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My war with Mother Nature – mosquitoes

I really have noticed any mosquitoes in the yard yet but yesterday I fired up the mosquito magnet. 24 hours later, there are already 2 mosquitoes in the trap. Now, the Mosquito Magnet is not a bug zapper. It’s goal is to attract the mosquitoes away from the parts of the yard the humans like but in the process it occasionally sucks up a critter or two into the trap and over time reduces the overall breeding population.

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The soil 3 feet from my stoop

An hour ago, stepping out my front door included having your ankles swarmed by 100 mosquitoes, a dead bird, and enough landmines to give a Vietnam vet flashbacks. I relented. Determined to rid myself of the mosquitoes I pondered ripping out the entire front porch. Instead I looked under it. A dog toy in the shape of a tire..holding water. 5 planters holding dirt and plants. Some plastic cups..lazy children. Toys and trash.

One can of back yard fogger later, the mosquitoes have cleared out enough for me to work. Under the porch is now clear. And the bird is buried with enough dog and cat manure that I’m sure we’ll grow a new one quickly. I’m know it will grow. The ground seems fertile. My 7 year old girl found the remains of a potato filled with airsoft pellets hanging from the branch of a tree. It had a couple of sprouts so she took the target and buried it 3 feet from the stoop. We now have a healthy looking potato garden standing about a foot high. Imagine the convenience! Two steps to dinner!

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Don’t use DEET!

Several years ago I committed to keeping DEET away from my children. Every now and then I waiver and allow a DEET based mosquito repellent to touch their skin but it still makes me cringe. Why? DEET hurts them!

We’ve found that deet is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals [Source,, Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier]

I have since tried natural repellents using a concoction which included eucalyptus and lemongrass, and tried others with DEET alternatives such as Picaridin (which years from now may have as bad a rap as DEET). I have had good results with the natural products as well as the DEET alternative products. I am satisfied enough to know that I never need to use DEET again.

DEET is serious bad! You need to stop using DEET on your children!

The active ingredient in many insect repellents, deet, has been found to be toxic to the central nervous system. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology say that more investigations are urgently needed to confirm or dismiss any potential neurotoxicity to humans, especially when deet-based repellents are used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. [Source,, Popular insect repellent deet affects nervous system: study]

DEET was discovered in 1953. If it is truly neurotoxic to humans, what of today’s ailments and afflictions will be contributed to DEET?

See also: Evidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet from BMC Biology.