Ladybugs pestering? Count your blessings
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 householdsolutions.org 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