Well, Dolphin, the spoiled rotten betta, has been a bit lazy lately. Probably the cooler air in the house has chilled his little bowl and is making him sluggish? That's ok. We do not actually expect a lot from him. He is more than friendly and entertaining enough... especially for a fish! Yesterday though, he earned his keep.
We've apparently hit mosquito and housefly season. I do not know what has caused the upswing in their population, but it is a real pain. For Honor, quite literally. She gets WELTS from mosquito bites. They don't get her as bad as they used to... she used to get these big red lumps all over, bad enough I actually took her to the doctor to be checked, on more than one occasion. Poor little bit. Now she just gets red bumps - still big enough to be annoying and it has earned at least one note from the nurses' office: 'Not pox, just bug bites'! We generally apply Benadryl cream, sometimes hydrocortisone too. Aveeno is also recommended, but we have not been able to find that for awhile. (I actually gave up looking, maybe I ought to try again).
One way to deal with the mosquitoes, is to leave the exhaust fans on in the bathrooms full time.. the mosquitoes don't seem to be able to handle that small bit of air flow. But in winter, with our very poorly insulated apartment, the inside that gets hotter than outside temps in summer, also gets colder inside than out when the seasons change. The house will get chilled overnight (temps in the 50's that easily seep in) and without a quick run of the heater in the AM, will stay that way even if it warms up to 70F outside. The exhaust fans just make the house chilly, so we turn them off... and the mosquitoes seem happy about that.
Plan 2, for dealing with the mosquitoes, is essential oils to repel them. I have hung small plush ornaments (little cats similar to these, which gives the oil something to permeate) in each room on ceiling fans, vents, etc. I mix the oils (which I order from The Crystal Fox) that are thought to have mosquito repellent qualities. I generally use catnip, geranium, patchouli, and citronella. I have heard that cinnamon is also a good repellent, but I haven't tried that. The first four oils, when blended, have a very pleasant, woody scent. Also, the following scents have a good reputation for insect repellent properties: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, and others.
These oils are not 100% effective, but what is? And we like them so much more than spraying chemicals all over... they are probably no more effective than the oils anyway! I would definitely recommend using the oils on something like ornaments too. Some oils can be too harsh/strong. I would never put them directly on my skin in high concentrations... I definitely would not apply them to children.
As for the flies. Ew. I think they are getting in because we've had to have work on the house and the doors are open more often. Maybe they are also taking advantage of the exhaust fans being off? Unlike the mosquitoes - they are FAST and hard to swat. And totally annoying. At least they don't bite.
One fly made the mistake of teasing the fish. It went into the bowl, actually landed on the water - to drink I guess - and flew off again. Dolphin didn't need any encouragement. Next time that fly landed, Dolphin was ready. Hit that bug like a miniature, rainbow colored Orca. The fly was tough, he fought back, but quickly learned the hard way that you just don't mess around with our fish. I hope flies aren't bad for betta fish - Dolphin ate the whole thing. Now, if I could just get the mosquitoes aimed at the fish bowl...