The rattle snake, copperhead and cottonmouth are part of the pit viper family in the United States.


Pit Vipers
Pit vipers are a group of viper snakes that include the copperhead, cottonmouth and rattlesnake. These are the most common venomous snakes in the U.S.
Pit vipers have a unique, heat-sensitive pit organ between each eye and nostril.  This receptor allows them to more accurately aim strikes at warm-blooded prey.  Their pupils are vertically elliptical and they have a single row of scales on the underside of their tail.

Copperheads are the most common pit viper in the United States and are notoriously aggressive. Fortunately, their venom is mild and rarely fatal to humans.

Be Wary Of Look-Alikes!
Like many creatures in the animal kingdom, pit vipers have several non-venomous look-alikes.  It’s not uncommon to come across snakes that have similar coloring and patterns to their venomous counterparts.

Cottonmouths – range in color from black to green. They have a small white stripe along the side of their heads. They are most often found in or around water, but are equally at home on dry land. Young Cottonmouths have a bright yellow tail. They are usually found on their own, so if you see several snakes that appear to be getting along quite peacefully, they are probably not a cottonmouths

Copperheads – have a similar body shape to cottonmouths but are much brighter, ranging from coppery brown to bright orange, silver-pink and peach. Young Copperheads have yellow tails as well. Look for a distinctive ‘copper’ colored head against a mostly brown of green body – hence the name

Rattlesnakes – Look for the signature ‘rattle’ on the end of the tail. Some clever but harmless snakes imitate this distinctive rattle sound by brushing their tails through dry leaves, but only true rattle snakes have the bulbous-like rattle at the end of their tails. If you can’t see the rattle, they also have a heavy triangular head

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Where and Where Not to Build a Shelter

Shelter is anything that protects someone from the environmental elements and hazards.  The environment dictates the type of shelter to construct with five basic considerations.  The considerations are: TIME, WEATHER, LIFE FORMS, TERRAIN and LOCATION.

1.    TIME; do not let time get away from you.  Waiting to the last minute to construct your shelter could be disastrous depending on the conditions.  Always be thinking about shelter and what you will need for the night ahead.  I always give myself approximately 2-3 hours for shelter construction and camp preparation in good weather.

2.    WEATHER; is the KEY CONSIDERATION in site selection.  The weather also dictates the site selection, choice of shelter type along with the temperature, wind and precipitation. Continue reading “Where and Where Not to Build a Shelter”

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-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

Global Survival Industries Aspiration

This is the post excerpt.

I started Global Survival Industries in memory of the numerous victims of circumstance in the wilderness and on highways who have succumbed to the elements of the environment.  Our company takes a common sense approach with components in our survival kits and information we post in our Survival Solutions section of our website.

The products in the Global Survival Industries survival kits have multiple uses. This redundancy of product aids the victim of circumstance to increase their odds of a favorable outcome. Our blog posts share information taken from our website Survival Solutions page in hopes of reaching people who may benefit from this information.  Of course comments, likes and ideas are always welcome!

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