La­dy­bugs pes­ter­ing? Count your bless­ings

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NERBAS

QUES­TION: I would like to thank you for all of your work in help­ing Man­i­toba live green! Ev­ery year I bat­tle a large quan­tity of la­dy­bugs in my yard, they typ­i­cally stay out­doors but there are so many of them. What do you think I should do to get rid of them? Her­ald (Vir­den)

AN­SWER: La­dy­bugs got their name in the Mid­dle Ages dur­ing a ter­ri­ble aphid in­fes­ta­tion. Farm­ers gath­ered to­gether to pray to the Vir­gin Mary for help. Shortly there­after, la­dy­bugs ar­rived and be­gan eat­ing the aphids and the crops were saved. The farm­ers named the lit­tle red bee­tles la­dy­bugs af­ter the Vir­gin Mary, who they be­lieved had sent the in­sects as an an­swer to their pray­ers.

My ad­vice to you re­quires zero toxic chem­i­cals and no weapons of any kind, just count your bless­ings. Like ants, la­dy­bugs are ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to gardeners. La­dy­bugs eat huge amounts of aphids and there­fore as out­side crea­tures they are def­i­nitely a wel­come ad­di­tion.

On the other hand, in­door la­dy­bugs are an­other story; I have re­ceived many let­ters from peo­ple whose houses were in­fested and over­rid­den with thou­sands of la­dy­bugs but that’s an en­tirely dif­fer­ent chal­lenge.

QUES­TION: My daugh­ter left her straight­ener on our new bath­room counter in the base­ment. It is mar­ble. It has dis­col­ored the counter. Is there any way to re­move the “stain”? Also, which book­stores stock your book? I thor­oughly en­joy your col­umn and want to check out your books. Thanks for your time, Brenda (Mor­ris)

AN­SWER: Are you sure that you are deal­ing with real mar­ble or could it be cul­tured mar­ble? If you have cul­tured mar­ble, the dam­age may be per­ma­nent. You may find some­one who can sand it down and reap­ply a pro­tec­tive coat­ing, but it al­most cer­tainly won’t match the rest.

If you have real mar­ble, then you’ll need to hire a mar­ble restora­tion pro­fes­sional to sand/grind away the dam­aged stone, re-hone and re­pol­ish the area to match the rest of your coun­ter­top.

Whether you are deal­ing with real or ar­ti­fi­cial mar­ble, you can at­tempt the fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions but re­mem­ber to test ev­ery­thing on an in­con­spic­u­ous area first. For do-it-your­self re­pair, ap­ply ei­ther non-bleach tooth­paste or a paste of bak­ing soda and wa­ter onto the stain. Leave for at least three hours and wipe. Or use three per cent hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide and cover it with a white pa­per towel and plas­tic wrap. Tape the sides of the plas­tic onto the counter to cre­ate a poul­tice which may draw out the burn mark. Some peo­ple use 35 per cent hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide for this chal­lenge but the con­cen­tra­tion is quite high which makes this much more risky than three per cent.

If the mark re­mains, you may be able to hide the burn mark by ap­ply­ing bath­tub paint over the area. In any case it would be best to call in the pro­fes­sion­als as you don’t want to ac­cen­tu­ate or en­large the mark.

It is dif­fi­cult to find my books in stores; they are avail­able at house­hold­so­lu­ by call­ing 204-320-2757.

QUES­TION: I am help­ing my daugh­ter and son-in-law paint their new house. Be­fore I changed into my paint clothes, I got white paint on my denim skirt. Can you please tell me what to use to get paint out? I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate your help re­gard­ing this. Thanks, Vickie (Whiteshell)

AN­SWER: Since the paint is more than six hours old, you will need to take ag­gres­sive action. In a ven­ti­lated area, soak the stain in methyl hy­drate or paint thin­ner (found at your lo­cal hard­ware store; test on an in­con­spic­u­ous area first). Leave for 24 hours and scrub. Next, soak the shirt in dish soap and wa­ter, rinse and wash as nor­mal. Feed­back from reader: I was read­ing your col­umn about a lady who had a burnt pot. I just had a pot with burnt rel­ish con­tain­ing su­gar that I tried sev­eral dif­fer­ent things to clean it and had no luck. Then I bought a can of oven cleaner and sprayed the pot. I left it overnight and it be­came shiny clean. Just thought this sounded like an eas­ier so­lu­tion than boil­ing wash­ing soda and sand­pa­per. Gay­lene, Win­nipeg

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