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  • Top 15 Pest Control Methods that are Natural and Effective

    For some time now, many people have sent me messages through email and Facebook asking how to stay pest free during summer. So I decided it was high time that I gave those people some answers.

    First off, a simple way to keep pests away is not to invite them to your living space. Most of these annoying pests need food and water for survival. So, maintain a clean kitchen, clear out the garbage frequently, and store food and drinks in airtight containers. These are a few tips on how to keep out troublesome insects and pests. Another way to avoid bug problems is by draining stagnated water and sealing off small cracks and holes. Also, NYCity Pest Control has a guide that has many homemade remedies to stay pest free.

    If the pests find their way in even after keeping the area clean, here are 15 natural remedies that you can follow to destroy the pests that trouble you.

     

    1. Ants

    Ants

    The pest that I’ve had the most trouble dealing with was ANTS! For such tiny creatures……boy they cause a lot of problems! Here are some tips that will help you to keep them away from your home as well as from picnic spots.

     

    • CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN

    The kitchen counters must be free of crumbs and sticky spots at all time. Always close the sugar and honey jar after using it. Wiping the surfaces will save your home from pest attacks.

     

    • Cucumber

    Place cucumber slices around the kitchen or at the ant’s entry points. Many ants dislike the smell of cucumber.

     

    • Mint

    Mint Leaves

    Place a few mint tea bags in the areas where the ants are active.

     

    • Stop their entry

    Completely search the area and find out where these ants are coming. Cayenne pepper, citrus oil (it can also be soaked in a string piece), lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds– place any one of the items in a small line near the entry points so that ants cannot cross.

     

    It is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton which is in talc-like format. If you sprinkle this powder on the ants, it will absorb the lipids from their exoskeleton (outer layer) and cause severe dehydration.

     

    1. Mosquitoes

    Mozzy

    • Block them

    Early morning and evening are the time when mosquitoes are the most active. They seek areas of still air as they are held back by the breeze. So always close the windows and doors that are opposite to the breeze.

     

    • Eliminate water

    By removing the standing water around your home, you can cut the breeding sources of the mosquitoes. Make sure to change birdbaths, wading pools and pet’s bowls twice a week. Clean the gutters in your house and keep them well-drained.

     

    • Candle

    Candle

    By mixing essential oils and melted wax you can make your candle to repel flies. Always remember to use ½-1 ounce of essential oils for 1 pound of wax. You can make the candles with any one of the following mixes.

     

    Mix 1-(Spicy)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Clove

     

    Mix 2-(Bright)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Peppermint

     

    Mix3-(Green)

    10 parts Citronella

    10 parts Cedarwood

    5 parts Eucalyptus

    5 parts Rosemary

     

    1. Flies

    Fly

    Make small sachets out of cheesecloth and fill them with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus. Place these sachets around the house to repel flies.

     

    • Basil

    Plant basil in containers and keep them near doorways. Flies will stay far away from the area. While going for picnics, you can take a bunch of these leaves with you. You can also keep away mosquitoes by using these leaves.

     

    • Eucalyptus oil

    Oil

     

    To make a fly-free zone, dip some eucalyptus oil in a small cloth or rag and place it in the areas that are plagued by flies.

     

    1. Spiders
    • Peppermint

    Peppermint Plant

    Add a few drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of liquid nitrogen into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water. Spray the mixture around doors, windows, lawns, cobwebs and in any other place where spiders lurk around. Peppermint gives a pleasant aroma, and it is not harmful to children and pets.

     

    In addition to peppermint oil, they don’t like the taste of citrus oil that contains lemon, lime, tangerine and wild orange in it. This oil will not kill the spiders, but they will avoid the places that taste of citrus. Purchase real essential oils and not the synthetic version.

     

    • Eliminate hiding places

    Spiders are mostly seen in dark and messy places. So keep away debris, wood piles, and lush plants away from the sides of the house. They can be repelled if they have fewer places to hide.

     

    An all-purpose homemade bug spray

    • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
    • 45 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
    • 15 drops Lemon or Wild Orange Essential Oil

    Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle and apply it generously. It will last 2-3 months if it is stored in the fridge.

     

    What are the pest control practices that you follow?

     

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  • Earthquakes Swarm Under Mount Saint Helens

    The Force Volcano Awakens

    Mount Saint Helens SmokingMount Saint Helens – the volcano that blew off 1,000 feet of the mountain and darkened the skies with its ash in 1980 – is reportedly ripe with earthquakes. According to reports from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), there have been over 130 earthquake around Mount Saint Helens since March 14, 2016. That’s a lot of seismic activity!

    Fortunately, most of the earthquakes have magnitudes of 0.5 or less. The strongest recorded quake in this time period was a magnitude 1.3. Even standing directly above these tiny tremors, we still wouldn’t be able to feel them.

    These miniature earthquakes remind us that Mount Saint Helens is very much an alive and active volcano. These tremors are caused by the magma recharging and entering the volcano’s chamber, putting stress on the earth’s crust. So it’s not the shifting of tectonic plates after all; it’s the gathering of magma.

    Worried yet?

    Don’t be. Well, not yet, at least. Before the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens, there were over 10,000 earthquakes leading up to that event. The USGS released a statement in that they believe “there is absolutely no sigh that it will erupt anytime soon.”

    Basically, Mount Saint Helens is an active volcano, and an eruption will come. Scientists just don’t know when. They say it could be years – or decades – away.

     

    The 1980 Eruption

    Mount Saint Helens Eruption - USGS Mount Saint Helens eruption, May 18, 1980 - Image courtesy of USGS

    On May 18, 1980, Mount Saint Helens blew off 1,000 feet of the mountain and, according to Tech Times, “unleashed massive quantities of rock, ash and debris into the air.” The blast cause 150,000 acres of fir trees to become flattened, and “triggered one of the largest landslides ever witnessed in recorded history.”

    About 540 million tons of ash was ejected into the sky during the nine hours of violent eruptions. Two days after the eruption, ash from the blast was found in the central United States. Within two weeks, ash from the eruption had made its way around the globe. Because of all the ash, crops in Eastern Washington had an estimated $100 million in loss. Despite the losses, however, the ash was at least somewhat beneficial in the long term, due to the trace elements and minerals contained in the ash that support plant growth.

     

    Prepare for Eruption

    Still, considering the power of the blast, it wasn’t as bad as it might have been. When Mount Saint Helens erupts again, however, there will still be problems, and being prepared is something we could all take seriously.

    How does one prepare for a volcano eruption, you ask?

    Car After Eruption Photographer Reid Blackburn's car after the eruption.

    Well, just like any disaster, you will want at least a 72 hour kit. This kit should have clean water, food, gear for warmth and sanitation, and other necessities that can keep you supported and safe for three or more days. Directly following a disaster, power could be out, water could be contaminated, and food could be scarce.  As we saw from the 1980 eruption, millions of dollars’ worth of food was lost. Likewise, many roads were closed and flights were cancelled due to dangerously low visibility. These conditions could affect your local markets, making it harder to get food. That’s why having an emergency supply of food and water is always a good idea.

    Mount Saint Helens is active, and it’s setting off lots of little earthquakes underneath the ground. While it could still be decades before we have to worry about it blowing its top (again), the key to staying safe is by being prepared, and the way to be prepared is to start today.

    No matter what major event you’re preparing for, you can use that prep for anything. And by being prepared in advance, you can save yourself a lot of discomfort in the future.

     

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  • You Really Need to Change Your Email Password

    It’s time to change your email password.

    email password

    On May 4, 2016, a hacker stole hundreds of millions of email account passwords and information and – get this – is selling the batch for $1. Calling himself “The Collector,” he is behind what could very well be the largest email security breach in history. With email accounts compromised from Gmail, Outlook/Hotmail, Yahoo, and many others, there’s a possibility your email address is part of this collection.

    Cyber security can give us a false sense of security if we’re not vigilant to what’s going on. Using easy to guess passwords (birthdays, addresses, etc.) or common words (such as “football” or “basketball”) make the hacker’s job a lot easier. Instead, longer and more complex passwords are more secure than simple, short ones.

    One thing you can do to make your email password even more secure is to activate the two-factor authorization. What this does is that, before your password can be changed on a new device, you will receive a call or text message with a security code to input. So, if your phone isn’t with the person attempting to get into your account (i.e. hackers), they won’t be able to access it.

    In order to do that, go to your email settings and activate it right away! You also have the option to have your device remember it’s you, so you only have to do the security code the first time.

    Besides taking security precautions, make sure you’re also using your email wisely.

    Email is a great way to send files to friends, families, and coworkers. However, if an attachment looks suspicious at all, do not open it! It’s possible that one of your contacts has been hacked, and they are unaware of these bogus emails being sent from their account. So if you aren’t expecting an attachment, or think one is suspicious, ask before you open. Some attachments may release malware or spyware into your computer, compromising your own contacts as well as your personal data.

    Phishing email passwordNext, beware of phishing scams. These are fake emails and businesses that lure people in to gain their personal information. Remember, never give out passwords, credit card numbers, or your social security number through email or another unsecured or untrusted site. In fact, unless you know the for sure who you are emailing, do not give any personal information at all (even if you do know them, sending personal information can still be dangerous if your account does end up being hacked).

    Changing your password regularly is another good way to avoid getting hacked. Use a combination of letters, numbers, upper and lower cases, and symbols. This way, the chances of someone guessing your password is greatly reduced. Also, don’t use the same password for every website you visit. Since many people use the same password for multiple platforms, hackers that gain access to one of your passwords may think it’s the same on other sites (i.e. bank account), so keeping your passwords different can prevent this easy access.

    When handling sensitive information such as credit card and social security numbers, you work hard not to flaunt it out in public and to keep it as safe from prying eyes as possible. Your email and online passwords should be taken care of with equal interest. Cyber security is essential for everyone with an online presence, no matter how small it may be. Protect your information. Change (and strengthen) your passwords.

     

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