If Every Coffee Drinker and Coffee Shop
Repurposed Used Grounds, We Could Curb Zika
DEET and Naled
Since the Zika crisis, I've been researching what scientists use to eliminate disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Based on the work of Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia and others at Duke University, I have avoided using DEET-containing products as much as possible.
Coffee May Be the Secret Zika Mosquito Repellent
Published August 10th, 2016 by Buzz60
Good News: Coffee and Bti Work
About Bti: Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis
- Bti poses no risk to humans and is approved for organic farming pest control.
- Bti kills developing mosquito larvae. So it's important to remember that flying mosquitoes will not be affected by it.
- It can be used around homes, in containers where water collects (e.g. flower pots, tires, and bird baths). What's more, it can be used to treat larger bodies of water like irrigation ditches, ponds, and lakes.
- Unlike chemical pesticides, mosquitoes have not become resistant to Bti as a larvicide. Studies confirmed this in mosquito populations that were treated for decades with Bti.
Mosquito Bits: Biological Mosquito Larvicide (BTI)
Mosquito Bits: Biological Mosquito Control
Available in 30-Ounce, 60-Ounce, and With Dunks
Amazon Price: $18.99 $11.13 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 15, 2016)
Rubbing Alcohol or Vinegar in a Spray Bottle
Also Handy For Door Handles, Taps, and Mirrors
When I was in my 20s *cough cough* not that long ago, I could successfully swat any fly or mosquito. Now? Not.
Fortunately, I noticed rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle at the pharmacy. I thought this was brilliant, bought it, and decided to keep it in the bathroom.
One day, a lone fast-flying bug accompanied me into the bathroom. I couldn't catch it but I sprayed it with rubbing alcohol and it slowed right down to my speed. Got 'em.
Another benefit of rubbing alcohol (and I use the standard 70 percent kind) is it kills mealybugs on indoor succulent plants (aka succulents or fat plants).
But for those of you who want something less expensive and definitely not corrosive to spray on bugs, try this 3-ingredient vinegar spray:
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid (I use Palmolive)
Get a Cat or Two, They Spot Bugs Fast
Cats are wonderful at spotting annoying insects. But keep in mind they can have severe skin reactions to bites. A cat's ears and nose are especially vulnerable. And mosquitoes can transmit heartworms and West Nile Virus to cats.
Once Editor Cat finds a bug, I quickly take over. And once I spray the bug with rubbing alcohol, she instinctively backs away.
As for the Zika virus (which has been poorly handled by our public health authorities), I felt the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana offered the most up-to-date information:
"Disease caused by Zika has not been demonstrated in animals, and, in the short term, it is unlikely to become a problem in our animal population in the United States." ~ Dr. Maureen Long, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and an expert in Flaviviruses
It is unknown, as of September 2016, whether animals will become reservoir hosts of Zika.
"To our knowledge, the only species that develop a very high viral load of Zika in their blood are humans and non-human primates." ~ Dr. Maureen Long
Ergo, if your cat is bitten by a Zika-carrying mosquito, it is unlikely that he or she will provide a hospitable environment in which the virus could thrive.
Addendum November 15th, 2016
Zika Can Survive For Hours on Hard Surfaces
A CNBC news report by Robert Ferris quoted one of the study's authors, S. Steve Zhou, director of virology and molecular biology for MicroBioTest Laboratories (a Microbac unit). Dr. Zhou said:
"Zika can survive on hard, nonporous surfaces for as long as eight hours, possibly longer when the environment contains blood, which is more likely to occur in the real world. The good news is that we found that disinfectants such as isopropyl alcohol and quaternary ammonium/alcohol are generally effective in killing the virus in this type of environment and can do so in a little as 15 seconds."
Yet another reason to keep isopropyl alcohol handy. Because if you swat a female mosquito (that has just had a blood meal) blood will be left behind – where it was squashed. This is definitely not something you want a toddler or anyone to come in contact with.