Monday, July 1, 2013

Bug Season

     'Tis the season around the world to celebrate the bug and the myriad ways to kill them dead!  I won't say the only good bug is a dead bug, I like lady bugs and bees.  I like moths and butterflies. I don't mind flies so much because I don't hang around the trash can cussing them!  I don't make flies a welcome home, so they don't bother me.

     The bugs I am concerned about are the disease spreading mosquito and the equally disgusting and disease spreading cockroach.  It's their habit of spreading illness that makes them the enemy.  

     The best defense against the animal kingdom is to head them off at the pass, to make them unwelcome in your home, to avoid interaction with them to begin with!  

     For mosquitoes, empty all containers that hold water.  I have container gardens but they have good drainage.  There is no place water can puddle for eggs to be laid.  I walk the entire perimeter of the home after several days of afternoon rainstorms.  I want to make sue there isn't even a soda can that fell out of the trash bin that could hold water for the larvae. 

     Prevention of infestation is the homeowner's best defense.  To repel mosquitoes from your outdoor living space, adding plants that repel them to the garden scape is a must.  Add plants like eucalyptus trees, catnip, lemon balm, citronella (not genetically modified), lavender, peppermint, rosemary and thyme.  

     These same plants can provide you with an endless supply of herbs to mix to make your own herbal spray on insect repellent   Add four ounces of water to four ounces of witch hazel and about 50 drops of essential oils made from the above plants and spray it on.  Also you can use cinnamon, cedar and tea tree oils.  Mix drops together in separate glass container until you get a mix you like the smell of then add to the water and witch hazel.  Call it your summer cologne and relax.  

I can't tell you how to kill mosquitoes where they live.  It is too big an undertaking.  If you live near a lake, the city or state regulates the kinds and amounts of chemicals allowed to be released into the waterways.  


      To prevent roaches, check all of your doors and windows.  the same tools you use to prevent heat loss will keep bugs from entering those gaps.  Caulk doors and windows and use a foam weather strip to seal gaps in doors and across window bases.  I also rake the leaves.  Roaches like to live outdoors under leaves that are cool damp and dark.  I will have none of that.  I keep my compost covered.  Perhaps you have seen my blog on composting in the kitchen, when I move the compost out of doors, I use a large trash can and keep it covered when not adding or subtracting from it.  To keep these bugs from finding the house attractive, I clean my trash can which is stored thirty feet from the front door.  Occasionally I will spray the can with a bleach solution if I cannot find the time to lather, rinse and repeat!  Don't forget to clean the recycling bin in case you didn't rinse your aluminum cans well!
     Now, for the killing.  Roaches:  Boric acid.  For years I did what I read on the back of the container of boric acid, I squirted the dry powder until it made a mess and I was disgusted with the powder everywhere.  Here's a trick to get more for less.  Take off the cap, pour some into a paper plate or a napkin, use an old makeup brush, a blusher brush and tap the brush into the powder, then drag it along the corners and edges of cabinets.  tap the brush or turn it to get the powder off.  Just a little works.  Drowning the counter in white powder just teaches them to walk around it.  A light dusting and they walk through it taking it with them into the walls where they can die.  i have used a mix of half and half boric acid and powdered sugar outside under the steps.  But that suggestion was made to me by a relative who was battling ants.  

     For backup in my home, I also use a liquid bait.  I use Raid or Hot Shot.  There is no spraying, if you see a roach in only hours, the problem is under control and it works for several months.  They are not bad looking so you can leave them on the counter or tuck them into a cabinet. The wick is hidden so, you don't have anything to see as it works it magic while you simply ignore it or sleep.  Unlike some roach motels that claim to lure bugs in, there is no smell.  Those attractants smell like dead roaches.

I have another post you may like to read titled 
 Pestshorticulturepreppers garden that has more tips.

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