Mosquito hell

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Is it time to go chemical on these little buggers?

Yes! Nuke `em!
24
48%
What, and trade cancer for bug bites?
6
12%
It's the summer! Self-medicate!
20
40%
 
Total votes: 50

True Blue
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Mosquito hell

Postby True Blue » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:01 am

These are tragic times we live in. Warm weather finally arrives, yet we are trapped in our home. The gardens are neglected due to the thuggish little bloodsuckers that swarm up whenever we step in the grass. I look at my windows and they are buzzing at the pane, trying to get in. They're everywhere and they really suck.

I don't use chemicals if I can avoid it, so I haven't sprayed in the yard. (This does make me wonder, if West Nile Virus arrives here, if the environmentalists won't be the "canaries in the coal mine." We don't use chemicals (so much) and might be the first to get disease.)

So, hell's bells, I'm ready to get some malathion or something. I like my house, but I'd like to go outside. Even the dog is not eager to go out these days.

Does anyone know of chemical-free ways to really, truly deal with these pests? And I don't mean, "empty the standing water." I mean dead mosquitos. Lots of dead mosquitos. A mosquito massacre.

Some links tell me that much of what I thought was helpful (bats, say) is actually not... Help!
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/ipm.htm
http://www.healthylawnteam.org/health.htm

skrattypants
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Postby skrattypants » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:34 am

i rarely have a problem with skitters. i claim it is my high onion-and-garlic intake.

Mikey K
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Postby Mikey K » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:35 am

I had WTMJ AM on in the car yesterday at noon (I'm not a talk radio freak, it's just that I commute to Brookfield and listen in the am for traffic, then forget to change the station).

They were taking calls on the new propane powered mosquito destroyers, to see if anyone had purchased one, and how they worked.

Overwhelmingly, everyone raved about these high-cost units. They vary in price from about 150 bucks to over 300. They were developed by the army for use in mosquito thick regions.

How they work... propane creates heat which releases the scent of Oxen from some sort of canister that you put in the unit. A fan then distributes this scent. Mosquitoes are attracted to the thought of a large, non-threatening mammal to attack, and are lured into the unit and destroyed.

It's supposed to take up to 4 weeks to destroy an infestation, but callers were very impressed that in a day or less, their skeeters were gone and the proof was in the 'collector' on the unit...tons of dead skeeters.

If you plan on spending a lot of time outside and have the means, get one. Or, maybe in neighborhoods, chip in with your neighbors and jointly buy one to eradicate the neighborhood...in tight areas like the Isthmus, one of these will wipe out most of a block.

As far as I know, no chemicals, other than the humanly-undetectable scent of Ox.

Other tips...eliminate any and all standing water and large weeds, and clogged rain gutters, and anywhere else that stagnant water can collect. Garden ponds don't contribute as long as the pump and fountain are operational.

Mikey K
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Postby Mikey K » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:38 am

skrattypants wrote:i rarely have a problem with skitters. i claim it is my high onion-and-garlic intake.


I eat a lot of garlic, too...it seems to make them less nasty.

Staying stinking drunk all of the time seems to discourage them too, but it's somewhat counterproduc...counterproduc.....<hic>....bad.

Galoot
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Postby Galoot » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:54 am

Put up a bat house, and hope for bats next year. A nursing female bat can eat her body weight in skeeters in one night. Ever noticed how the bugs don't bother you up at Devil's Lake in the evening? Bats all over the place around the chalet, taking care of the mosquito problem.

I made a bat house a while back, I just haven't taken the time to put in a 15 foot post and hang the thing up. Ah, inertia...

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Postby shelly » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:57 am

Mikey K wrote:I had WTMJ AM on in the car yesterday at noon (I'm not a talk radio freak, it's just that I commute to Brookfield and listen in the am for traffic, then forget to change the station).

They were taking calls on the new propane powered mosquito destroyers, to see if anyone had purchased one, and how they worked.



So are these the same or different as the CO2 emitting ones? I have been interested in getting one, but am leery of anything that puts more CO2 into the atmosphere. Knowing that there was a version out there that emitted Ox instead, would be nice. There would still be the issue of using propane, but maybe that is less a problem than the CO2???

My friend lent me her bug suit. It is a very fine mesh, supposed to keep the bugs from biting. I do a lot of gardening and am going to try it this evening. I will look like a freak, since it resembles a see-through hazmat suit, but who cares what I look like in my back yard? She also has socks.... but I think I won't need those.

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Postby True Blue » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:58 am

We put up a bat house. Judging from the guano, we have occupants.

However, the Rutgers link, above, says that they don't actually work, that it's an urban myth.

I could see a neighborhood oxen-scent generator. If they actually work.

And, yes, I'll definitely start ramping up the garlic intake!

Mikey K
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Postby Mikey K » Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:26 am

These units emit CO2 *and* Ox Stink.

However, noble as your issue with sending more CO2 into the world may be, don't you think you're being a little silly? You're replicating the existance of an Ox in your backyard, you aren't running a coal-fired power plant. I mean, have you given up sex also, as you might bring another CO2 emitting human into the world? Got any pets? Do you plan on having them put down?

I'd say that if your conscience is bothering you about getting a mosquito eradicator that emits CO2, just also get a couple of nice big outdoor plants to put on either side of it at the local garden center and call it a draw.

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Postby superman » Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:35 am

Is it me or are the mosquitos really bad this year? I was at the Terrace the other night and they were really bad.

shelly
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Postby shelly » Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:38 am

Mikey K wrote:These units emit CO2 *and* Ox Stink.

However, noble as your issue with sending more CO2 into the world may be, don't you think you're being a little silly? You're replicating the existance of an Ox in your backyard, you aren't running a coal-fired power plant. I mean, have you given up sex also, as you might bring another CO2 emitting human into the world? Got any pets? Do you plan on having them put down?

I'd say that if your conscience is bothering you about getting a mosquito eradicator that emits CO2, just also get a couple of nice big outdoor plants to put on either side of it at the local garden center and call it a draw.


You are probably right. But, I guess the idea of 100 million households having these things pumping out CO2 makes me a little nervous, we don't need to be making more gadgets that contribute to the environmental mess we are in. I had tried to find out how much they emit, relative to plants, pets, or sex, for example, but have not had that much time to look into it. It could be a totally trivial amount and I am silly to worry about it. That would be worth knowing. Certainly many other things are much bigger contributors to global warming etc blah blah blah. But does that mean we should not care at all, or at least ask the question?

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Postby True Blue » Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:57 am

Under global warming scenarios, maybe we'l have more mosquitos?

I like the idea of putting in a plant, or maybe just doing some other offsetting activit, like biking more. Then, you'll be kiling all those mosquitos that fly into your mouth.

Mikey K
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Postby Mikey K » Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:02 pm

Hmmm.

Well, a 20 pound propane tank lasts about 24 days, and figuring that there will be some loss in the conversion to CO2 (as there is in any conversion), let's loosely assume it to be a pound per day. Which is also difficult to figure, as LP is liquified (under pressure) propane, and CO2 is a gas, and what exactly that constitutes as far as converting pounds of LP into volume of gas is beyond my feeble mind.

However, I'll go out on a limb and guess that it's no more than some fat lady who downs 4 big mac's a day would emit. Not counting the methane, of course. <grin>

Yes, it does beg to be asked, and thank you for asking. It did make me think about it, which is good. We all need to keep these sorts of things at the forefront of our thinking in order for a change to occur. :)

NOW...for the real question...do these damned things WORK? I've been researching this on the web, and the results are less clear than the callers on WTMJ...no surprise, I guess. Anyone on this board care to weigh in with some observational data?

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Postby Galoot » Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:04 pm

OK, I read through the Rutgers bit on insectivorous bats, and it really didn't seem to debunk the idea that bats control mosquitoes. Sure, they eat whatever bugs are available, but as everybody is noticing lately, mosquitoes seem to be what IS available, in rather large numbers.

True Blue, that's cool you have bats in your bat house now. Do the mosquitoes seem to be reduced at all in your area?

I took the Little Brother to a talk at a local library, put on by BATCOW, the local bat conservation guys. They talked about the bat houses at Yellowstone Lake State Park, south of Madison. I gather that mosquitoes were a huge nuisance at that park before the bat houses went up. Now, as reported by the BATCOW folks, you can have a nice evening picnic at that park, and won't see many mosquitoes at all. Yes, it's anecdotal. Worth a shot, though.

I'm tempted to get one of those mosquito zapper units too, the prices have come down quite a bit. I just like the idea of a more natural solution, if possible.

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Postby Galoot » Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:06 pm

The website for Yellowstone Lake State Park talks specifically about their bat houses, and how effective it has been:

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/par ... llowstone/

What makes Yellowstone Lake unique is the lack of mosquitoes and a glossy-eyed mammal with wings.

The 968-acre park is the summer home to more than 4,000 little brown bats. The bats roost in 31 bat houses throughout the park. The houses serve as nurseries, where the bats raise their pups.

The project is the work of Kent Borcherding, a park volunteer from Hazel Green, who has maintained the houses and been working with the bats since 1995. Borcherding also gives interpretative presentations on the bats.

Each evening campers gather around the bat houses to watch the bats flit about the sky on their hunting expeditions. Since each bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes an hour, they have nearly eliminated the mosquito population. This benefit is greatly appreciated by campers!

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Postby bierslayer » Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:41 pm

I think I'll just get an ox. He can attract all of the mosquitos and I won't have to mow my lawn either.


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