Monday, August 2, 2010

An article I had in The St. Pete Times in 2005....the techniques are applicable in any gardening zone


Buzzzz.....slap! Buzzzzz......slap! That familiar refrain of swatting mosquitos gorging on us DOES take some of the glamour out of summers here. But we can make Paradise a little less itchy easily and cheaply and without using pesticides.

First...don’t breed them! Scour your yard for drinking cups, plant drainage trays, pet water bowls, etc that can hold water and empty them and put them away. Dump and refill birdbaths every 3 days so that "wrigglers" (mosquito larvae we’ve all seen wriggling in old water) can’t mature into new bloodsuckers. Stock your pond with goldfish and guppies, or the Gambusia minnows released by the state years ago into canals and lakes as all will voraciously eat wrigglers as soon as they hatch. Pay your kids 10 cents for each gambusia they can net out of the neighborhood pond and stock your pond and neighborhood retention ponds with them...they will quickly multiply and provide permanent mosquito control.

Bromelliad lovers beware.....mosquitos breed in those cups of liquid in the center of your plants! Each weekly put a few drops of mild shampoo or dishwashing liquid in that center cup. It will break the surface tension of the water and drown egg laying females and wrigglers.

Cover rain barrels and manure tea barrels covered with an old window screen else both will soon breed thousands of "skeeters".

But say you’re in the mood to KILL some skeeters after they’ve ruined another barbecue. Forget those eerie blue light zappers as studies show they lure more bugs into your yard than they kill. Aerosol sprays made from the plant-derived natural insecticides ‘pyrethrin’ and ‘rotenone’ will nuke them where they fly. Erect a bat house in your yard as each night each bat will eat six hundred mosquitos! Your pond will also attract dragonflies who scoop skeeters out of the air, relishing them as "sushi on the wing". An in a natural landscape not sprayed with poisons you’ll soon have a large population of lizards and tree frogs filling their tummies with those voracious vampires.

The ultimate WMD (Weapon of Mosquito Destruction) is the natural bacteria ‘Bacillus thuringiensis var. Israelensis’. Dropped into bromelliads, watery ditches, etc. the bacteria become active and kills the wrigglers soon after they hatch in the water. Harmless to fish, pets, people, birds, etc. this microorganism is the mosquito’s worst nightmare...they can escape a swatting hand, but they can’t survive an infection in their watery nursery.

Sick of "buzzz......slap" ? Fight back naturally!

Gardener’s Supply Company 1-888-833-1412

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