at your Next Outdoor Party

Last week I tackled the question of whether or not yellow bug lights actually work to reduce the swarms of insects you usually see around a light. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the cliff notes: Yes, they do. But you’re going to need more in your arsenal.

How to Deter Those Pesky Pests

I’m one of those lucky few that seem to attract every mosquito within a 5 mile radius (my Daddy used to say it was because I was ‘so sweet’ 🙂 ). There are a handful of methods that have always been my first plan of attack: Citronella candles, dousing myself with insect body spray, and even employing the use of wonderfully entertaining bug zappers. But I’ve recently learned that there are some highly effective, though less-common methods of bug-banishment that many people swear by:

Bring out the Big Guns

Unleash your inner Clint Eastwood with this salt-laden bug obliterator. The Bug-a-Salt fires a lethal grade of table salt to destroy its winged victims.

Bug-a-Salt sprayer

Did You Know? Opt for LED light bulbs in your outdoor fixtures. Insects are attracted to high levels of ultraviolet light. Though any light will attract some bugs, LED’s emit almost no UV light, so they don’t attract as many insects as a regular bulb would. Incandescent & CFL ‘bug lights’ also attract less insects by using yellow bulbs to change the color temperature that bugs can see. (Read more in Bug Lights: Do They Work?)
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bug lights, do they work

Bug Lights – Do They Work?

IMG_5970-new
An outdoor barbecue is going to lure insects into your yard. Aside from eating your hamburger in a dark void, there’s not much you can do that will totally eradicate all insects from your lawn, but will using bug lights help?

The smoky aromas, good music and friendly laughter from your outdoor BBQ may have drawn the neighbors in, but chances are good that it also drew in a few unwanted guests. Mosquitos. Flies. Bees. They love the sweet lure of barbecue sauce, along with one of the necessary ingredients for an evening party — Light.

You may have seen yellow “bug lights” in your department store and wondered if they actually worked or if they were just another marketing gimmick. (more…)

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Ultimate Garage Lighting, A Buyers Guide with Infographic

The Ultimate Guide to Garage Lighting [with Infographic]

A great garage lighting strategy requires a great garage layout. So how exactly do you achieve that? Whether your garage is your lair, your storage room, a place to park your car, or all three, we have some ideas that will help you define the space, along with lighting product suggestions for each one.

Expert organizers recommend that you think of your garage in terms of zones:

Divide the garage into zones for optimal organization
Source: EasyClosets, a division of the Stow Company
  1. Transition Zone
  2. Need it Now
  3. Long, Tall and Thin Storage
  4. Large Item Storage
  5. Frequently Used Items
  6. Workspace

The Best Lighting for the Garage

Once you’ve determined your zones, it’s time to start brightening the space up. Each area of the garage will have different lighting needs, and different products that fit them the best. Let’s take a look at each zone and your best lighting options for each one:

  • The Transition Zone (Zone 1) is located right outside the door leading into and out of your house from the garage. It may have a few steps up, with or without a handrail. For this area we recommend battery operated, motion activated lights around the entry door and steps with auto on/off features, so you aren’t fumbling for keys or tripping up the stairs while carrying in a load of groceries.
  • Need it Now (Zone 2) usually consists of cabinets or shelving and is where things are stored that you want easy access to on a daily basis – like dog food, or canned goods and paper products overflow. For garage cabinet and shelf lighting we recommend microfluorescent strip lights, especially when located inside deep garage cabinets, where items can easily get shoved far back into dark corners. Wireless motion sensor in-cabinet lights with adhesive backing can stick anywhere and don’t require an electrical outlet.

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LED solar hanging planter basket for the garden.

This Solar Light May Have Turned Me into a Green Thumb

With the bounty of Spring upon us and Summer right around the corner, I decided to shine some light on a product that I’ve been itching to unbox: A hanging garden basket with ultra bright solar LEDs.

Just one problem…

I’m not much of a green thumb (truth be told, I’ve been known to kill a cactus) so I was a bit hesitant to – literally – put a spotlight on my inability to keep anything green alive.

What it Is
Solar LED hanging basket

  • A solar-powered LED light is suspended above a hanging garden basket.
  • Kit includes a solar panel, a coconut husk-lined basket, bracket and chains.
  • Automatic dusk-to-dawn solar light illuminates your plant.
  • Provides about 12 hours of warm white light when fully charged.
  • Currently priced at $49.00 (Note: The light is also available for purchase without the basket)

Where to Hang It

One of the features of solar lights is that they need to be positioned, well, in the sun. But the blazing hot Southern summers (and this non green-thumbed gal) can spell tragedy for plants. I’m much more likely to keep a shade loving plant alive. Thankfully, the remote solar panel can be installed up to 8 feet away from the planter which means I can hang my flowers in a shady area while positioning the panel in the sun for optimal charging.

Tips for Installing the Light

When you’re searching for the right place, make sure you have a nice sunny spot available within 8 feet of the basket to install the solar panel. For bright light throughout the evening, the panel should be exposed to direct sunlight for several hours a day. (more…)

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Battery powered camping lights

15 Gifts that Put Dad in the Spotlight on Father’s Day

This Father’s Day, get out of the tie and money clip routine with 15 bright gift ideas that shine a light on Dad’s favorite past times. Is your dad a grill master, an adventurer, an artist or a hardcore movie buff? Or is he one of those guys that has his own personal style that can’t be nailed down to just one? Whatever the case, chances are good that we’ve got a lighting gift to match his style:

1. The Grill Master

Battery operated grill light
Clip on Stainless Steel LED Battery Operated Grill Light

2. The English Professor

LED reading light with touch dimmer
Read in style with a 6-Watt Contemporary Reading Light with Touch Dimmer

3. The Gear-head

Motorcycle work light with flexible neck and 24 LEDs
Flexible LED worklight with 24 LEDs clamps onto the surface of his bike or car with a bendable neck.

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Weekend Warrior Recessed Lighting Project, Part Two

Weekend Warrior Series: LED Retrofit Lighting, Part Two

During the course of May, our team celebrated National Home Remodeling month by doing some simple lighting projects around the house and sharing them with our readers. We called it our “Weekend Warrior” series because all of the projects can be completed in a weekend (or less!). 


 

Weekend Warrior Retrofit LED Lighting Project

Project Two – The 1-Hour Project

In my last post I shared how we installed recessed lighting in our bonus room. Once I installed the LED retrofits there, I was hooked on the quality and energy-efficiency of the lighting. I decided to change out our seven 75-watt PAR30 halogen recessed lights in our kitchen with seven LED retrofit modules. The 7 halogen recessed lights used 525 total watts of electricity. By switching to LED retrofit modules I would reduce that wattage use to 87.5 watts! HUGE energy savings! In addition to the LED retrofit modules, I also changed out my dimmer switch to a Lutron Maestro C-L dimmer.

This was one project I was able to very easily do myself. In fact, I finished this one in less than an hour. (more…)

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