Let’s be honest.
Being outside can
be nice, but the bugs – especially this season – are making it a
really miserable experience.
The problem was
too much standing water at warm temperatures during the beginning of
the spring, according to Jonathan Schechter, an
on-staff naturalist for West Bloomfield. The result is legions of
mosquitoes, some that seem to be as large as Musketeer bars, gnawing
on anything that moves after dusk.
solutions, though. It was clear, as Mike Frentz was explaining the
dizzying array of insecticides he has available, that man really hates
bugs and is determined to reclaim the outdoors, and hasn’t come
close to exhausting the possibilities for doing so.
Tried and true
For example, there are good things about some of the newer fixes.
Safety has taken a front seat, and spray-on repellants no longer make
you feel like an Army test subject. If you’re like many of us, who
stand inside, looking at your nice back yard but not even thinking
about setting foot outside, then you might want to try one of these:
citronella candles. The
difference between these and other citronella candles is that
these have heft and three wicks per candle. They’re built for
business, not aesthetics. Mike says when citronella burns it emits
an odor bugs dislike.
Many people think these candles don’t work, but there’s a
trick to it. Mike says they’re built for close range use, such
as at the foot of your lawn chair or in the center of your patio
table. If you use them in that fashion, you’ll find they do
- Cutter’s has
also just come out with a new mosquito coil-candle combo.
You light the mosquito coil and then place it inside a clay holder
that is perforated, to let the smoke out, but also has a spot on
the top for a small candle that neutralizes – for humans, at
least – the odor coming from the smoke. Clever idea, also on
- If you’re
going to move around a lot, you’ll need something on you, and
Mike recommends Backwoods Cutters. "I’ve been
fishing in Canada, and this stuff stops black flies. Period."
Reapply after about six hours to keep up the protection.
It's a hornets
None of the above will make a dent in hornets or wasps, so it’s
important to hit them with something really potent, where they live.
Ortho puts out a products called Hornet and Wasp Killer, and Mike
says it really does work, but pay attention to the application.
best time to do this is at dusk, when they’ve settled down. At night
would be best, but they’re harder to see, so try for late
dusk." This can of Ortho shoots a 15-foot stream straight into
the nest, so you don’t have to be right on top of the problem.
doesn’t always work in one application. On the other hand, it works
very quickly, and if any escape the nest they’ll be stunned."
Two common places to check for nests are the peaks of garages and
works for bees with hives in the ground," Mike said. "Find
the opening, have something ready to use as a plug (a shovel full of
dirt will do fine), wait for dusk, spray into the hive and immediately
cover the opening."
There are also three new products on the newer end of the
- Mike just got
in products from a company called Safer, which has tried to
keep products effective while reducing the amount of nasty
chemicals needed to do the job. Safer Mosquito Patrol comes in a
bottle "and we’ve been selling just a ton of it," Mike
says. You hook the bottle up to your garden hose and spray the
yard; the mix protects against nuisance bugs for up to four weeks.
- The same
company makes an insecticide soap for use on plants, in
vegetable gardens and on flowers. The important thing to do is
apply the soap according to the instructions, which call for
applications many days before you harvest the vegetables for consumption.
The all-time best
seller is still the one your grandparents probably used – fly
ribbons. "You pull the tab and it extends to a 3-foot heavily
glued strip of paper that bugs just fly up against and stick to.
It’s still a great alternative to using chemicals of any kind."