Critters to Avoid-Insect Repellents

Home Remedies to Keep Bugs Away

Topical Mosquito Repellents
•    Lemon Eucalyptus oil can be used to repel mosquitoes.
•    Rubbing the skin with baby oil or imitation vanilla extract repels biting insects such as mosquitoes and black flies.
•    Rub apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects. If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies.
•    It has been said that garlic works. Swallow slivered garlic to ward off these summer pests. Others take garlic tablets or rub garlic juice directly on their skin. Some people apply onion or radish juice for the same purpose.

 

Straight From Consumer Reports

     The Most Effective Insect Repellents
To find the most effective mosquito repellents, we tested products containing a variety of ingredients, including deet, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, chemicals called IR3535 and 2-undecanone, as well as a variety of plant oils, such as cedar, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass, and rosemary.
The most effective products against Aedes mosquitoes were Sawyer Picaridin and Natrapel 8 Hour, which each contain 20 percent picaridin, and Off! Deepwoods VIII, which contains 25 percent deet. They kept the mosquitoes from biting for about 8 hours. (The Sawyer product was our top insect repellent overall. It was the only one that also kept Culex mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile disease, and deer ticks, which can spread Lyme disease, away for at least 8 hours.)
Ben’s 30% DEET Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula kept Aedes mosquitoes away for 7.5 hours and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, containing 30 percent lemon eucalyptus, stopped them for 7 hours.
The IR3535 products didn’t make our list of recommended sprays. Neither did repellents with 2-Undecananone or those that contained 7 percent deet or less than 20 percent picaridin.
We advise skipping most products made with natural plant oils, such as California Baby Natural Bug Blend (a blend of citronella, lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and other ingredients) and EcoSmart Organic, (which includes geraniol, rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil). They did not last for more than 1 hour against Aedes mosquitoes, and some failed almost immediately.
In addition, those products are not registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates skin-applied repellents and evaluates them for safety and effectiveness. Most plant-oil products are exempt from scrutiny by the EPA because the agency considers them to be a minimum risk to human health.
Instead, the CDC recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents. To see if a mosquito repellent is registered by the EPA, look for its registration number (“EPA Reg.”) on the back of the label.

     The Best Way to Use Mosquito Repellent

Insect repellents that use deet come in varying concentrations, ranging from 4 percent to 100 percent. Our previous tests show that concentrations of 30 percent provide the same protection against mosquitoes as higher percentages for up to 8 hours. But higher concentrations of deet have been linked to rashes, disorientation, and seizures. That’s why Consumer Reports says you should avoid mosquito repellents with more than 30 percent deet and not use it at all on infants younger than 2 months.
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding can safely use deet, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535, according to the EPA, if they are applied properly. Here are tips from the EPA on how to use insect repellent:
•    Apply repellents only to exposed skin or clothing—never put it on under clothing. Use just enough to cover and only for as long as needed; heavy doses don’t work better.
•    Don’t apply mosquito repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin or immediately after shaving.
•    When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and using sparingly around ears.
•    Don’t let young children apply. Instead, put it on your own hands, then rub it on. Limit use on children’s hands, because they often put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
•    Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating or drinking.
•    At the end of the day, wash treated skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing in a separate wash before wearing again.
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Critters to Avoid-Mosquitoes

Over 3,000 mosquito breeds but only three mosquito breeds are mostly responsible for carrying diseases affecting humans.

There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes that we know about.  However, only three mosquito breeds are mostly responsible for carrying diseases affecting humans.  These three mosquito breeds are public enemy number one.  They are responsible for millions of deaths globally every year whose victims are mostly children and the elderly in developing countries.

The following are the mosquito and the disease they carry:

Anopheles mosquitoes – Malaria, Filariasis (also called elephantiasis) and encephalitis.
Culex mosquitoes – Encephalitis, Filariasis and West Nile virus.
Aedes mosquitoes – Yellow fever, Dengue, and Encephalitis.

How they suck
The only mosquito that is able to feed on animals (including humans) is the female.  The male mosquito does not have the equipment for this task.  When the female mosquito bites their victim with what is called their proboscis (sucking straws) they stab the two straws into the skin.  One of the straws injects an enzyme that stops the blood from clotting.  The other straw sucks the blood from the animal.  The blood is a source of protein which feeds their eggs.  For both male and female mosquito, plant sugars and nectar are eaten for their nourishment.

How they locate their victims
The carbon dioxide exhaled by animals
The look of high-contrast objects
Warmth of bitable bodies
Olfaction (smell system such as identifying animal body odors)

These triggers are combined in groups which help the mosquito zero in on their victim.  In other words, the mosquito senses the carbon dioxide then has a strong attraction to visual features.  Olfaction, vision and heat trigger another independent seeking module.  The integration of all these underlying features helps the mosquito home in on their victim.

Transmission of Disease

Malaria – The mosquito’s gut transmits parasites which have attached themselves to the gut of the female mosquito and enters the host as she feeds on the animal.

Yellow fever and dengue – A virus enters the mosquito as it feeds on an infected human and is transmitted via the mosquito’s saliva to a subsequent victim.

Why we have mosquitoes
They are an abundant source of food for birds, dragonflies, bats, frogs and thousands of other animals.  Normally mosquitoes zero in on horses, cattle and birds more than humans.

Breeding and population control
Mosquitoes need water to breed.  Population-control and eradication usually involve removal or treatment of standing water sources. Insecticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is also widespread. The attempt on a global scale, to stop the spread of mosquitoes has had little effect and many scientists think global warming will likely increase their number and range due to larger standing bodies of water which are not freezing or freezing for long enough periods of time which is conducive to the success of the mosquitoes breeding along with a prolonged breeding season.

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Critters to Avoid-Fire Ants

Imported Fire Ants (IFA) were introduced into the United States from South America at the port of Mobile, Alabama.

Fire Ants
There are several species of fire ant.  However, the two species which invade new areas are the Imported Fire Ants (IFA). The IFA were introduced into the United States from South America at the port of Mobile, Alabama. The black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri Forel, arrived around 1918 and the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren is considered the worst and believed to be introduced into the U.S. in the late 1930’s. Both species probably came to the port in soil used as ballast in cargo ships.

Today, IFA infest more than 367,000,000 acres in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Puerto Rico. They are discovered sporadically in Maryland.

Fire ants cannot eat solid food, so they carry it back to the nest and feed it to the oldest larvae, which are able to externally digest solids and turn them into nutritious liquids. The worker ants then share this now-edible byproduct with the queen and the rest of the colony.

Fire Ant Mounds
Fire ant mounds do not have an opening at the center like other ant mounds.  Imported fire ants use underground tunnels which radiate from the mound.  Another characteristic of the mound is the soil appears to be fluffy and worked, especially a few days after a heavy rain.  When the soil is compact the tunnels become visible on the surface.  Mounds in clay soil are usually larger than in sandy soils.  Mature colonies may contain up to 500,000 ants.
If there is a lack of surface water, the ants tunnel down to the water table for the cooler environment and water. Of course this gives the appearance that the mounds have disappeared. After a heavy rain the ants will move upward for the dryer and warmer environment.   In grass the mounds may reach just a few inches tall but undisturbed mounds can reach up to 24+” in height.  I have personally seen fire ant mounds in Texas which were approximately 24” tall and 2+ feet wide.  Other areas fire ants build their mounds are around objects such as stumps, rotting logs, fence rows, trees and under structures.

Fire Ant and Other Survival Information

Critters to Avoid – The Hornet

Hornets are wasps which are closely related to yellowjackets. There are approximately 20 hornet species ranging from tropical Asia (which most live) to Europe, Africa, and North America. The North American Hornet is actually the European hornet which was introduced by humans.Hornet Information

The hornet is a social insect which their hive(s) consist of a paper like construction made from the pulp they make by chewing wood and they live the entire time from egg to adult inside the community hive.
The majority of hornets in a hive are female.  They perform duties in the hive such as construction of the hive, feeding the young, protection of the colony and gathering food.  The queens are the dominate species in the hive and the only ones to reproduce.  The males sole job is to reproduce with the queen and soon die after their job is done.

Hornets abandon their hives in colder climates in the winter and the new young queens along with their eggs protect themselves by finding protection in human structures or under tree bark.
During the spring the queen will start a new hive by her young taking over the tasks of the new hive which in turn leaves the queen for reproduction.  Prior to the queen dying she will produce a generation of new males, which are called drones, and new queens.

Hornets dine on flies, bees and other insects along with the occasional snack on tree sap.
Usually hornets will not sting humans unless they are provoked.  In Germany the hornets are granted protection by the government to ensure their role in the ecosystem is protected.