I ran into Dennis (my Bogman) yesterday who told me Spring is arriving at the Eagle Hill Bog. Today’s photos are from a quick visit there – I’ll do a more extensive discussion of the bog and botany (including the fascinating cotton grass) in a future post. 🙂
Today I want to talk about mosquitoes. Just to make sure I’ve fully disclosed my bias on this topic – I really, really, really hate mosquitoes.
I occasionally search the interwebs for reasons to justify their existence and have failed every time. I’m certain the dragonflies could find something else to eat.
It turns out that mosquitoes are the serpent in my new paradise. Figures.
I told you on a previous occasion that we have the stupidest flies on the planet. Unfortunately the mosquitoes here are not only plentiful (which is a massive understatement) but also completely badass.
On the West Coast we were constantly being reminded not to have standing water – even old buckets or swings could hold small pools where the bugs could breed. Here they don’t need that. These little bastards can produce 7000 children on a slightly damp blade of grass.
You stand outside in your yard and are surrounded by thick clouds of them. The first time I met two of my neighbours we looked like maniacs with our arms and heads constantly moving in jerks and circles trying to keep them away. It was hard to talk because you were worried about swallowing them.
I love it here, but I hate mosquitoes. So I decided to try and do something about them.
Research is my thing so I spent hours on the computer looking for a solution. Oh you can buy zappers, and those citronella torches so beloved by Nazi demonstrators, and lots of chemical sprays. If I get desperate I’ll try the latter but it’s definitely not my first choice. I’m also not ready to start keeping chickens which local residents tell me works.
One possible solution, though, kept appearing in the search results. This concoction was proffered by an American radio broadcaster named Paul Harvey more than 20 years ago. It doesn’t claim to kill the bugs – it’s a repellent.
You’ve probably heard something about it – even if you don’t know his name. Every time somebody has suggested a combination of beer and mouthwash and epsom salts they are talking about the Paul Harvey recipe.
I decided to try it. After all, the worst that could happen is that my yard would smell minty fresh. I bought a bucket, a sprayer, and the three ingredients, and set to work.
I sprayed part of the yard on both sides of the driveway, the tree next to where I park the car, around the porch and the garage. The smell isn’t that strong and you have to be a little careful – you can see the residue on pavement etc.
I’ve spent the past week trying to decide if I can tell you it works. It’s possible, I thought, that it’s just wishful thinking that made me feel an absence of those horrible bugs. I kept going out at different times of day looking for them but they didn’t seem to be there. Then it rained.
The bad news is that part of the story of the repellent is that it keeps working for 8 weeks unless you have a heavy rain. I can assure you that a moderate rain will wash away the residue from pavement and, therefore, the grass.
The good news is that I know for certain it worked because once I could see that the residue had gone I also noticed mosquitoes. Everywhere around me. For the first time since I had sprayed they were back landing on me, the car, the windows, etc.
So I’m going to spray again. I’m also going to have backup ingredients in preparation for the next rain storm.
If you want to try it the recipe is on this page. Just remember to make sure the salts are completely dissolved or the sprayer will get clogged. Also, unless you live in a desert, don’t believe the people who say it lasts 8 weeks.
If you have a mosquito problem I hope this helps. If not well, minty isn’t bad for a patio or as politically charged as citronella is these days. 🙂
So when do the black flies and deer ticks arrive?
If they become a problem I’ll come up with a new blog post. 🙂