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Column: Southern pest
b&w cutout Buster Beckham.jpg
Buster Beckham

Gnats, ants, fire ants, flies, and mosquitoes can certainly ruin an outing. Here are a few tips that may help ease the aggravation.

You can take a small glass and fill it with apple cider vinegar and then top it off with dish washing detergent. The vinegar attracts the little boogers and then the detergent keeps them there. An old barkeep trick is to put baking soda in drains and then pour vinegar on the baking soda. Plumbers are expensive.

If you have a large number of ant beds pour borax detergent on the mound. Borax is inexpensive and the 20-mule team appreciates the work. You have to have a little seasoning to understand the 20-mule team reference.

Fire ants dig to water and you have to kill the queen. There are some good commercial fire ant killers but the one which works best is the one which smells like Charleston and Georgetown did in the 1950s and the 1960s. If you want to start a fire ant farm, then the city of Camden has a bounty located on the sidewalks from the recreation department to the commercial shopping centers on U.S. 1.

Flies are a constant nuisance and those inexpensive fly kits will collect plenty, but with the aroma you can not place them close to where you picnic. That old sticky fly paper will also work better if you daub a little honey or guana on the sticky part. One more trick is to place pennies in a glass and partially fill with water. Why or how this works I do not know, but it works.

Mosquitoes are like flies in that they only have two wings so that they can not fly long distances. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes but there are only five in North America than can make you real sick. One of these mosquitoes emits saliva when they chomp on you and you may not realize that you have been bitten. If you have an outdoor fan, then aim it low because a favorite target is the ankles and legs.

The female mosquito is the gender that bites you and she is attracted to the carbon dioxide that you emit, which makes people drinking alcohol, exercising, or pregnant easier targets. Mosquitoes can only fly at 1 mile per hour, so they won’t bother you when you jog, but just when you are cooling down. The best mosquito control eliminator is one which emits carbon dioxide and then traps the bugs and they perish due to dehydration.

The further north you move, it seems the meaner the mosquito. The natives of the state of Maine claim that the state bird is the mosquito. Former Camden resident Ben Pauling was stationed in Alaska and he told about how great the fishing was, but you had to take a mesh mask, bug spray and a pistol which was, hopefully, to scare off the bears.

There are some good mosquito yard sprays that claim to last for three months, but it’s usually only effective for a month. You can make a spray of epsom salt, beer and dishwashing soap and broadcast on your plants and it is best to use early in the morning. I hate to use the beer, but I have not been bitten in a month.

Thank you for your attention.