Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

How to have a Bug Free BBQ

BBQ-Bite[1]

Mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, when their first mode of search for humans is through vision. However there’s plenty you can do to avoid an onslaught of mosquito bites at your next outdoor gathering:

  1. Ban dark colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors (which absorb heat) including red, navy and black.  Mosquitoes have sophisticated and highly sensitive heat sensors, and tend to be more attracted to those dressed in black or dark colors for this reason. So stick to wearing light colored clothing which is less attractive to some mosquito species. Long sleeves, long pants as well as shoes and socks will give added protection.
  2. Some mosquitoes home in on the fragrances in soaps, shampoos and colognes. To avoid attracting even more mosquitoes, invest in some ‘fragrance-free’ products. White Rabbit Beauty promotes quality, cruelty-free beauty products and has an extensive range of fragrance free skin-care, hair-care and make-up.  And try replacing your usual eau de parfum with some eau de Repellent instead. Deet, Picaridin, IR3535 and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE or PMD) are all endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control.
  3. If you or your guests are blonde – consider a hat. There is some research that indicates the reason mosquitoes seem attracted to blondes is that they are more likely to stand out in a crowd. Apparently this applies to redheads as well! And while some mosquito species are leg and ankle biters, some species prefer the head – so a hat makes good sense whether you’re blonde or brunette.
  4. Family planning. Pregnant women are also at increased risk as they produce a greater-than-normal amount of exhaled C02. That’s because the body temperature of pregnant women is a degree warmer than everyone else, and they exhale 21% more carbon dioxide (C02), a known mosquito attractant. So if you want to spend your summer outdoors put your pregnancy on hold ‘til winter or fall.
  1. Insecticides will kill landing mosquitoes so try spraying a little permethrin onto your clothing.   It’s a fast-acting insecticide with some repellent activity as well, but should never be applied directly to the skin. There’s also a range of permethrin treated ready-to-wear clothing available for adults and children. Baby No Bugs by BabyLegs is an innovative range of kids’ legwarmers that are treated with Insect Shield® technology – an odorless insect protection that stays on the product, not the skin, and lasts through 70 washes. So the only creepy crawlies you’ll see on your little one will be the cute insect prints on their BabyLegs!
  1. Lactic acid which is secreted by sweat glands, is another mosquito favorite, and is one of the reasons why those people who work up a sweat, waving their arms about to defend themselves will become even more of a target.
  2. Try relaxing on the nearest deck chair! Mosquitoes sense movement and head towards it. When you pant from exertion, the smell of carbon dioxide (C02) from heavy breathing draws them even closer. Mosquitoes can smell their dinner, that’s you, from an impressive distance of up to 50 meters which doesn’t bode well for people emitting large quantities of C02.
  1. There are a number of herbs that not only taste and smell good, but have excellent mosquito repelling properties. Try throwing some sage or rosemary on your next grill. Their aromatic smoke will help repel a whole host of flying insects, including mosquitoes.
  1. Beer drinkers beware. A study released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that people who drink beer are more attractive to mosquitoes. Just one beer could make you a target for the biters. The reasons for this are unclear as yet but it could be that people breathe a little harder after a cold one or their skin is a little warmer.
  1. Provide mosquitoes with a meal replacement. Mega-Catch traps take advantage of mosquitoes’ sensory abilities by tricking them with features that mimic the smells and visual stimuli associated with people.  The idea is to make the trap attractive to mosquitoes by emitting Octenol, lactic acid, heat, light, moisture or C02 – or a combination of those to lure mosquitoes. The mosquitoes come in to check out the prospective meal, get sucked in by the fan then trapped in a container where they die.However, operating your mosquito trap for the first time in anticipation of instant results will be disappointing, so don’t set up your new trap on the eve of an outdoor party or BBQ and expect it to keep the mosquitoes away. If you don’t want you or your guests to be on the menu – plan ahead and operate the trap for several weeks in advance of outdoor social occasions. Source

 

Mosquito Proof Your Swimming Pool

iStock pool cA clean pool isn’t inviting to mosquitoes.  However if they’re not properly maintained, swimming pools can quickly become mosquito breeding sites, creating a nuisance for both yourself and your neighbors. Here’s some tips on how to keep mosquitoes away:

  • Run the filter on a regular basis – a timer can be used to allow the filter to operate around 3-4 hours each day.
  • Don’t turn the filter off during winter or periods when the pool is not in use. By maintaining the pool during these periods it will take much less time, effort and money to adjust the pool water correctly for the next use.
  • When not in use, i.e. at night, place a cover over the swimming pool to prevent chemicals evaporating and bugs getting in. During rainy periods make sure that any water found ponding on the surface of the cover is removed.
  • Regularly chlorinate your swimming pool and maintain disinfection levels.  Chlorine alone will not kill mosquito larvae but will help in maintaining the pool’s health and, along with the other steps, hinder the growth of mosquito larvae.
  • Use a skimmer to remove any surface debris.
  • The swimming pool should be cleaned regularly including vacuuming and scrubbing the walls. Backwashing should be undertaken at least weekly. 

The proper use of swimming pool grade chemicals and good management of the disinfection, filtration and re-circulation system will keep your swimming pool in a clean, safe and healthy condition all season long.

While chlorine has long been the industry standard and most popular swimming pool disinfectant, consumer demand for alternatives has prompted the emergence of new technologies and the number of systems in use continues to grow.  Nature2 from Zodiac Pool Systems in Vista, Calif., dissolves traces of silver and copper into the water to disinfect it and prevent algae. The system, approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, allows pools to operate using just 0.5 part per million of chlorine, compared with the recommended 1 to 4 ppm for conventional pools.

 

The Complete Mosquito Solution – Mega-Catch™ 4-Step TRAP Program

Looking for the complete Mosquito Solution?  For long-term results follow our simple 4-Step TRAP Program. mozzie-control32

1.   T – Trap  

The use of mosquito traps in outdoor areas is probably your first and best line of defense.  Mosquito traps interrupt the breeding cycle, reducing mosquito numbers; which in turn reduces biting incidences and the potential for disease transmission. The capture of only a few mosquitoes daily can have a substantial impact on current and future mosquito populations, because just one female mosquito is capable of laying up to 250 eggs at a time and as many as 3000 eggs during her lifetime.

2.   R  – Repel

Repellents don’t actually kill mosquitoes and do nothing to reduce your mosquito population the way traps do.  However they are effective at preventing bites and many experts consider them to be the number one weapon against mosquitoes.  The CDC recommends a variety of safe and effective repellents containing these active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, OLE (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus) or IR3535. However when using any repellent chemicals it is important to follow label directions and precautions; these are strong chemicals and some should not be used on infants and young children.

3.  A – Avoid

The best way to avoid getting bitten is to avoid going outdoors during periods of peak mosquito activity – typically dawn and dusk (some but not all mosquito species). When you are outside, be sure to wear repellents and protective clothing i.e. loose-fitting, light-colored, long sleeved shirts and pants. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so avoid wearing black and navy.

4.   P – Prevent 

Prevent mosquitoes breeding.  Do a ‘water collection’ inspection: empty wheel barrows, boat tarps, buckets, barrels – in fact any and all water-collecting objects.  Clean out clogged gutters (THE most neglected breeding site); and change the water in bird baths twice weekly.

With our simple 4-Step Program you too can reduce biting incidences and the risk from mosquito-borne diseases – all season long.

12 Scary Mosquito Facts

12 scary mosquito facts

#1
Mosquitoes are considered the most dangerous creatures on the planet, responsible for more human deaths each year than sharks, snakes, bears and lions combined.

#2
Mosquitoes have killed more humans than any war in history according to an online slideshow from the Science Channel.

#3
Physical activity ups the risk for bites by as much as 50%. Working out builds up lactic acid in your sweat, making you more appealing.

#4
Type O blood types are bitten twice as much as Type A. Type B is somewhere in the middle.

#5
Mosquitoes use heat sensors around their mouth-parts to detect the warmth of your body (actually the blood inside it) to home in on their target.

#6
Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes.  They are drawn to heat, and darker clothes retain more heat than light-colored clothing.  Colors to avoid – black and navy blue.

#7
Only female mosquitoes bite because they need the protein found in blood to nourish their eggs. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, but feed on fruit and plant nectar.

#8
Mosquitoes are known from as far back as the Triassic Period – that’s 400 million years ago.

#9
A female mosquito can lay as many as 300 eggs in one go and produce up to 3,000 offspring during her entire life span.

#10
Just one bottle of beer can significantly boost your risk of being bitten, according to a study published in Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. Researchers suspect it’s because drinking beer increases the ethanol in your sweat, and ups your body temperature.

#11
In another study, mosquito biting activity was shown to increase by 500% during a full moon.

#12
Pregnant women get bitten about twice as much as the rest of us. The body temperature of pregnant women is a degree warmer than everyone else, and they exhale 21% more carbon dioxide (CO2), a known mosquito attractant.

How to Winterize your Mega-Catch™ Mosquito Trap

Not all mosquitoes die off or migrate like birds. Some species seek out basements, storm sewers, stables, hollow logs or animal burrows in which to hibernate and hide out from the cold.  Others do die, but lay their eggs in freezing water beforehand, where they lie on the ground like seeds, waiting for warm weather and spring rains to hatch and produce the next generation.

To extend the life of your outdoor furniture and yard equipment (including your mosquito trap) it’s a good idea to cover and store them in an area protected from harsh winter weather.  Don’t forget to drain the fuel from all gas operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chainsaws.  And for a trouble-free start to the next mosquito season, we recommend the following steps for winterizing your trap.

  1. Turn off your Mega-Catch™ Trap and disconnect the power cable.
  2. If you have an ULTRA, turn off and disconnect the regulator from the C02 cylinder.
  3. To ensure that insects don’t nest in your C02 system during the off-season place the regulator in a sealed bag, and place some electrical tape or similar over the end of the gas line (attached to the rear of the trap).
  4. Remove the skirt from ULTRA/PREMIER models and wipe down the outside of the trap with clean warm soapy water and a damp cloth.IMG_0076
  5. Using a Philips screwdriver, open up your ULTRA/PREMIER Trap, and clean the internal plates, heated reflective surface and fan with warm soapy water.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  (Step by step guide in the Operation manual or download from our online workshop)
  6. To clean the ALPHA Trap, remove the base and using a small sponge or toothbrush, and warm soapy water, reach into the trap and carefully clean the inside casing of the fan and fan blades.
  7. Remove and discard any opened attractant lures  – they’re only effective for 30 days.
  8. Remove and clean the mesh catch bag – pollen, dust and dirt can prohibit airflow and prevent your trap from working efficiently.  If the catch bag is torn or damaged in any way, remove, discard and start next season with a fresh mesh bag.
  9. To extend the life of your trap, store it in a garage or shed, protected from the elements and extreme cold.
  10. Mid-way through winter, turn on your trap and let it run for a day.  This will keep the fan moving (Ultra/Premier/Alpha) and in the case of 800 Series Ultra/Premier Traps, the timer battery charged.

Congratulations, your Mega-Catch™ trap, like most mosquitoes, is now in ‘hibernation’ until next season.

CO2 Upgrade Kits Available For Mega-Catch™ Premier XC Mosquito Traps

It’s not too late in the season to have a CO2 trap – limited numbers of CO2 Upgrade Kits are still available for your Premier XC trap.  During West Nile season (June-September), you’ll also receive a FREE Octenol Lure + FREE UPS ground shipping (continental USA only) from our online store.

After last year’s spike in West Nile virus cases, everyone is on high alert for a resurgence of the disease this season.  Because most infections occur between June and September, hitting their peak in August, ongoing preventive measures are essential.   So keep your traps running, slap on the bug spray and try and stay indoors after dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Great Gadgets – Upgrade your PREMIER XC Trap to CO2

While our traps don’t need Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to attract mosquitoes, operation of Mega-Catch’s™ patented ‘Variable Quantity Slow CO2 Gas Release System’ will boost capture rates of targeted species including those West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes.   Mega-Catch™ ULTRA traps come CO2 ready, all that’s needed is a gas cylinder (sold separately).

If you have a Pro 900 PREMIER XC trap you can upgrade it to ULTRA specifications with our CO2 upgrade kit.  The upgrade kit (sold separately) converts or ‘transforms’ the PREMIER XC to top-of-the-line ULTRA trap specifications, making it Carbon Dioxide (CO2) capable.

This enables the traps to replicate a key feature of human/animal respiration by releasing or ‘exhaling’ variable amounts of CO2 into the air plume.  Use of this system is entirely optional and the trap can be run with or without the gas turned on.  However, if you are battling a challenging mosquito problem we strongly recommend that you operate your trap with CO2 as this can increase the coverage area (up from 1 acre to 1.5 acres) and capture rates by as much as 300-400%.

 

Prep Your Garden – The Top 5 plants Mosquitoes Hate

Banish mosquitoes from your backyard with a well placed Mega-Catch™ trap together with some carefully selected plants.

The Top 5 Plants Mosquitoes Most Hate:

  1. Citronella is by far the most popular plant for repelling mosquitoes.  The plant contains citronella oil which is released when the leaves are crushed.  The smell of citronella is so strong that mosquitoes find it impossible to sniff out their next target.  So break a few leaves off the plant, rub them onto your skin and scatter them around whenever you’re working in the garden.
  2. Horsemint is a plant that works much the way citronella does in repelling mosquitoes.  It gives off a strong odor and while mosquitoes may not mind the smell so much they can’t detect their hosts through it so move on.
  3. Marigolds, another popular plant for the garden (and bridal bouquets!) are in favor mainly because of their looks not their fragrance.  Mosquitoes find their smell particularly offensive and tend not to go anywhere near them.
  4. Ageratum.  Mosquitoes just can’t stand the smell of this plant which secretes coumarin.  A chemical compound which occurs naturally in some plants, coumarin is also produced snythetically and is found in many OTC mosquito repellents.
  5. Catnip, beloved by cats, loathed by mosquitoes.  This amazing mosquito deterrent is said to be ten times more effective than DEET!

A little bit of preparation and judicial planting now should help transform your backyard into a buzz free oasis this summer.

Mega-Catch™ Mosquito Trap Storage Tips

Mosquitoes become lethargic at 60°F and cannot function below 50°F;  which isn’t until late fall in most regions of the U.S.  While some States like Florida may still be reporting heavy mosquito catches, for others in the grip of fall, the autumn leaves have dropped from the trees and frost has killed off the tomato vines along with the mosquitoes.

Typically once temperatures in your area begin averaging below 50°F it’s safe to store your Mega-Catch™ trap away for the winter.   And for a trouble-free start to next season, we recommend winterizing your Mega-Catch™ trap:

Mosquito Trap Shut Down Guide

1. Turn off the trap and disconnect the power cable.

2. Turn off and disconnect the regulator from the CO2 cylinder. (Ultra) To ensure that insects don’t nest in your C02 system during the off-season place the regulator in a sealed bag, and place some electrical tape or similar over the end of the gas line (attached to the rear of the trap) and also over the CO2 cylinder valve outlet part.

3. Remove the skirt (Ultra & Premier) and wipe down the outside of the trap with clean soapy water and a damp cloth.

4. Open your trap (Ultra & Premier) and again, using warm soapy water, clean the internal plates, heated reflective surface and fan, then allow to dry thoroughly. (step by step guide in the Operation manual or download from http://www.megacatch.com/manuals.html).

5. Using a small sponge or toothbrush and warm soapy water, reach into the trap (Alpha) and carefully clean the inside casing of the fan and fan blades.

6. Remove and discard any opened attractant lures – they’re only effective for 30 days.

7. Remove and clean the mesh catch bag – pollen, dust and dirt can prohibit airflow and prevent your trap from working efficiently. If the catch bag is torn or damaged in any way, remove and discard. Start next season with a fresh mesh bag.

8. To extend the life of your trap, store it in a garage or shed, protected from the elements and extreme cold.

9. Mid-way through winter, turn on your trap and let it run for a day. This will keep the timer battery charged (Ultra & Premier) and the fan moving (Alpha, Ultra & Premier).

A little bit of maintenance should ensure a trouble-free start next season. Because mosquitoes that were infected with say West Nile Virus or Dengue before they went into ‘hibernation’ will still have the virus when they emerge – all loaded up and ready to go!

Mega-Catch™ Mosquito Traps for DIY Mosquito Control

 

Trap Placement:
In one study trap location made up to a four-fold difference in catch rates.  So the first thing we recommend is to check out the ‘battle-ground’.  Walk around your yard and try and identify the areas where mosquitoes are most bothersome i.e. ‘the source’.   Then set up your trap between the source of the mosquitoes and where people gather i.e. decks and patios.  Position upwind and in a shaded area because most mosquito species are poor flyers and avoid the sun.

Your Mega-Catch™ trap will act like a decoy in a sense; attracting mosquitoes towards it and away from humans.  Never put mosquito traps near people (20-30 feet is the recommended distance) because given the choice most mosquitoes will go for real rather than replica any day! (more…)

Mega-Catch™ Predicting Mosquito Invasion

The series of storms that pelted the South County in early March may go a long way toward breaking the three-year drought, but they also created perfect conditions for mosquitoes and the spread of West Nile Virus.

Standing water on the ground or containers like bird baths, pot plant bases and old tires, can help breed millions of mosquitoes in less than 10 days as the weather warms up.

So in addition to a keeping grass mown, bushes trimmed and debris out of the gutters, it’s essential to eliminate any potential mosquito breeding sites as well.   Remember anything that can hold water for more than a few days is a potential mosquito nursery.  Just one mosquito can produce 1,200 young and a five-gallon bucket of water has the potential to produce enough mosquitoes to invade an entire city block in a residential community.

We recommend you set up your Mega-Catch™ trap at the first sign of mosquito activity.   And to ensure you get the best capture rates this season, follow our simple step by step ‘Top 10 Tips” in the start up guide.

2010 Season Start Up Guide:

  1. Clean out catch bags and liquid containers (Ultra & Premier) and replace any ripped or torn mesh bags.
  2. Replace UV light tubes (Ultra & Premier) to optimize catch rates.  UV tubes dim over time, attracting less mosquitoes.
  3. Clean any build-up off the fan blades and internal casing using warm soapy water and wipe away any spider webs, dust, pollen or other debris.
  4. Leave the trap to dry out for at least 24 hours before starting
  5. Re-attach skirt (Premier & Ultra) and replace if necessary
  6. Re-charge the timer battery (Ultra & Premier) by plugging the trap in for at least 24 hrs
  7. Refill CO2 cylinder then reconnect to the gas regulator (Ultra)
  8. Replace attractants. Choose from either our standard Octenol, or Mega-Catch™ 3000 Combo Lure which is specially formulated to attract a wider range of mosquito species including the hard to catch Asian Tiger (Aedes albopictus).
  9. Place your trap away from people areas and as close to known breeding sites (bushes, shrubs and wet areas) as possible.
  10. Connect power cord, switch on and complete the standard start-up procedure as outlined in the trap manual. Available for download at http://www.megacatch.com/manuals.html

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