[Ansteorra] Outdoor Eventing: Ants, Chiggers, Mosquitos, Fleas and Flies

Donna Nesbit themaefare at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 20 13:31:21 PDT 2008

Thank you for all of the information.  Pyrethrium (sp) is an insectiside that is derived from mums.  It is generally non-toxic to animals, but bugs do not like it.  I use it in the kitchen for ants or roaches (big ones) when I have to.  Also, putting tobacco (snuf) in shoes keeps off chiggers.  My boys used to use this when they went to scout camp.  Many bugs do not like tobacco products.
As far as ingesting garlic and sulphur, people need to be aware that it can cause BO because the chemical leechs out in sweat.

--- On Fri, 6/20/08, Ronnie Hodges <womrn at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Ronnie Hodges <womrn at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Ansteorra] Outdoor Eventing: Ants, Chiggers, Mosquitos, Fleas and Flies
To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>
Date: Friday, June 20, 2008, 1:06 PM

I'm no expert.  The following are from my own experiences, or if not mine,
what I've read or heard about some commercial products.  
Always, always, check toxcitity and potential allergic responses for anything
you might use against any kind of pest, weed, or other natural irritant. 
Never, never simply take someone's experience as a guarantee that it will
work the same for you: you might do something they wouldn't but didn't
tell you about.  There are no substitutes for your own professional health care
advisers, good judgment, following labelled recommendations, and cautious
testing.  Vegitarian Times and other online magazines often have articles about
such remedies, and online searches may provide sensitivity or warning
information, as well. 
My husband Patrick is rarely bothered by any insect.  However, he's a
person who can tolerate "hot" peppers and their sauces.  Apparently,
the oils are intolerable to bugs.  For myself, who cannot stomach stuff that
etches the inside of glass jars, I resort to the following outdoor and indoor
ANTS: At the farm we use powdered GARDEN grade diatemacious earth (DE) on ant
hills -- NOT the SWIMMING POOL kind; it's TOXIC because it has other
chemicals in it.  The gardening kind of DE is apparently powdered seashells or
fossilized remains of some single-celled algae.  I gather it's pretty much
pure calcium.  It does not harm our animals, so we can use it indoors or
outdoors.  For outdoor hills and trails, when we know there won't be rain
for 5-7 days, we dust ants moving on trails we find; and we disturb and heavily
dust the top of, and pour a border around, the anthill, just thick and wide
enough that ants have to go through it to go anywhere beyond the hill.  They
get so busy crawling through the powder and trying to rebuild the hill that
they don't go foraging.  The powder is white, so we can see where we've
treated.  The way I understand it, the powder gets in their joint spaces when
the ants crawl through it, where it grits and grinds.  Other ants try to clean
it o
 ff the affected ants, and get it on themselves.  This way it is transferred
throughout the bed, eventually to the queen, so they don't pop up a new
hill to avoid the powder.
CHIGGERS: Caution: one of these is an "internal" remedy; I have no
knowledge about possible reactions or medicine -- someone could be sensitive or
allergic to sulphur.  Clear it with your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare
professional, before using it.  My 84-year-old dad is quite the do-it-all
handyman, and enjoys outdoor "projects".  However, he's allergic
to chigger bites.  Chiggers also yell, "lunch!" to their buddies when
they see me coming.  Most of us have unfortunate familiarity with the itchy
sores they give us.  Dad and I take sulphur tabs during the heat and humidity
of the spring through the fall (health food store item, or you can read about
and order them online).  Dad takes his daily, and I take them starting the day
before I expect to be outdoors or in the grass for any length of time.  Dad
also dusts his shoes, socks and lower pant legs with sulphur powder spooned
into a baby sock and slapped against his clothes.  Doing "shade-tree
mechanics", we're some
 times on the ground next to or under a vehicle.  Since he and I have been
using sulphur, we get no chigger bites.  I do get them, however, if I forget to
take the tablets: I rarely dust.  I haven't tried dusting the yard with it. 
I also understand commercial repellants (like Off!) with DEET, and Avon's
Skin So Soft, are effective.  We keep those for visitors who don't know if
they might react to sulphur.  
MOSQUITOS are also a problem for Dad and me.  With shaded, often still runoffs
and ditches nearby and through the farm, and hay grass and weeds that collect
dew in which they breed, mosquitos always are around, and are particularly
vicious in the late evenings before and after sunset.  They can carry a variety
of diseases, and lately have had a lot of press for carrying West Nile Virus. 
With a daily supplement of vitamin B-1: no bites, although they land on us
(swat!).  I understand commercial repellants with DEET, Avon's Skin So
Soft, and have heard that rubbing dryer fabric-softener sheets on skin, are
also effective. 
FLEAS can infect people with serious diseases when they bite.  They suck blood
from and are carried on pretty much any furry beast.  They also carry worm
eggs: when a host animal licks or bites the itch, it can ingest the flea and
worm eggs, and thus develop worms that have to be killed with type-specific
wormers from a vet.  They are a real problem in hot, humid times, because these
favor incubating their eggs.  I haven't tried it yet, but I recently was
told that pennyroyal extract - unless vastly diluted, CAN BE TOXIC - kills
fleas in a dilute of 1:20 or more (extract:water) when mixed at this or a
weaker strength, and sprayed on the pet (keep out of the pet's eyes and
genitals) and in the pet's habitual areas.  I don't know if it has
similar precautions; or is as effective and/or animal-friendly; or if it can be
as widely used on fabric areas (furniture, carpets, etc.) as the chemical
concoctions in Adams spray and powder.  I also recently read that for indoors,
DE and ev
 en table salt, sprinkled wherever fleas might land (corners, edges and
"furnidents" - those dents in your carpet where your furniture sits)
and vacuuming afterwards (get rid of the contents right away!) can help remove
them from inside the house.  Other products I have heard of include orange oil,
and the essential oils from citronella, cedar, eucalyptus and bay, but I
don't have diluting ratios.  I've also read that dried chrysanthemum
flowers can be effective, but I don't know the preparation or application. 

FLIES don't like mint (and horses won't eat it).  It may be because
there's a slight stickiness to it, or a natural oil that's mildly
toxic.  We have a mint bed off our patio, 10 feet from the door to our kitchen,
and rarely have flies around the patio or inside the house.  Blown seeds
migrated to growing near our outdoor garbage can: as long as the household
garbage is not exposed to the open air, no flies there.  While writing this, I
just realized a stand of mint also seeded and is growing in a corner of one of
the horse paddocks; that horse prefers to rest there, and I've not seen her
deviled by deerflies as have the horses in our other paddocks!  Mint grows best
in about half-and-half sun and shade, and our plants live on rainwater and
gutter runoff until dry season, when we water them a bit.  They get
"leggy" and invasive if not pruned once a year.  They seedtop and
reproduce quickly; and I haven't replanted any in 10 years, so the fallen
seeds come through winter okay.
   I hear hanging fresh cuttings upside down around an outdoor cooking or an
eating area, works as long as one is not careless about leaving food open.  I
gather the product Off! works as a spray-on for people.  Pirannah is a
HORSES-ONLY repellant spray that I've seen kill and repel a wide range of
buggy critters: I've shot a wasp and a deerfly with it, and they dropped on
the spot.  Probably the citrus oil I smell in it fouled their wings.  I
haven't read the label lately for why it repells insects, but I've used
it very effectively around the farm.  
Good eventing to all.  
Ronna (OP)
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