Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Home Defense - A Different View for SHTF planning

Readers here will recognize the need for appropriate home defense and defense planning.  What is being covered today is something insidious that we all must deal with - invertebrate pests.  They can destroy your property, damage your health and make you miserable.  Being mindful of pest invasions that can put your family's health at risk is a very important strategy for serious preppers to make part of their ongoing "home security" routine.  Pests carry disease that are debilitating to humans and their domesticated pets. Prevention is less expensive and time consuming than treating an infection that results from not attending to pest control management in a thoughtful, timely manner.

Before we go further, understand that the goal of pest control is CONTROL.  Getting rid of ALL insects is "eradication", and the costs for that can be astronomical.  Control will suffice.  Oddly, this meshes neatly with Chinese military doctrine, but I digress.  This may be the ONLY pest control article you'll EVER see that combines modern Chinese Military strategic thought and the minutiae of insect pest control!

One of the easiest, cheapest and non-toxic things that you can do to restore the attractiveness of your property and cut down on the visual issues of cob webs is to use a cobweb duster on an extension pole.  This simple measure will only take a few minutes and is guaranteed to make your home look brighter without the webs that hold dust, dirt, dead insects and airborne contaminants.

A further refinement of this technique is to use a dust style insecticide on the bristles before de-webbing with it.  This will leave a slight residue of pesticide that will reduce the amount of spiders that will want to call your castle their own.  if you ask your local pesticide applicator what they use for this task, they will tell you "Delta Dust".  The stuff you can buy is only slightly weaker than the pro grade material.  A slight application to the duster will give you good results.  You use dust for this instead of a liquid or spray because a liquid or spray will leave streaks of dirt on the surface you are swabbing with this.  It will look bad.  The dust is invisible when applied and does not leave smears or streaks. 

You may ask yourself why all those insects have congregated around your home.  Good question.. you will probably find most webs and the bugs that the spiders that feed thereon around light fixtures.  If you switch out to yellow insect lamps, that will help (but not eliminate) the problem.

Other things draw insects.  One main thing is proximity to water.  if you live in a subdivision, you may be near a "water feature" such as a pond or your next door neighbor's forgotten frisbee full of water.  These sources attract all manner of flying, biting nuisances.  Although you cannot realistically patrol other property for sources of standing water, you can reduce and eliminate them on your own.  A few tips on this are amazingly easy, free and simple, but you may be surprised that people miss them.

The humble gutter splash guard is often found placed the wrong way... meaning the narrow end with the lip is on the downstream side.  This causes a pool of water to form, which attracts bugs.  Do everything you can to divert water away from your foundation and get it as far as practical from your home.  Gutter downspouts need to be inspected to ensure that they are doing the job - if your winter was heavy, it is possible that ice jams in the gutters and the downspouts were so heavy as to bend or damage your gutters.  If ice jams happened, they may get the roof sheathing wet.  That is an invitation to rot, as well as another pest... the termite.  Read about them at that link before proceeding.

The diagram above matches the observation that termites need moisture and warmth to thrive.  Remember, there are several different types of termites to contend with.  If you see a swarm of "flying ants" you are probably looking at termites.  Catch a few and identify them so you can better prep your battle plan.

Termites are a huge business in America ($12 Billion USD in 2015).  I will not sugar coat this - if you see one, you have many.  It is also not something that you can do yourself once they get going.  The best that you can do is try to control them and eliminate anything that makes your house attractive to them.  Again, moisture and food (mulch beds, construction debris....).

However, what you can do besides making the place less inviting is you can apply termiticide bait stakes.  These are useful in that the termites will nibble them and take the poison back to the nest, where the real damage will get done.  The last time I did this, I used a cordless drill to use the supplied auger in placing holes for the tubes.  I felt like an idiot when the gearbox broke in the heavy soil.  Lesson learned... use a corded drill with sufficient power.  I found out then that it was cheaper to buy a whole new tool set than to buy a replacement gear drive for the imported power tool.

SHOP for Termite Bait Stakes HERE


Consider the use of the bait, the granular termite killer and eliminating the habitat of the termite to be a "combined arms" approach to eliminating this destructive pest.  Using all in conjunction will be much more effective than doing only one or two.  After applying your treatments, you may see termites swarm on a warm day within 48 hours of application.  This is a sign that what you are doing is working, as you are driving them out.  if they are all in a mass, you can vacuum them up in a wet-dry vac and deal with them later with some direct insecticide, boric acid or diatomaceous earth.  All of those have different mechanisms of killing insects, not just termites.

If you have access to your floor joists and sill plates, you can apply a liquid spray that will give you 4 months of continuous defense against termites.  Some people use a pyrethrin containing product such as BONIDE.

BONIDE Termite and Carpet Ant Killer

In closing, it is appropriate to take a moment to talk about safety.  YOU are responsible for your actions and use of the products that you purchase and/or use, I bear no responsibility for your misapplication of the points made in this article, providing for information purposes only. These products have mandatory labels on them that will tell you how much to apply, how to apply it, under what conditions, for which pests and how to wear personal protective gear to minimize your risk and exposure.  Yes, the print is small... get over it.

You need to understand that if you are doing some of these things on a windy day, you could dose your next door neighbor, someone's pet or some passerby.  Be extremely aware of what you are doing.  Know the appropriate first aid for what you are using.  If you accidentally dose yourself, call 911 ASAP.  Let them know the product name and the CAS number.  The CAS number is the "Chemical Abstract Service" number, and typically looks like "8003-34-7", which is for Pyrethrins.

Follow the listed directions for frequency of application for best results.  You save money by only buying what you need.  Pesticides lose potency over time, so don't bother "stocking up".

In case you missed it, FOLLOW THE LABEL directions. All of the time.  This will give you the best results.  Do not over apply pesticides... it is expensive, and toxic!

P.S. You can save money by applying your pesticides in accordance with the label.  DO NOT "over-apply" as that is actually not legal to do, it is also expensive and can hurt or kill things that you did not intend to.  Be careful, be smart, and you too can have a pest free environment to enjoy!


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Harvy Yee said...

Thanks for this conservation tips. Have a nice weekend!

Albert Trillo said...

I find this article useful, especially now we are all alarm with zeka virus.

Benjie Evans said...

Well said, great information thanks for sharing this alarming news.