Posts Tagged ‘ticks’

Don’t Let Mosquitos Bother You This 4th of July!

Fourth of July is around the corner – fireworks, barbeques, games, swimming, camping and all those other wonderful outside summertime activities, and mosquitos. For those of us who are mosquito magnets and looking for a safer alternative to DEET, there are personal insect repellents containing botanicals like citronella, basil, lavender, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood, and tea tree. While these are mildly effective, the longest lasting and most effective botanical is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, according to the Environmental Working Group. (The Environmental Working Group is a consumer watchdog organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.) In fact, the CDC recently confirmed that Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus can be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is a plant-based repellent oil made from the leaves of the Eucalyptus Citriodora tree from tropical northeastern Australia. A 30% concentration of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (with 19% PMD, a naturally occurring substance) provides up to 6 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks.

Repel makes a Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent Pump Spray and is available on-line. I prefer to support local cottage businesses selling insect repellents at my local Farmers’ Market. Check yours to buy some too.  When buying a mosquito repellent, always read the ingredients to make sure they include Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (not to be confused with eucalyptus).

Insect repellent sold at my Farmers' Market

Insect repellent sold at my Farmers’ Market

 

For more ideas for mosquito control, click here.

Summer goes by quickly – don’t let mosquitos and ticks keep you inside!

 

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is not for use on children 3 and younger, can possibly irritate lungs and has possible allergens.

Information compiled from ewg.org. and treehugger.com

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

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Controlling Mosquitos Naturally

Along with the cookouts, volleyball games, hiking, camping and other glories of summer come mosquitoes and ticks.  But pesticides or products containing DEET, are associated with a variety of health problems ranging from dizziness to seizures with children being particularly susceptible. There are several safer and effective alternatives.

Natural Repellents

A garlic spray in your yard provides excellent control.  Garlic has natural sulfur which repels insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and even black flies, yet does not harm humans, pets, bees, butterflies or plants. Mosquitoes are soft-bodied insects and garlic juice is toxic to them in increased concentrations. Mosquitoes are also extremely odor sensitive and garlic can repel them for up to a month or more, as long as they can still detect an odor. Farmers have been using garlic for generations. Organic based landscaping or pest control companies often offer a garlic spray or you can buy a product called Garlic Barrier and do it yourself.

For small areas like patios or decks, certain aromatic plants keep mosquitoes away.  Marigolds planted with pungent herbs like catnip (nearly 10 times more effective than DEET) and rosemary are effective and attractive in containers.  I planted a “mosquito plant”, really a wild scented geranium, which grows fast and seems to work.  It was specifically grown to keep pests away. Citronella candles can be helpful, as well as all natural insect repellent incense sticks. Or you can burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.

Cultural Practices

Two important and effective cultural practices are: 1) Don’t keep standing or stagnate water around where mosquitoes can breed and 2) consider putting up a bat house.  Mosquitoes are the primary food source for bats and some species eat up to 1000 of them an hour!

Personal Repellents

For personal repellents sprayed directly onto your skin, soybean-oil-based products have been shown to provide protection for a period of time similar to a product with a low concentration of DEET (4.75%).  Other ingredients usually include pure plant extracts like citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass and peppermint, which are natural, effective and have a nice aroma.  Buzz Away and Bite Blocker are good brands that are potent and long-lasting.  You can find them at Whole Foods. In areas heavily infested with deer tick,  a DEET product may be needed.  Just spray directly onto your clothes, not your skin! For more information on deer ticks, click here.

Ticks and mosquitos don’t have to ruin your summer!

Bug Killing Cedar Oil

One of my pet loving readers recently told me about CedarCide all natural, organic pet animal products whose base is non-toxic cedar oil. She swears by their shampoo, which leaves her Great Dane’s coat shiny and smelling great.

Cedar oil, a proven insect repellant, has been around thousands of years. Cedar chests and closets have long been used for storage of winter clothes to protect them from moths and other bugs. Now, CedarCide offers products with the same bug killing ingredient.

CedarCide’s pet products deter fleas and ticks and are a safe alternative to chemical based drops and flea collars. Their Vet’s Choice is a concentrated product containing 90% cedar oil used for a flea dip or flea and tick spray. Petsafe Granules releases aromatic cedar oil and can be sprinkled around your pet’s house or bed to provide a protective barrier against ticks and fleas, and provide odor control.

I was always uncomfortable applying chemical tick control to my dog’s coat, but living on Cape Cod with a high deer tick population, she needed protection. I am so relieved to learn about this organic alternative.

Click here to see CedarCide’s full line of pet, personal care and outdoor pest control products safe enough to be sprayed directly on people or pets, poured into standing water or sprayed onto surfaces with no harmful effect to people or the environment.

Thanks to my reader for this great tip. If you have a green living tip I haven’t written about, please contact me. We’re on this green road together!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from cedarcide.com.

 

PurePest Organic Mosquito and Tick Solutions

It’s been a rough year for mosquitoes, probably due to the heavy rains in June.  I can barely last 10 minutes in the garden without getting eaten alive, much less have dinner outside which I love doing this time of year!  So, I was thrilled when PurePest contacted me about trying their organic mosquito and tick spray.

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PurePest Organic Mosquito and Tick Solutions is a service company providing safe, non-toxic alternatives for mosquito and tick control using their product called Eco-Barrier, sourced from plant extracts and natural oils. Their proprietary blend consists of rosemary oil, peppermint oil and geraniol. This product has the ability to combat mosquitoes and ticks, killing the adults as well as the larvae and eggs, and has a residual to keep them from returning. Unlike pesticides, their eco-friendly applications will not harm you, your plants or beneficial insects like bees and earthworms.

PurePest starts with an evaluation of your property followed by a customized plan. Services are performed tri-weekly from early spring to late fall to the entire yard. The routine applications increase product effectiveness, providing 21-day coverage. You can hire also hire them for event sprays.

Two knowledgeable and impressive young men came to our property and did a thorough spray of the area around the house.  It was immediately evident to them where our mosquito problem stemmed from and they addressed the issue.  After the spray I noticed a very faint, pleasant minty smell.

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How well did PurePest Organic Mosquito and Tick Solutions work?  I’d have to say quite well, especially considering how mosquito infested our property is. We were actually able to eat dinner outside with no problem!

Started by young entrepreneurial guys, PurePest Organic Mosquito and Tick Solutions’ timely and important service is doing the right thing by the earth.  They are somewhat pricey, as most organic products are, but with the prevalence of Lyme disease and other tick and mosquito borne diseases, it’s worth it. To help defray the cost, the company offers a referral incentive where you get one free spray for each customer you refer who signs up for the season.  They actually have customers who end up with free sprays for the entire season!

PurePest is located in Massachusetts, on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, New Hampshire, Vermont, Tennessee, with plans for expansion.

Don’t let mosquitoes and ticks ruin your summer – give PurePest a call at (978) 579-0007 or visit www.purepestmanagement.com for safe and effective control.  Mention you heard about them from What’s Green With Betsy?!

 

Preventing Lyme Disease

Mark your calendars for an engaging evening with Captain Richard Phillips presented by Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod  on April 18 @ 6:00pm.  He’ll be speaking at the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center on Cape Cod about his life experiences and the dangers he faced on the high seas with Somali pirates.  Following the talk is a dinner at the Yarmouth House along with a meet and greet and book signing by Capt. Phillips of his book “A Captains Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS,and Dangerous Days at Sea”.  Tickets for talk only are $25.00 and available on line at www.lymeticks.org or at the Brewster Book Store, $30.00 at the door.  

 

Watch out -deer ticks are here!  My cousins and I were enjoying a beautiful Easter walk in the woods and near the marshes on Cape Cod when we discovered several deer ticks.  Already? Yes!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is one of the fastest spreading infectious diseases in the United States.

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4...

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4 categories of risk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deer ticks in the Northeast carry the illness, where 90% of all US cases are reported.  Lyme disease has become more prevalent partly because suburban neighborhoods have expanded into wooded areas where ticks thrive.  Deer ticks are carried by deer, mice and pets and are about the size of a poppy seed. If a tick bites you, remove it right away, identify it and have it tested if you suspect a deer tick. One in four nymphal deer ticks can infect you with some kind of disease if they feed for more than 24 hours.  (Some sources think they only have to  be attached for as little as two hours to transmit the disease.)

Ticks

Ticks (Photo credit: Kriatyrr)

 

I had Lyme disease a few year ago and was the sickest I had ever been with a severe headache, joint pain, high fever and flu-like symptoms.  I was one of the lucky ones however, with a defining bull’s eye rash and was able to get on antibiotics right away, which cured it.  But many people don’t get the rash and it’s easy to confuse body aches and fevers with other diseases. The blood tests are often inaccurate too; you can still have Lyme disease even with a negative blood test.

English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a...

English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye” from Lyme disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As with anything else, prevention is your best medicine.

What you can do to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease:

  • Avoid being bitten by a tick, which is most plentiful where woodlands transition into fields, meadows or yards.
  • Avoid tall grasses.
  • Avoid deer paths in the woods, which are usually loaded with ticks.
  • Avoid places where mice are abundant like leaf litter, woodpiles, mulch beds, gardens, rock walls.
  • When you are in high tick area, wear light-colored clothing to spot them easier.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with your pants tucked into your socks when working outside or hiking in tick-infested areas.
  • Use insect repellant; clothes can be sprayed directly.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Always do tick checks after being outside in a high deer tick area.  Magnifying glasses help with spotting deer ticks.
  • Shower after being in a tick-infested area.
  • Putting your clothes in a dryer at high heat for 35 minutes will kill ticks.  Most ticks are very sensitive to heat.
  • Take garlic supplements daily to help repel insects and ticks.
  • Treat pets to minimize risk. Pets can get Lyme disease too and bring ticks into the house.

Cultural Practices you can do in your yard to help eliminate ticks:

  • Mow along boundary lines of your yard.
  • Treat your yard with a professional spray or do it yourself.
  • Keep grass mowed regularly.
  • Install a low brick wall where your yard ends and woods begin.
  • In high tick areas, get guinea hens – they eat deer tick.

Visit Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod for more detailed  information.  The University of Rhode Island has a comprehensive website as well.   tickencounter.org

Lyme disease is a dreadful disease and left untreated can cause chronic major problems seriously affecting your health.  Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help cure you.

Be vigilant and don’t let ticks ruin your summer!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.