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Yecch...some of the things I do not miss during the colder, drearier months include the houseflies, blowflies, and fruitflies that always manage to circumvent my window screens, and almost inevitably, wind up in my cats' maws.

If the ol' fly swatter isn't doing it for you, has a do-it-yourself, nontoxic fly trap you can make out of a used two-liter soda bottle. First, remove the black base of your bottle, and then use a sharp knife to cut off the screw top. Cut through the bottle approximately an inch below the point where the shape of the bottle becomes straight. Fold 12 inches of thin wire in half, then twist the two lengths together, leaving a forked piece at the end. Next, heat the points of the wire (with a match or a gas flame) until they will push through the rounded base of the bottle.

Bend the wire over inside to make a strong handle with which to hang the trap. Place the neck end of the bottle inside the bottom end, leaving 1/4 inch showing. To make sure that no wrinkles show, which would spoil the seal, use the rounded end of the black base, and seal around the joint with yellow insulating tape.

To set your trap in motion, half fill it with water and some bait, such as a small chunk of meat. The trap lures the flies, which are then trapped and eventually drown.

Difficulty level: Moderate