Wednesday March 5, 2014
When you were young, did you ever sprinkle salt on slugs to see what would happen? I have to admit that we did when the slugs came venturing out on damp days. But I don't think Dad minded at all, since it just meant one less slug to keep out of the garden!
With March and the finally melting snows often come thoughts of our summer gardens ... and the spring and summer pests that come with those seasons ... and how we can control them this year!
Salt kills slugs because it draws the moisture of their bodies, dehydrating and killing them. It isn't a highly recommended practice for control, however, because excessive salt can also negatively affect plants, burning their foliage or roots.
There are numerous methods of ridding lawns and gardens of these damaging pests - from doing nothing and allowing the dryness of summer to send them slip, sliding away to following a six step strategy.
Photo by Guttorm Flatabo(wikipedia user:dittaeva)
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Remember those lightweight, summer clothes you put away for the season? With the tough winter seen across much of the U.S., you've probably been pining for warm-weather days -- and those warm weather clothes. Even if it's not quite warm enough to wear them yet, you may want to start pulling out those clothes for a pre-season check.
Clothes moths love stored, undisturbed clothing that is made of almost any type of natural animal fiber. Although wool and furs may be more commonly used in winter clothing, there are blends of these, as well as silk and feathers that are used in summer clothing - and are just as attractive to the moths. And these moths can develop quickly in the heated buildings of winter.
If you inspected your clothing, washed or dry cleaned it, then put it in tightly sealed, insect-free containers for winter storage, your clothes are probably fine. But if you have any doubts, now may be a good time to pull out the items (especially those of animal fiber), hang them in the light, inspect them for any signs of clothes moths, and brush them out well.
If anything is found, take steps immediately to control the moths, then put some preventive action in place.
And when you store your summer items next fall, remember to take these same preventive steps first.
Sunday February 23, 2014
A couple years ago I took my first cruise, traveling to the Caribbean. I was excited, but did have a few concerns, as most first-cruisers do. Would I get seasick? Would I feel trapped on a boat for a week? Did I have enough sunscreen to keep from getting burned? Or would I have to pay what would most likely be exorbitant prices on the ship if I needed more? Would any of the recent cruise calamities occur on our trip ... storms, loss of electricity, food poisoning ...
One thing I never thought to be concerned about, and thankfully at that time it wasn't an issue, was disease-carrying mosquitoes on the port islands. Today, Caribbean visitors need to ensure they carry, or buy, as much insect repellent as sunscreen. As posted by the CDC in early February, mosquitoes in the seven of the Caribbean have been infected with the chikungunya virus and are spreading it to people through bites.
According to a New York Times article, a Caribbean spokesperson stated that precautions, such as fogging, surveillance, and a public-awareness campaign, are being taken, and About.com Caribbean Travel Expert Robert Curley provides additional recommendations for avoiding disease on your Caribbean trip.
But whether at home or abroad, CDC's recommendations for protecting yourself against mosquitoes can help prevent mosquito-borne disease as well the general itch and irritation of mosquito bites.
Monday February 17, 2014
With the harsh conditions across the U.S. this winter, it would seem that there'd be no need for pest control this spring! But there are an amazing number of pests that not only survive harsh winters, but actually thrive.
- Japanese Beetle - The grubs lie dormant deep beneath the soil all through winter, begin feeding on roots when they feel the ground begin to warm, then emerge as beetles in early summer to feed on plants above the ground.
- Mouse - With their strong teeth and tiny, flexible bodies, mice are quite adept at taking shelter in our homes. They can squeeze through holes as small as 1/4 inch and chew smaller holes to make them big enough to get through.
- Bed bug - With its indoor lifestyle, weather has little impact on this biting bug; it will take residence wherever it can get a blood meal and hitchhike on belongings to spread from home to home.
- Mosquito - If you have any doubt that insects can survive harsh winter conditions, simply consider the fact that 35 species of mosquitoes are found in Alaska - where average winter minimum temperatures can be 30 below zero.