Sow: move along mosquitos

Mosquitos love me to the point of leaving huge welts that last a long, long time. Big red marks that fade very, very slowly. They look ugly for a long time too.

It’s been a problem for me my whole life whenever I lived in a buggy place. When I was a little girl living in Indiana, our day camp had a sleep over for the and the next morning they had to call my mom to have her pick me up. Not only was I covered with bites, I also had a fever. The mosquitos had made me sick! And yes, like every other kid in the camp, I was doused with OFF before retiring to my sleeping bag. Didn’t work. Unfortunate, because I loved camping.

For whatever reason the mosquitos have always loved me. Maybe my blood is just tastier? Sweeter? Redder? Or maybe my skin is thinner and easier to bite?

Now that I live in the West Nile Virus capital of Texas (not really but you’d never know it from listening to the news about the West Nile epidemic we’re experiencing), I’ve taken matters into my own hands. The city threatens to aerial spray unless everyone does their part. So I do mine.

Remember, the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm is all organic so I can’t Napalm the backyard with any old chemicals. And the 3G Network spends a fair amount of time back there too. But I need it to work so I can enjoy digging in the dirt and sitting on the patio on a warm breezeless evening.

Here’s my answer:

cedarcide

 

Using a hand-held fertilizer spreader, I covered the entire backyard with CedarCide this morning before work as George chased Godiva around the yard, stopping only to shred a toy. It was the perfect day to do it since it was a bit breezy and that helps with the spreading (and keeps the little bastards from biting me since they can’t fly if there’s wind).

Last year I had terrific luck with CedarCide after learning about it at North Haven Gardens. It lasts quite a while, smells pretty nice, and it doesn’t bother the Gs (or their humans) one bit. After this application, I’ll probably need to apply again in a month or so depending upon how much rain and wind we get.

Standing water is a no-no if you are trying to prevent the mozzies so the birdbaths get dumped and refilled daily. All four rain barrels also get dosed with Mosquito Dunks once a month. Don’t they look like little donuts?

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Yes, they are chemicals, but apparently the more natural ways of treating the water do not work nearly as well.

As for the Gs, they get monthly heartworm prevention medicine. Guinness was heartworm positive when we found him and had to go through treatment twice to get rid of the disgusting, murderous heartworms. It was bad enough that it was super expensive, but it was horrible for him to fight through. No walks for months. Poor Godiva didn’t enjoy having her big pal so sick for so long.

Just thinking about mosquitos makes me feel itchy and I’m inside! They are definitely one part of outdoor life in North Texas that I could do without.

Do you have mosquitos or other nasty bugs where you live? What do you do about them?

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Sow: mosquito elimination

I’m supposed to be traveling to Philadelphia today for a training session that’s tomorrow. But the flight’s been cancelled. School opening is delayed. Roads are getting messy. The ground is white. The tv news is advising people who can stay home to do so. There’s a road and winter weather advisory until 10 am (my flight was at 11:25 am). Guinness was not impressed with his morning constitutional with Godiva and George.

Why?

Mosquito repellant

Guinness surveys the natural mosquito repellant

Today the 3G Network and I woke up to something the weather reporters call “thunder snow”. It was thundering, lightning was flashing, and little round icy pellets were coming down. It felt a bit like getting hit by sand during a wind storm. Apparently it’s called “sleet”.

Guinness was not having any of it. It was wet and he hates wet. But I let him come back in, eat a little breakfast, then I made him go out again. I think he thought (as I did) that it would be like most north Texas extreme weather and stop in an hour or so. He wanted to go for a walk so at about 6 am, he started his usual campaign of wagging, looking out the window, pacing.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get his wish. As you can see from the photo, we have accumulation. So it was a swift sojourn around the neighborhood without much sniffing. Guinness was fine with that. He couldn’t get back to the sofa fast enough.

Still, I’m happy. Not because my flight is cancelled (it has been inconveniently rescheduled for around 8 pm tonight, causing me to miss the dinner part of my training meeting). I am happy because the mosquito population of north Texas is being naturally eliminated by the multiple days of  frost, snow and this weird pellet-y stuff.

Mosquitos are evil creatures with no redeeming value except being excellent bird treats. They cause heartworm in unprotected pets. It’s a horrible, nasty disease that slowly kills the cat or dog that gets it by destroying the cardiovascular system. In this human, they cause huge red welts that don’t go away for a long time. I am a mosquito magnet. No matter who much OFF I wear, they still love my blood.

I put mosquito dunks in our rain barrels to try to eliminate them. We change the bird baths daily (we have two because we have a huge bird population that ranges from hummingbirds to owls). We put down cedar granules on the yard and around the garden beds to repel them.

In 2012, the mosquitos were especially bad since we had a mild winter. Despite all of my efforts, I still got bit. I used OFF on our morning and evening dog walks. West Nile Virus was at an all-time high in Dallas. So the city decided to spay mosquito-cide aerially and also by truck.

It put me in a quandary. I wanted the mosquitos gone, but I didn’t like the idea of all those chemicals in the air.

While I doubt we’ll have a mosquito problem this year, I plan to do some additional research about what the city can do instead of spraying. Could they apply cedar-cide on a larger scale? Could they fine people who have unmaintained pools and ponds on their property? What about mosquito dunks in fountains?

How does your city handle the mozzies?