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|When mosquitos start bugging you...
don't let them keep you inside!
Don't let mosquitoes keep you indoors this year. And since mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance these days, thanks to the West Nile Virus, why put your family's health at risk?
Thanks to excessive moisture in February and early March, and thanks to a less than winter-like January, mosquitoes are already out in force. Like I pointed out last year, three decades ago, the only mosquito control around was Fogger-Trucks and homeowners treating the backyard with Malathion.
While we can still use chemical insecticides quite successfully in damp or wet areas, new organic controls are also available today. We also have fancy, environmentally safe high-tech gizmos like Mosquito Misting Systems, The Mosquito Magnet™, and The Mosquito Trap™. In other words, we've come a long way from citronella candles and bug zappers on the back porch. I'm always a firm believer in a combination of both organic and inorganic gardening and landscaping methods, and the same holds true for mosquito control. Malathion sprays still works for me and many other people. But, for those with kids and pets, organic alternatives abound.
For example, a doughnut-shaped product called Mosquito Dunks can placed in standing water or damp areas to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching. Their active ingredient is Bt, an organic bacterium that works on mosquito larvae, as well as those of many caterpillars and worms.
Then there are products like The Mosquito Magnet, a free-standing unit that runs off a propane tank. It emits puffs of carbon dioxide, heat and moisture, emulating a large cow. The combination is simply irresistible to mosquitoes, and as they head for the vapor thinking dinner awaits, they are sucked into a waiting net where they die from dehydration. A cheaper version that works on electricity rather than gas is called The Mosquito Trap.
And, there are misting systems that emit a fine spray of organic Pyrethrum (or its synthetically derived sister - Permethrin) insecticide on the entire perimeter of your property. While this is the most expensive system of all the methods I've discussed today, it truly is the one that can give you the most piece of mind. I've been known to say on the radio show time and again "Can you imagine never having to spray chemical insecticides in your backyard ever again, especially If you have kids"?
Which one works best, and which do I prefer? It depends on your acreage and your pocketbook. If cost is no object, then by all means have a misting system installed. If cost is a big hurdle, go with Mosquito Dunks, insecticides or even citronella candles. For something in between, try the Mosquito Magnet or Mosquito Trap, but remember they only cover about half an acre. Insecticides and the Mosquito Dunks only work their immediate areas.
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
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