Tag Archives: bugs

Eco-friendly tips to protect homes from pesky bugs

| ara@queenscourier.com

Cool weather signals homeowners to finalize outdoor chores and cozy up for the long winter ahead. It also signals pesky insects to head indoors seeking food sources and warm, safe places to hibernate. What can the smart homeowner do?

Experts say the record-breaking summer heat has created a bumper crop of bugs. Ohio State University entomologist David Denlinger predicts, “If the warmth stays into the fall, insects will continue to do well until frost comes.”

Home Invaders

Unwelcome invasive pests like silverfish, spiders, earwigs, flies and ants are typical party crashers once temperatures fall.

In the late 1990s a new pest appeared on the scene: the brown marmorated stink bug. First spotted in Pennsylvania, stink bugs are now in 38 states, destroying gardens and landscapes and overwintering in homes.

To protect your home from unwanted pests, industry experts share these simple eco-friendly tips to keep pesky insects at bay.

1. Clean up brush and keep mulch and firewood piles away from the house to avoid creating habitats for critters and insects.

2. Seal cracks, crevices and holes with caulk or weather stripping around potential entry points and seal around pipes and utilities. Repair loose roof tiles and screens. Inspect windows and basement foundations and repair loose and crumbling mortar.

3. Clean cupboard shelves of loose grain, starch-based and sugary food and place food in sealed containers or plastic bags.

4. Check where stink bugs hide: warm, dark spaces like baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling tiles and drapes. Pick stink bugs off by hand with a tissue and flush them down a toilet or drop into a bucket of soapy water. If you vacuum, be warned. When threatened, stink bugs emit a foul odor so dispose of the bags immediately.

5. If ants are your problem, try herbs. Briscoe White, herb expert and owner of The Growers Exchange, says bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves repel ants outdoors and indoors. Sprinkle dry crushed herbs around points of entry, cabinets and windowsills to create a natural barrier. Plus, peppermint and spearmint are excellent deterrents against both ants and moths.

More West Nile spraying in Queens today

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

Queens will receive another round of West Nile spraying after news last week of two New Yorkers succumbing to the disease.

Officials confirmed two deaths — one each in Nassau and Onondaga — stemming from West Nile last week.

Parts of six Queens neighborhoods will be sprayed beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28 and lasting until 6 a.m. the next morning.

There have been six cases of the illness in New York City — two in Queens — and 80 pools of standing water have tested positive for West Nile in the borough.

The 1118 West Nile cases in the country reported this year is the highest number of cases reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.

“As we continue to partner with local health departments to help reduce the public’s risk of exposure and to identify mosquito-borne illness sources, it is essential that people take precautions to avoid potentially serious illnesses, such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah.

Parts of Beechhurst, College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba and Whitestone will receive the spraying this week.

The area is bounded by the East River to the north; Flushing Bay to the west; 32nd Avenue, 146th Street and Willets Point Boulevard to the south; and 154th Street to the east.

The pesticide being used, Anvil 10 + 10, poses no health risks when used properly, but the Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.

• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.

• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Residents are also advised to take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes around a home or property, including eliminating standing water in yards. In addition, New Yorkers are urged to:

• Dispose of used tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers in which water collects;

• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall;

• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use and change the water in bird baths twice a week;

• Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds; and

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain water from pool covers.