Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness
Unfortunately, these days insect bites can be more than an itchy annoyance. Mosquitoes and ticks can carry serious diseases. Mosquitoes can transmit St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. Ticks are carriers for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis. United States Evironmental Protection Agency brings up a guide to "Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness." There's information about EPA-registered repellents and other ways to protect yourself from biting insects. Well worth a look, even if your preference is botanicals. More information usually means better choices.
Tool or Gardening Product
The Bug Blaster
Mites invaded the garden phlox big time this July. At first we tried knocking off the critters by spraying the leaves top and bottom with blasts from the garden hose. It was a messy, awkward process. Second round we used The Bug Blaster, a nozzle that sprays layers of water at angles that easily reach under leaves, where mites and other pests live. It is a much more convenient and effective spraying method, much to my surprise. Nozzle converter kit is $9.95 plus shipping; it converts a watering wand into a Bug Blaster. Also available as 48" ($34.95 plus shipping) and 30" ($24.95 plus shipping) aluminum wand with heavy shut-off valve and Bug Buster nozzle. All of these products are available at www.bugblaster.com.