The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Biological insect control


Learn to keep bugs at bay

Do you get ravishing mosquitoes and black flies where you are? --- Heather W

Aren't you afraid of mosquitoes during the summer? --- Rena

We live next door to a swamp, but we don't get bitten much. Bats and dragonflies patrol the skies all summer, keeping the outdoors habitable nearly all the time.

We do have a few insect problems. In 2011, we started being plagued by deer flies whenever we go in the woods during the dog days. Gnats flying into our eyes are another summer problem. They're not bad enough to keep us indoors, though.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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One thing we've found that works on gnats is to put a dab of vanilla extract (real or imitation) on your neck or hat and the gnats stay away all day.
Comment by mark dahlen Tue Jan 8 17:34:31 2013
Just in case you are interested, that dragonfly appears to be Tachopteryx thoreyi. A primitive dragonfly that is imperiled in much of its range.
Comment by Mike B Wed Jan 9 11:14:49 2013
Do you have the purple martin in your neck of the woods? They're amazing bug eaters and are easy enough to convince to stay around be putting up a few housing units for them.
Comment by Heath Wed Jan 9 15:24:55 2013
I love this post. So literary. The picture so national geographic. The response comment number 2 so specific. Happy birthday Mark!
Comment by Maggie Wed Jan 9 18:32:38 2013

Mark --- Vanilla extract is a great idea! The only anti-gnat technique I know is to hold our hand over your head (and all the gnats will go up there and leave your face alone). But your hand gets tired after a while, and it's hard to work with one hand in the air....

Mike --- Fascinating! I keep meaning to learn dragonfly ID, but I never do.

Heath --- A lot of the other swallows are much more common than purple martins here, although the latter do exist. I've actually never seen purple martins move into houses in our neck of the woods, though --- they must like their wild housing better.

Maggie --- Glad you liked it! Mark's birthday's actually not until tomorrow, but I'm sure he appreciates the early birthday wishes.

Comment by anna Wed Jan 9 19:11:14 2013

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