Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How to Use Mosquito Repelling Candles Outdoors or Indoors

Question about using Geraniol bucket candles mosquito repelling candles.

Q: "What is the best way to use mosquito repeller candles?" Thanks. Mac

Answer: We recommend that you light geraniol candles at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to your outdoor gathering. Space the candles about 8 feet apart around the perimeter of the area where you plan to entertain. Make sure the Geraniol pillar candles or bucket candle is on a flat, heat resistant surface where it is unlikely to be knocked over. For the best protection, we recommend that you place mosquito traps down wind from your party and keep them running continuously during the mosquito/biting insect season. The best unit is the all propane mosquito trap since you can place it anywhere you choose without an electrical outlet nearby.

Take care when using any burning candle to make sure that it’s on a flat, heat-resistant surface to prevent the candle from tipping over or spilling wax, and never leaving a burning candle unattended.

Among the pleasant smelling geraniol options are:
  • Geraniol wristbands that use geraniol imbedded in plastic bracelets you can loop around wrist, ankle or bell or place out of reach of a baby on a stroller
  • Geraniol bucket candles. Each weighs just over a pound, is in a silver colored and burns for about 50 hours.
  • Geraniol pillar candles. Each 3 inch by 3 inch pillar candle weighs about 11 ounces and burns for about 36 hours.
Thank you for your question. Enjoy your parties.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Protecting Berry Bushes from Hungry Birds and Rabbits

Question about protecting blueberry bushes from birds.

Q: "How do I keep birds from eating my blueberries? This is the second year for the bushes which are covered with green berries. Would a Bird-X bird repeller do the job? I don't want to deal with bird netting if I don't have to."Thanks. Jack

Answer: Your best choice is not the bird repeller unless you install multiple units of the smaller units, the Bird-X Peller 1 and the Bird-X Peller 2. Each unit has only one speaker. You would have to have at least two units or install the Super Bird-X Peller with four speakers. These are noisy, you would have to have AC power and your neighbors might be unhappy.

I recommend that you either drape the plants with standard 3/4 inch mesh bird netting or build what is called a walk-in blueberry cage. Essentially that is a frame over which you drape the netting. That way you can secure the bird net so birds cannot get underneath. After harvest, which usually takes a few weeks per variety, you can remove the netting. The netting should last for years since it is UV treated.

Remember that rabbits and other rodents enjoy the young branches of blueberry plants. To keep them out in the wintertime, surround the bushes with tall chicken wire fencing

Blueberry bushes require little care, if you are in the right climate zones, keep the soil acidic and provide enough water. In 1964, I gave my dad a half dozen small bushes. Four of them survive to this day in western Pennsylvania and continue to produce huge numbers of berries 45 years later. Each spring the bushes are covered with bird netting that is anchored along the edges with bricks. Rarely a bird will get underneath and need to be rescued.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy those pies!
Sincerely, Barbara

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quickly Stop or Reduce Nausea from Vertigo or Motion Sickness

Question regarding using the ReliefBand Motion Sickness Device 2 Free Batteries for nausea from vertigo.

Q: "Recently, I began having attacks of vertigo. Some are mild, some are not. Along with that, I feel nausea, almost like mild morning sickness. Can the ReliefBand help?" Thanks. Fran

Answer: Nausea is nausea no matter what the cause. My employees and I have successfully used Reliefbands for nausea from flu, from migraines and also from vertigo. Recently, I've had to deal with those symptoms myself. According to internet sites, the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) usually last only a few seconds to a few minutes and are intermittent (i.e., come and go). Rolling over in bed, getting out of bed, swinging on a swing, etc. can also cause symptoms of lightheadedness and imbalance as well as nausea. Unfortunately, BPPV is more common as we grow older. ccording to the American Academy of Neurology, the most effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) caused by ear crystals in the posterior semicircular canal, are treatments where the patient moves head and body in certain positions. The idea is to move the calcium crystals into another inner ear canal where the body can absorb them.

We also sell conductive gel and conductive gel and extra batteries in separate packages. Remember the Reliefband if you get seasick or airsick, too.

Thank you for your question. Good luck. What was recommended for me was physical therapy which starts next week.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Attract Bluebirds for Natural Insect Control and Beauty

Question about the bluebird houses and how to attract bluebirds to my yard.

Q: "My family enjoys bird watching in our backyard. How do we attract bluebirds? We know they are beautiful to watch and we understand they eat a lot of insects, too." thanks. Dave

Answer: Attract and keep bluebirds in your backyard by providing them with houses in which to nest and the foods they love to eat. Bluebirds love insects, especially larva.

Some suggested boxes:
Some suggested bluebird feeders:
  • Song Essentials Bluebird Feeder. Bluebirds soon learn to reach inside this feeder for the meal worms & treats you provide. Designed for easy three step training. 1) Leave the lid open, held by the cable and remove one plexiglas side. 2) Insert plexiglass side. 3) Close the lid so only bluebirds can use the feeder.
  • Protected Bluebird Jail FeederThis feeder is made to discourage larger birds from feasting on meal worms and blue bird food.
Suggested food:
Thank you for your question. Enjoy your bird-watching.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Adding a Solar Pump with Solar Panel to a Backyard Koi Pond or Fountain

Question about replacing an electric water pump with a solar water pump for a Koi pond.

Q: We are working to reduce our dependence upon the power grid. Our electric pump for our backyard Koi pond is aging. Continuous aeration of the water keeps the koi healthy. We'd like to replace with a "green" solar pump. What choices do we have?

Answer: We recommend that you size your solar powered pump to your pond. You may need two pumps if your pond is oversized. Decide how many gallons per hour you want your pump to move.

Below are some pumps we currently offering including a floating fountain with pump:
  • Unique Arts Large Solar Pump for Ponds: For a larger fountain or pond. The separate 8 x 11 inch solar panel is staked into the ground. The 16 foot long cord means the panel can be placed in direct sunlight and the angled solar panel head easily adjusts to receive optimum sunlight. 130 GPH (gallon-per-hour output) with up to a 48 in spray. 18V DC brushless pump means no rotating brush to wear out, eliminating the need for replacement parts. Easy installation: complete and ready to go. A/C Jack and adapter is included to continue using the pump on rainy days. Three fountain nozzles are included.
  • Natures Foundry 26 Inch Solar Water Pump Kit:This solar panel operated pump has a one year pump and five year panel warranty. Solar panel capacity: 1.5 watts. Motor requirements: 6 volts with recommended panel of 1.5 watts. Water Flow Rate: 45-55 gallons per hour. Head Size: 26 inches. Outlet Hose: 1/4 Inch interior diameter. Solar Panel Size: 16 inches.
  • Natures Foundry - 14 in Solar Pump Kit Pump Dimensions: Physical size of pump: 3" x 4" x 5-1/2", Includes Garden Stake, Nozzle Kit, and 12 ft Extension Cord. 5 Year Solar Panel Warranty. 1 Year Pump Warranty. This unit is probably too small for your needs.
  • Floating Solar Pond Lily Fountain:. This fountain is 10 1/2"L x 10 1/2"W x 3 1/2"H and made of ABS Plastic, polyresin and polystyrene floater. The water sound is low: just float on your pond. Powered by an integral solar panel with an integral low voltage pump with filter. 3 different fountain heads. Maximum fountain height up to 17 inches. Water flow capacity: up to 50 gph. One year warranty.
  • Toskana SunJet 150 Mini Solar Pump Kit Create your own water feature in pond, bird bath or fountain. Powered by a separate solar panel (supplied). Low voltage water pump with filter. 3 different fountain heads. 16 ft cable to solar panel. Maximum fountain height up to 10 inches. Water flow capacity: 33 gallons per hour. Note: Fountain bowl not included.
Thank you for your question. Enjoy your pond.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Choosing a Cervical Collar to Ease Whiplash Neck Injury Pain

Questions about cervical collars

Q: "I suffered from whiplash in a car accident. I understand there are several types of cervical collar. The one I have is not comfortable. Could you explain the differences and suggest how I choose one?'Thanks. Matt

Answer: We recommend that your physician and/or physical therapist help you choose the best cervical collar for your needs. Physical therapists often are the better choice as they can measure your neck accurately and share experiences with other patients' comfort. Cervical collars or neck braces help support one's spinal cord and head after surgery or trauma. A cervical collar can also help realign one's spinal cord as it relieve pains. Usually cervical collars are not worn for long periods of time. For example after a cervical spinal fusion, a patient may need the support of a neck collar during recovery.

After suffering a whiplash injury, a person may need neck support until the neck injury is healed.

Currently, we offer these types of cervical collar:
  • Philadelphia cervical collars: adjustable neck height from 70mm (2 3/4" in) to over 100 mm depending upon size (medium, large and extra large). Each size fits necks 16 inches to 21 inches around. Molded "Ethafoam" for comfort, this cervical collar provides very high immobilization, is anatomically shaped and has a preformed chin and opening for a tracheotomy.
  • Soft Foam Cervical Collar: Made with a firm density PU foam to provide cushion and comfortable cervical support. Covered with aesthetically pleasing Nylon stockinette and a cotton sleeve. Sizes: small, medium, large, extra large. Fit necks beginning at 12 inches through 23 inches around.
  • Deluxe Foam Cervical Collar: Medium density, 1" thick foam collar covered in natural stockinette. Contoured design features chin cutout. Velcro®-type closure.
  • Adjustable Cervical Collar: Height adjustment from 1"-1.25" for perfect fitting. Made with Ethafoam for more cushioning. Well-ventilated for comfort.
    Available in Medium (16 to 21 inches), Large (17 to 22 inches) and X-Large (18 to 23 inches).
Thank you for your question. We wish you a speedy recovery.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Automatic Outdoor Dog Water Fountain for Summer & Hot Climates

Question about the Contech Outdoor Dog Water Fountain.

Q: My labs enjoy staying outside in our fenced yard despite the summer heat. The trees provide shade but it still gets into the 80's or low 90's most days. We'd like them to have fresh water and the option of cooling off. How does the automatic water fountain work? How hard is it to train dogs to use it?" Thanks. John.

Answer: Learning to use the Automatic Dog Waterer is like learning to use a dog door. If the dog is thirsty, he or she will learn faster. When we trained our Bostons to use the dog door, we gave them dog cookies the first few times and pushed them through the door. That was all it took.

Similarly, your dogs should learn quickly to use the waterer. If you want them to get cooled off, my suggestion is to purchase a Contech Water Scarecrow. This will dump about a cup of water on them each time they approach it which should help to cool them off.

Meanwhile, these are the specifications for the automatic waterer:

* Runs on 4 "C" Batteries: Battery life: Up to 1 Year.
* Low battery indicator: when light flashes red, change batteries.
* Ultra sound based concept: Operates unattended and "activates" the fresh stream of water when your pet approaches.
* Detection Range: 40 degrees angle out to a distance of 1 meter (approximately 3 feet).
* Operates 24/7: Cool Clean Water on Demand for your dog at any time.
* Simple Installation: Installs easily on any outdoor spigot.
* Emergency Lockout: If an object remains in front of the WaterDog for more than 4 minutes, the Water Dog will shut off until the object is removed.
* Pipe Splitter Included: Flow Through Tap Connector allows you to connect another hose or sprinkler without having to disconnect the Water Dog.
* DO NOT use if there is a risk of freezing.
* Maintenance:
o Daily: Place your hand in front of the WaterDog sensor. When the light flashes green, it is working correctly.
o Monthly: Inspect the sensor area to make sure that it is clean and free of any debris. Wash the screen with soapy water.
o Yearly: Replace the alkaline batteries for maximum performance.
* Most dogs will understand how to use the WaterDog immediately. More timid dogs may need some training. When introducing your dog, make sure he is thirsty. Remove regular source of water and exercise first.
* Dimensions: Unit: 6.5" high x 3" diameter. Metal Hose: 23"
* 2 Year Limited Manufacturers Warranty.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When to Change Filter on a CWR Sports Water Filter Bottle

Question about the product ES-CWR-SB Sports Water Filter Bottle for Safe Water .

Q:"I bought the bottle years ago & used it a lot but how do I know when the filter no longer filters out junk?? I wasn't using town water so if I buy another filter how do I tell when it's no longer working? I don't want to get sick just to find out it doesn't work anymore.I travel from country to country all the time is there another inexpensive safe portable water filter I should be using instead of this one? thanks." Danielle.

Answer: Danielle, it's time to change the water bottle filter. The filters currently cost about $25. The recommendation is to change them every 12 months or sooner if you use it often. Each filter life is about 160 fillings with municipal water. The bottle holds 22 ounces.

Here are some additional features:

* Removes lead and heavy metals, chlorine, industrial chemicals, dirt, other contaminates, and bad taste.
* Eliminates parasites like cryptosporidium and giardia, and bacteria like E.Coli by 99.99%.
* Laboratory tested by State and EPA accreditied laboratories to meet EPA & ANSI/NSF (snd 53) protocol and requirements.
* Not intended for use with salt water. Do not allow unit to freeze.
* Filter has a shelf life of 50 years.
* Six (6) month limited manufacturer's warranty.

If you want a better unit for any emergency situation anywhere, consider this unit, Travel Size Stainless Steel Gravity Feed Water Purifier This one uses a single Doulton Ceramic Filter Element: One 7" Ceramic Candle with Granular Activated Carbon (GAC). The ceramic filter lasts for approximately 2,000 gallons between filter changes.For intermittent filter use: Clean, dry thoroughly,then store. Filter may last several years. This is lightweight and compact as it nests to 7 .5 x 3. 25 inches. This unit has a 1 year warranty by CWR. Although currently selling for about $150, this Doulton ceramic filter unit is superior to the bottle unit.

Thank you for your question. Enjoy your travel.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Wheelchair Foam Cushions and Gel Skin Protective Cushions to Help Avoid Pressure Sores

Question about the product:Total Chair and Wheelchair Cushion , Skin Protective Gel Cushions and other cushions that help to prevent pressure ulcers.

Q: "My mother is in a memory care nursing home and cannot walk or move herself. She is getting pressure sores on her bottom from the sitting. She has lost so much weight and it's just skin covering bone. Will this pad help? I have tried every cushion on the market that I can afford and nothing works. Am looking at this pad or maybe sheepskin pads. Also, will this fit in a recliner chair? Thank you very much. Bonnie"

Answer: There are several cushions and cushions designated as skin protective cushions that might help your mom's comfort. One is the total wheelchair cushion that one of my employees gave her grandma for her 100th birthday last year. At that time Grandma weighed only about 70 lbs with no fat: she found the cushion comfortable: the shape allows this cushion to be adjusted for any chair.

A better option is a gel cushion made especially for wheelchairs and to prevent pressure sores. We can suggest two cushions at this time.

The first is the Lumex 17 inch gel cushion, 3 inches thick. This seat cushion pad is pre-filled with a non-toxic gel and surrounded by high-density, non-allergic foam with a tear resistant vinyl bottom cover and vinyl top cover that are fluid-proof, antibacterial and fire-retardant. It has a 250 lb maximum weight capacity and a one-year limited warranty.

The second is an 18 inch by 3 inch thick by 16 inch deep Lumex Gel wheelchair cushion, the Lumex skin protection cushion is a gel cushion with foam base. There is a moderate slope from front to back to make the seat more comfortable. This cushion is considered for people who are deemed at moderate risk for pressure sores. This is a non-aqueous gel filled cushion with a 300 lb. weight capacity and a fluid-proof stretch cover. The warranty is 18 months.

The third type are called Akros® Damped Fluid Displacement Cushions. An example of this is the GF-8114250, the Akros® D.F.D. Cushion 811 Series - 16" x 16" x 2" thick cushion. This is made for those who have temporary or chronic conditions that require prolonged seating and increased risk of pressure ulcers or by persons who experience discomfort when seated due to arthritis, lower back pain or other conditions,
Design minimizes bottoming out, reduces pressure and provides an extremely stable and comfortable seating surface.

The gel skin protective cushions come in many sizes to fit various sizes of chairs or wheelchairs. We offer a complete line of these plus we also sell the gel skin protective and egg crate mattress overlays.

I hope this helps with your mom's comfort. Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Recovery Time Between Alcohol Breath Tests on AlcoHawk Pro Model 11000?

Question about the AlcoHawk 11000 by Q3 Innovations.

Q: "What is the recovery time between tests with this product? How many
tests can be done in a five minute period?" Jason.

Answer: The answer is 4 tests in 5 minutes since we recommend waiting 1 minute between each test performed using the AlcoHAWK® unit. The AlcoHawk Pro or unit uses a semiconductor oxide sensor and meets DOT Standards as a breath alcohol screener. A single 9 volt battery can power about 300 tests.

Some AlcoHawk features:
  • Warm-Up Time: 20 Seconds
  • Blowing Time: 5 Seconds
  • Response Time: 3 Seconds
  • Digital Display: 3 Digits in numeric readout.
  • Operating Temperature: 10-40° C
  • Detection Range: 0.00 - 0.40% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration)
  • Air Sample: 5 Seconds
  • Sensor Accuracy: 0.01% at 0.10 % B.A.C.
  • Calibration: Required Periodically. (Send to manufacturer or to designated recalibration facility)

  • Thank you for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Deck Netting to Block Openings in Picket Fence

    Question about using Deck Shield Clear Deck Netting to keep dogs in a yard.

    Q: "I installed a fence several years ago when I purchased a dog. It is a white plastic picket fence . My problem is I now have small dogs and one keeps getting out in between the pickets. Is there anything you sell for me to put on the fence that won't look too bad. I was looking at the clear mesh, for the decking for child protection, which comes in 50 feet wide and 35 in tall lengths. Do you think that is o.k. or do you have any other suggestions? Thank you in advance for your help." Barbara C.

    Answer: Thank you for this novel but practical use for the UV treated deck netting. Yes, this should keep your dogs inside and should be practically invisible from both sides. Attach the net with clear plastic cable ties. This is also a great idea for families with little children. Those openings might be just wide enough for a child to get a head or a leg stuck which could be a disaster.

    Thanks for your question.
    Enjoy your pups!
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Ultrasonic Bark Control in a BirdHouse

    Question about the Petsafe Ultrasonic Bark Control Birdhouse .

    Q: "My neighbor is very sensitive about his dogs whose barking can drive me to screaming. I've tried to talk with him about them. I suggested bark control collars, the ones that use ultrasound or citronella. His response is that it is the nature of dogs to bark. I've reported him to the police for violating the noise ordinance. I'd like to try an ultrasonic bark control device but don't want him to be aware of it. Would the Petsafe unit work? Thanks." Steve.

    Answer: Steve, this unit has been quite successful if properly positioned. The trick is to mount it low enough that the barking activates the unit but high enough that the sensor is not blocked by a tree or fence. Ultrasound is more like light rays than sound waves so it bounces off hard surfaces.

    There are three sensitivity levels. If your neighbor's yard is large, the dogs may learn to stay away from your side of their yard. At least the barking will be more at your neighbor's door than yours. Our experience is that several weeks may pass before the dogs realize the bark yields the unpleasant sounds.

    Thanks for your question. Good luck.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Accident Prevention with Yellow Safety Padding Products

    Question about yellow safety padding products.

    Q: "Parts of our warehouse are dimly lit. It is easy to knock against sharp edges of shelving units. There are also supportive poles. What products do you suggest we use to reduce bumps, bruises and other injuries?" Thanks. Tom

    Answer: We suggest you safety proof with bright yellow safety padding products. Although we've had several manufacturers use grey safety padding for machinery edges, the yellow is more visible in all lighting and tends to catch one's attention. Schools and day care centers often use the yellow or other vibrant colors such as sky blue, green, etc.

    These products are all UV protected, fire resistant or retardant, etc.
    I recommend that you make a list of the dangerous areas you want to protect and email it to us. We can then send you a quotation on the best ways to protect your employees.
    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Choose Correct Bird Spikes for Your Bird Problems

    Question about polycarbonate bird spikes versus steel bird spikes and which size to get.

    Q: "Birds are perching along the edges of our building. The people on the ground two floors below are not happy getting "bombed" when the bird poop hits them. We are not happy either due to the mess. How do we choose which bird spikes to install?" Sam

    Answer: The Bird-X stainless steel bird spikes or polycarbonate bird spikes come in several widths. The widths given are the top widths. The base is what you need to decide upon first. Narrow polycarbonate spikes have a .5 inch base and the standard have a 1 inch base. The stainless steel spikes have a base 0.8 inch base made of polycarbonate with UV inhibitors to keep them from deteriorating.

    I recommend you consider these questions in choosing:
    • How visible do you want them to be? The polycarbonate are clear so they hardly show.
    • How wide is the area to be covered? You don't want the spikes so wide that they are crowded into gutter areas or into the walls if they are on a ledge. Standard are the best sellers unless there is a very narrow or very wide ledge. You may need several widths if the widths are not all the same.
    • How long is the area to be protected? This may be a cost issue as well.
    • Do you want to glue, nail, wire or screw them into/onto the ledge or edge? Hint: Most people use a glue gun.
    • How much do you want to spend? The stainless steel are considerably more expensive.
    • How long do you want them to last? The warranty on the stainless steel is 20 years.
    • Maintenance: The polycarbonate have more points are are more likely to collect leaves, etc. than the stainless steel which range from 2 spikes to 4 spikes with spacing between the center 2 spikes equaling 2 inches and the distance between the 1st and 4th spikes ranging from 5 to 7 inches.
    The Polycarbonate Bird Spike Specifications:
    * Heights: Highest Point: 4.3 inches
    : the spikes look a little like tree branches.
    * Width (Base) : 1" (Standard) .5 inches (Narrow)
    * Width (Widest Point): 4.5 inches(Standard) 2.25 inches (Narrow)
    * Diameters: Hole in Base: 0.156 inches, Polycarbonate center spike: 0.125 inches

    * Weight: 5lb per 10 ft kit , 16 lbs per 100 ft. kit
    * Materials: polycarbonate with UV inhibitors
    * Coverage: Each section covers 2 ft, and a spread or width of 7 inches, 5 inches, and 2 inches, depending on type of spike
    * Sizes: 10ft , 24ft , 50ft ,100ft (in 2ft strips)
    * Color: Clear transparent

    Stainless Steel Specifications and Product Details:
    * Heights: Highest Point: 4.3 inches

    * Widths: Base: 0.8 inches
    * Widths: Spikes Widest Points: Regular: 5 inches, Wide: 7 inches, Narrow: 1.5 inches

    * Diameters: Hole in Base: 0.156", Polycarbonate center spike: 0.125"
    * Weight: 5 lb per 10 ft kit , 16 lbs per 100 ft kit
    * Materials: Base: polycarbonate with UV inhibitors, ST302 Surgical Grade stainless steel
    * Coverage:Each section covers 2ft, and a "spread" or width of 7 inches, 5 inches, and 2 inches depending on type of spike
    * Sizes: 10 ft , 24 ft, 50 ft ,100 ft (in 2 ft.
    strips)

    Another option if the ledges are narrow: Bird-X Bird Repellent Gel. Birds don't like sticky feet and will perch elsewhere. A less expensive option but must be reapplied every few years.

    Thanks for your question. Send us email or phone if we can help with your decision.

    Sincerely, Barbara


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    Mechanical and Electronic: Height Measuring Devices or Stadiometers

    Question about height measuring devices for use in schools and medical offices.

    Q: "Our medical offices are looking for wall mounted stadiometers. What options do we have? What are the pros and cons of the standard versus the digital ones?

    Answer: Options are mechanical aluminum, mechanical plastic and electronic. Cost is the main difference as well as which measure in 1/8 inch increments or centimeters, have foot stabilizers, etc.

    The most economical and most popular continue to be the aluminum, wall mounted stadiometers. These cost $200 and up and read in centimeters or in inches. Also there are extra wide units like the Seca 222. There are also heavy duty plastic units with a headpiece lock knob to retain the result, double sided scale showing cm and inches and easy to read display. The most sophisticated of the wall mounted mechanical rods is the Seca 240 which lets you read directly off the measuring slide head piece.

    The newest on the scene are the digital electronic units which are exponentially more expensive, over $1300 each at this writing. The Seca 242 Electronic Wall Mounted measuring rod is favored by endocrinologists as the measuring rod determines the height via an opto-sensor and transmits wirelessly, from the separate, easy to read LCD so that the result can be read-off at any location. This unit also has a heel positioner.

    Many medical professionals continue to prefer the scale mounted stadiometers that usually come with a particular model of scale.

    Thanks for your questions.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Automatic Cat Food Dispenser Feeds When Only Cats Are Home

    Question about the Ergo Small Pet Feeder

    Q: "We are often gone over a 3 day week-end. Our 2 cats do very well alone since we have an automatic litter box. They do need to be fed on a regular schedule due to medical problems. How many times a day does the Ergo automatic pet feeder release food? How much is dispensed each time? Thanks." Valerie

    Answer: The small Ergo automatic pet feeder is probably your best choice. The minimum dispensed per feeding is 1 second's worth which would be .025 ounces. In 1 minute about 3/16 cup of dry food up to 3/8 inch diameter would be dispensed. You can set the release time for up to 5 minutes which would be about 8 ounces of food. The unit has a 24 hour programmable digital timer with battery backup, rotating plug for vertical and horizontal outlets, manual override switch, 8 programs maximum per day plus a daylight saving feature. This dispenser holds 5 pounds of food. This feeder is designed for pets under 15 pounds.

    Consider the Ergo automatic pet waterer, probably the smaller unit. Our dogs and cat share one so the medium sized pet waterer with the 3 gallon water jug is better for them. Fresh water is more enticing and healthier for cats and dogs. Our little Siamese cat drinks more often than the dogs do.

    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Using Air Flotation System Mattresses for Pressure Ulcers

    Question about the GF-753000 AltaDyne® Air Flotation Mattress- 80" x 36" x 8".

    Q: "I am buying the air flotation mattress for my father so he won't get bed sores. What comes with it, what bed linens are recommended, etc.? If incontinence is present, what type of protective pad is most beneficial? How does this system work?"- Thanks. Alieca

    Answer: This is an alternating pressure mattress that helps prevent and treat pressure ulcers. Primarily usage is those with chronic back pain and those who are confined to a bed full-time or for many hours each day. This is a portable unit with a washable cover. There is a static switch so that air loss is minimal in the sacral region.

    Since this is an 8 inch thick mattress, you'll need a contour fitted sheet for a hospital bed. (80 x 36). Use incontinence pads if that is a problem. Disposable ones are available in many sizes.

    This mattress system has individual transverse air cells that allow for maximum support and pressure distribution. The pressure control knob allows the mattress firmness to be adjusted for comfort. This unit has a 300 lb weight limit.

    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Geraniol, A Safe Outdoor Mosquito Repeller Can be Used with Mosquito Traps

    Question about Using Geraniol as a Mosquito Repellant and with Mosquito Traps.

    Q: "We entertain outdoors and want to keep the mosquitos away from our guests. I've been told that geraniol is a safe option to yard sprays or applying Deet to exposed skin. What is it? How do you use it to keep mosquitos away?, etc. I see you sell wristbands, pillar candles and bucket candles. How do you combine these products with a mosquito trap?" Thanks. Sara

    Answer: Geraniol is a safe option to Deet and insect sprays. It is a natural essential oil, a “green” product that uses oil extracted from plants such as lemon grass that have a natural ability to protect themselves against feeding insects. There is no known toxicity to the environment. Jerry Butler from the University of Florida, in Gainesville developed this insect repellent after 15 years of tests on more than 3,900 compounds. Geraniol protects people and pets against everything from mosquitoes and ticks to tiny “no-see-ums.” It was tested to be more than 400% more effective than citronella.

    Among the pleasant smelling geraniol options are:
    • Geraniol wristbands that use geraniol imbedded in plastic bracelets you can loop around wrist, ankle or bell or place out of reach of a baby on a stroller
    • Geraniol bucket candles. Each weighs just over a pound, is in a silver colored and burns for about 50 hours.
    • Geraniol pillar candles. Each 3 inch by 3 inch pillar candle weighs about 11 ounces and burns for about 36 hours.
    Koolatron recommends that you place the candles about 8 feet apart for maximum no-see-um, mosquito, biting fly, etc. protection. To improve the odds you won't get bitten by mosquitos, we also recommend that you place mosquito traps down wind from your party and keep them running continuously during the mosquito/biting insect season. The best unit is the all propane mosquito trap since you can place it anywhere you choose without an electrical outlet nearby. We also sell Koolatron UV 12 volt DC Biting Insect Traps that can be used with AC adapters, are inexpensive and can be placed just beyond the "candle range" to attract biting insects.

    Candles may also be burned inside. Do remember the dangers of leaving candles burning unattended.

    Thanks for your question. Enjoy a summer with fewer bug bites. For those that get past, try an Itchsoother.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Replacing 12V Propane Gas Alarms in an RV or Trailer

    Question about replacement 12 volt propane gas alarms for a motorhome.

    Q:" How do I choose the correct 12 volt propane alarm for my motor home? The brand that was in my motorhome is no longer available?" Thanks. Joe

    Answer: Currently, we are selling Safe-T-Alert propane alarms, USA manufactured, that meet all RV standards. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate a manufacturer that sells a unit with the third wire, that one that closes the propane gas valve if a leak if detected.

    Choose a unit by answering these questions:

    Is the current propane alarm mounted flush with the wall? If so, measure the opening. The units we sell are:
    • 30-442 (Flush Mount)Case Dimensions:6.375"W x 2.875"H x 1"D
    • 40-442RV Flush Mount Gas Alarm: Case Dimensions Recessed portion = 3"H x 4"W. Depth = 1 1/8". Flush mount portion = 4"H x 4 7/8"W. Screw Holes = centered, 4 1/2" apart.
    Is the current propane alarm surfaced mounted, ie. not flush with the wall?
    • 30-441 (Slim Line Surface Mount): Case Dimensions: 6"W x 1.875"H x 1.5"D
    • 40-441RV Case Dimensions: Bottom (where mounted) = 3"H x 5 3/8"W. Top = 3"H x 5"W. Depth = 1 3/8". Screw holes = centered, approx. 5" apart.
    Do you want a brown unit?
    • 40-442A-BR is chocolate brown and a flush mount. The 40-441A-BR is the corresponding surface mount unit.
    • The 30-441A=BR is the chocolate brown surface mount propane alarm and the 30-442A-BR is the chocolate brown flush mount model.
    What is the maximum amp draw you want?
    • Both the 40-441 and 40-442 draw 46 milliamp (0.046 amp.)
    • The 30-441 and 30-442 draw 76 mA. This 30-442 can replace the CCI-7770 Propane Alarm that is discontinued.
    The warranties are longer on the 40 series units. If you are interested in the product manuals, we have them listed below the pictures of each product.

    I hope this helps answer your question. We do recommend that you test your propane alarms and your RV carbon monoxide alarms at least once per month.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Using Power Inverters Connected to a Lead Acid Battery to Run Appliances.

    Question about the Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW or the Go Power 2500 watt inverter.

    Q: "hi, i am interested on your Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW Item Code WTCPI2575 or a similar model by Go Power. i was wondering if it can run amicrowave, a tv and two fluorescent bulbs connecting it to a lead acid battery, and for how long it can provide light to my mountain house, since i have no electricity. i would also like you to recommend me if you know a product for my needs, thank u"

    Answer: The power inverters we typically sell convert 12V DC to 120VAC. Your email address indicates that you live in the United Kingdom where power is typically 240VAC. The first unit you refer to has this description: This inverter provides household power on the go! It converts battery power to 120 V AC household power, allowing you to power up multiple loads such office equipment and major household appliances from your vehicle. This unit is ideal for microwave ovens, mini fridges, coffeemakers, laptops, TV sets, video games, CD players, DVD players, cellular phone chargers and much more!

    What you missed is that you have to have a vehicle with the engine running in order to power the inverter. If you attach the inverter to a charged 12 volt battery, you will quickly drain the battery of its charge. Remember that watts equals volts times amps. I am not an expert on power inverters. What I do know is that most microwave ovens here in the USA are 1000 watts. This power inverter could power most smaller microwaves if it were connected to an operating vehicle but not to a battery.

    A gasoline generator would power your appliances. Another option would be solar panels.

    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Update Medical Scale from Balance Beam 'Pit' Scale to Electronic Digital Weight Scale

    Question about which electronic scale can replace an old medical weight scale in doctor's office.

    Q: "In our medical offices, we have ancient mechanical balance beam scales that are set into floor pits for our patient's convenience. Which digital electronic medical scales can easily replace them?" Thanks. Dr. Bill

    Answer: We suggest the 500 lb. capacityTBS series from Amcells/Scale Perfect. There is also a 750 lb. capacity scale with the same sized base. This line of electronic digital scales has easily read electronic displays on 40 inch high posts. The weighing scale platform dimensions are 14" x 12" x 3.5" high so this scale easily fits most existing pits.

    The Total Body Scale includes these features and more
  • Sensing Element: Single point precision load cell.
  • Platform: Heavy Gauge aluminum.
  • Display: Large (0.6" height) bright red LED 6 digit display.
  • Indicator: Rugged stainless steel.
  • Push button Zero with Automatic Zero Tracking.
  • Full range, separate LED Tare indicator.
  • Auto Power Off: 1 minute factory set.
  • Self-diagnostics at power up for circuitry and display segments.
  • Lb/Kg Conversion.
  • Leveling Feet: All four feet adjustable, bubble level built in.
  • High Accuracy: 0.1 lb or better; 5000 Counts
  • Readability:
    • TBS-250: +/- 0.05 lb/0.02 Kg
    • TBS-500: +/- 0.1 lb/0.05 Kg
    • TBS-750: +/- 0.15 lb/0.1 Kg
  • Power Supply: AC/DC Adaptor (included), optional rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries, or 6 AA dry cells (not included).
  • Net Weight: 17.2 lbs.
  • Limited one year manufacturer's warranty on instruments

  • We do suggest you measure the pit before your purchase. If the pit is too small and cannot be easily enlarged, we suggest you purchase either a larger based digital scale and add grab bars or a low profile larger based scale.

    Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Lumens and Durability of a Solar 80 LED Outdoor Motion Security Light

    Question about the product Product Code: =TD-MXS-40225, the Maxsa Innovations Motion-Activated 80 LED Security Floodlight.

    Q: "Are the led lights changeable on this Maxsa Innovations Motion-Activated 80 LED Security Floodlight? What number of lumens does this light give?" Neel

    Answer: No, the 80 LED's are not changeable. However, they are rated for 30,000 to 40,000 hours of on time. The lumens are about that of a 40 watt halogen lamp.

    Recently, a residential treatment center in New York state chose to equip their center with these lights as a cost-saving, security measure. For this security light, you need a ladder and not an electrician to install the lights. And with solar power you save on electricity, too. The 15 foot cable to the solar panel even lets you install the light inside a building if you choose. Included is a 6V 4ah sealed lead acid rechargeable battery. This light can detect motion up to 35 feet away within a 180 degree detection area. Time, motion sensitivity and LUX (daylight sensitivity) adjustments. And the light can activate up to 360 times on one charge when on for a minute at a time.

    Thanks for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Choosing a Bariatric Weighing Scale for an Office Weight Loss Program

    Question about the product, Amcells 500 lb. and Amcells 750 lb. weighing scales.

    Q: "My office is beginning a physical fitness/weight loss program. Several of our employees are significantly obese: my guess is over 400 lbs. We need a heavy duty scale for the office and one or two employees are wanting to purchase accurate scales for home use. What do you suggest? We don't need a scale with Body Mass Index or Body Fat Index." Thanks. Teresa.

    Answer: Currently, the most affordable bariatric weight scales are actually made in the USA by Scale Perfect, Amcells. These scales are truly sturdy, made for the long term. Several years ago a New York area hospital chain purchased several dozen of the Amcells 750 lb. capacity scales for use with high risk pregnancy patients. The TBS models can be countersunk into existing pits in medical offices that currently use the old fashioned Cardinal detector beam scales.

    Since then, Amcells introduced a new 1000 lb. capacity scale with a platform that is 24 inches long by 20 inches wide by 4 inches high. This scale weighs 32 pounds and is accurate to +/- 0.15 lb/0.1 Kg. Included is an RS-232 scoreboard function: can connect to a printer, remote read-out or a large score board. Use with a RS-232 to USB adapter if required. all computers have printer ports. There are also 750 lb. capacity scales and 500 lb. capacity scales with slightly smaller platforms that also include the RS-232 feature.

    These are some points to consider:
    • Cost: $500 to over $1200 plus shipping.
    • Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs, 450 lbs or more.
    • Post mounted read-out or remote read? This is a portability issue as well. The USA made Amcells scales weigh 25 pounds to about 35 pounds. The Seca 876 Flat Scale with a 550 lb. capacity that weighs about 8 lbs. The base is 12 inches by 12 inches by 2.3 inches with graduation of 0.2 lbs <>0.5 lb. The USA Made Befour PS-6600 scale has a 500 lb capacity, has Accuracy: +/-0.1 lb. (+/-0.1 kg.), a Platform Size: 18" x 16" x 1.5", a Scale Weight: 13 lbs.and a Readout Display: ¾" LED.
    • Will there be a permanent place for this scale to sit? Is this a private place so that only the nurse or weight counselor and the person being weighed can see the weight numbers? Is theft a concern for you? (Consider the weights and sizes for storage)'
    • Will you be connecting this scale to a computer for recording data? Then you need one with as RS-232 connection.
    • Weight accuracy. Amcells' Accuracy: 500 lb. capacity scale: +/- 0.1 lb/0.05 K,750 lb capacity scale: +/- 0.15 lb/0.1 K, 1000 lb. capacity scale: +/- 0.15 lb/0.1 Kg.
    • Minimum acceptable platform size. 13"(L) x 13"(W) x 2.25"(H) is the base of the least expensive Amcells scale. The problem with that size is that many larger people must spread their feet apart to balance. With a wider base, the scale itself is higher off the floor but the base allows for a foot spread.
    • Wall mounted grab bars or not? We sell these as well in several sizes. Sometimes heavier persons or the elderly need to grasp onto a grab bar as they get on or off a scale. We also sell scales with a built-in grab bar: however, these are much more expensive to purchase.
    So, to summarize you can choose from one of many bariatric medical scales by Amcells such as the 500 Lb Weight Watchers Scale Remote Read Scale or a variety of scales from Seca, Befour or other manufacturers.

    Thanks for your question and best of good health to all of you.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Inexpensive USB PC Accessory Records Both Sides of A Phone Conversation

    Question about the Stealth USB Phone Conversation Recorder.

    Q: "How can I record telephone conversations for business purposes without investing in expensive recording equipment?" Thanks. Stefan.

    Answer: Purchase a Stealth USB Phone Conversation Recorder if you have a PC, not Apple. This is an inexpensive, easily installed compact analog telephone conversation recorder for any personal computer that Windows. This plug and go computer phone recorder has caller ID, almost limitless hours of both sides of a conversation. Email phone conversations to family, friends, business associates. If you choose, record conversations secretly: be a detective if you choose by hiding the record icon on your PC.
    The Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) technology enhances the capability and flexibility of the traditional telecommunication networks. CIT utilizes computer intelligence to manage telephone calls. The USB phone recorder allows recording of all phone conversations into a voice database through a USB port of a computer automatically. Users then manage all stored recordings and information using powerful management software. This telephone recorder is great for business and personal phone recordings, hot-line services, call-centers, telemarketing, banks, police stations, monitor centers, and training centers etc.

    Current colors are black, orange and green.

    Minimum Software/Hardware Requirements: IBM Compatible personal computer with USB 2.0 port, CD-ROM drive, and Windows compatible sound card with Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows vista. Minimum of 200MB of hard drive space, 512MB of free physical RAM.

    Installation is quick and easy. The unit is very small, about 3 inches by 2 inches by 1 inch.

    Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Which Personal or Pro Alcohol Breathalyzer Should I Buy? Am I Liable If Someone Drives Drunk?

    Question about alcohol blood level breathalyzers for personal use.

    Q: "I want to buy a personal alcohol blood level screening device for tailgate parties and home parties. I want to be able to serve alcoholic beverages and avoid problems with friends or family inadvertently driving under the influence. What units do you suggest? If someone "blows" a significant number on the breathalyzer and insists on driving, am I still liable?"-Tom

    Answer: Please consult an attorney or law enforcement person in your state about liability issues related to alcohol you furnish to adults. Remember, criminal charges are filed every day for adults serving alcohol to minors and incarceration is not unusual.

    The Alcohawk breathalyzer units we sell were originally developed after a University of Iowa law student interned with a DUI lawyer and realized that an affordable breathalyzer could help prevent persons from driving drunk. Do remember that alcohol levels can continue to rise even if the person blows a legal limit into an alcohol-screening device, eventually pushing alcohol levels over the legal limit. There are now some Alcohawk units that are DOD certified and used by law enforcement for helping to determine if a person is over the legal limit.

    Currently, there are three main types of Alcohawks:
    1. Alcohawk 1: a single test unit that uses crystals to indicate the Blood Alcohol Concentration. These are inexpensive: better to buy a reusable one if you plan to screen multiple persons. Currently about $5 each.
    2. Alcohawk Elite, Precision and Slim: portable, reusable, extra mouth pieces available (mouthpieces can be sanitized). Prices range from about $60 to $125 at this time. Some are DOT (Department of Transportation) Conforming.
    3. Alcohawk PT500 Professional: visual and auditory alerts. About $200.
    • Adjustable Blowing Time (Professional Kit Only): The AlcoHAWK PT500 is the first AlcoHAWK that allows to adjust the blowing time from 3 to 8 seconds. The blowing time may be adjusted for testing subjects with poor lung capacity, such as a smoker, or for testing subjects with a large lung capacity, such as a high-endurance runner. This makes the AlcoHAWK PT500 ideal for accurate and reliable testing of a variety of individuals.
    • Easy-to-Read LCD Display: The AlcoHAWK PT500 offers a large, easy-to-read LCD display to make the unit the most informative and understandable AlcoHAWK Series product on the market.
    • Pressure Scan Sensor: Ensures that the user blows with enough force to start a test and also ensures that they continue to blow through the unit throughout the entire test.
    • Sensor Recognition Technology: This DOT/NHTSA conforming Breath Alcohol Screener uses new PT Core â„¢ Fuel-cell Sensor Technology which enhances accuracy over the traditional semi-conductor sensors.
    • Warning Level Indicator: The AlcoHAWK PT500 features an audible and visual warning when a subject's BAC surpasses the adjustable BAC alarm point.
    How fast can someone metabolize alcohol and be safe to drive? When I was a certified addictions counselor working for the Department of the Army, the accepted criteria was that a healthy 150 pound man could usually metabolize one drink, defined as 12 ounces of beer, 6 ounces or wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits in about one hour. To be safe to drive, the recommendation was to wait one more hour. A woman's physiology differs: metabolism takes longer due to less water (more fatty tissue) in her body to "dilute" the alcoho: a 150 pound woman is more effected by even one drink. Whether you drink on an empty stomach or have eaten a full meal changes metabolism as well. Drinking and eating actually slows down the metabolism! And how healthy your liver is or is not is another variable.

    A wise host or hostess serves alcoholic beverages to adults in a manner that encourages prudent enjoyment of the beverages, perhaps cocktails, beer or wine with dinner and coffee or tea with dessert. Depending upon your group, having a breathalyzer on hand and "trying it out" may be quite acceptable. One customer last fall bought one for tailgating parties at the U. of Texas: his mature group of friends encouraged that action.

    The fear is that immature adults or teens might use the unit to see how high a number can be blown before the person passes out, etc. People do die from alcohol poisoning, i.e. when the breathing response is effected and/or the person goes into a coma-like state.

    Thank you for your questions. We hope this introduction to breathalyzers has been helpful.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Getting Rid of Yard Moles, Gophers and Voles Without Poison, Traps or Noise

    Question about how to get rid of yard moles without poison or noise.

    Q: "Once more the moles have invaded my yard and garden beds. The burrows are going everywhere. What suggestions do you have to get rid of them without using traps, poison peanuts or noise?" Thanks. Jack.

    Answer: Getting rid of yard moles, voles and gophers is faster if you use several methods simultaneously. Gophers are the most difficult to evict if they've established extensive underground tunnels over some years. Moles eat worms and grubs while they tunnel at grass level. Gophers eat the roots of your plants and shrubs. Voles eat vegetation and snails, etc. All burrow.

    Treatment options include liquid sprayed castor oil, known as Scoot Mole, granular repellents like Mole Scram and inserting vibrating metal mole chaser stake or the Original P3 green PVC mole chaser stakes into solid ground, not the tunnels or burrows themselves. (The noisy Weitech tunnel units are no longer available.) There are also solar powered mole stakes for flower beds in sunny climates as you cannot mow over them. P3 International mole chaser stakes operate on alkaline batteries (4 D cells), are waterproof (screw on top), are almost silent except for the hum when they cycle on and can be buried deep enough that you can safely mow over them. (To replace batteries, you unscrew the watertight top, remove the battery sleeve and replace the batteries. Batteries last 4 to 6 months on average.) Initially the pests can mistake the currents of vibration/sound as food source so there may be more activity at first..

    Using a grub killer on your lawn as a preventative helps get rid of the moles and also save your lawn from destruction if you are not opposed to chemicals on your yard.

    Using both the liquid or granular and the stakes at the same time has the best results. Moles eat their body weight every three days or they dehydrate and die. After a few unpleasant meals plus being irritated by the vibrations or ultrasound, the mole pests begin looking for a fresh food supply. In 1 to 2 weeks, they typically are gone.

    Scoot Mole comes in a liquid with or without a sprayer. Refills are available. The downside to this liquid is that you need to have a very long water hose or a several long water hoses connected together to be able to reach all of the area to be treated if it is large. Dragging hose around and spraying is not easy if you have a large area. "BANDING" is recommended i.e. treat a small strip (10-20 feet wide) around the perimeter of a mole-free area.

    Mole Scram is a granular formula containing Castor Oil: 15% , Citronella Oil: 0.4997%, Garlic Oil: 0.0003% and Peanut Hulls 84.9%. Depending upon your yard size, you can either sprinkle or put into a rotary lawn spreader. The plan here is to first spread the granules on the area closest to your home. For example, treat the half of the yard closest to your house or garden. Water in for 20 minutes or apply before a storm. (Hopefully you have an irrigation system,lawn sprinklers or have occasional heavy downpours). The next day do the second half and again water in thoroughly. This treatment typically lasts 3 months. The manufacturer states, "Mole Scram has higher concentrations of castor oil that its competition. Plus MoleScram adds garlic oil and citronella oil to the mix. Moles cannot tolerate the garlic odor. The citronella oil helps get rid of bugs, an alternative food moles love. The carrier is ground peanut hulls which releases the oils faster than similar granular mole repellers on the market."

    Simultaneous to these topical treatments, insert mole chaser stakes in your yard, once more inserting first those closest to your home or the area you wish to protect. Remember that in heavy clay soils, vibrations are intense in a small area. In sandy soils, the vibrations are less intense. Insert mole chasers accordingly. In a laboratory test, moles typically were gone within 1 to 2 weeks.

    My personal experience with the P3 units is 100% positive. We've used the same units for the past 5 years, just replacing batteries. One warm January, the moles tunneled from the woods to the front yard: the batteries were dead and who would expect warm weather in January!

    I hope I've given you enough information to decide how to fight your battle.

    Thanks. Barbara

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    Maintaining an Amaircare Roomaid HEPA Air Purifier

    Question about the Roomaid Air Purifier.

    Q: "I am interested in purchasing the Roomaid since I understand the unit can be operated both in a motor home or car on a 12VDC power adapterand also on standard AC power. My concern is maintaining the unit. What is involved with that? Do you have any personal experience with the unit? Thanks. Mary

    Answer: The Roomaid is made in Canada by Amaircare. I've run a "white" ( it is really cream colored) Roomaid in my home office continuously (except for when I wash the prefilters) for over 9 years. I've changed the HEPA once and the pre-filter maybe 4 times. By the way, I have allergies and have run an Amaircare 3000 continuously in our bedroom for 9 years as well. Original motors still purr along quietly. (German motors.)

    Both units are especially needed since Buddy the Siamese cat joined the family a year ago. Since Buddy likes to sleep in his cat bed right next to my monitor, the Roomaid prefilter does pick up a lot of cat hair over the course of a month (don't believe everything you read about Siamese shedding very little). The annual filter kit includes both pre and post filters There is also an optional VOC carbon filter if you are sensitive to formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds.

    To maintain the unit, turn the unit off and wash the prefilters in soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. Remember that HEPA filters can become a source of mold or bacterial growth if air does not move through them nearly continuously. Never have an air purifier with a HEPA filter sit idle for more than 3 or 4 days or you need to replace the HEPA.

    To change the snap on HEPA replacement filter you just jank a bit (or maybe use a knife for leverage) and pull off the entire top of the unit which is the HEPA. There are 4 or 5 little peg inserts that snap into the bottom of the Roomaid where the motor is. Then push the new unit on and put on the new prefilter. The post filter sits in the middle of the HEPA unit.

    You could add a scent to the top of the HEPA unit. There is a little round container for scent. I choose not to since I am allergic to begin with.

    For use in the car, there is a seat belt clip included with the optional 12volt power adapter.

    In my opinion, there is not a sturdier unit available in this price range. And certainly maintenance is simple as well.

    Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    50 UPF Sunday Afternoons Hats Mean No Sunscreen Drips Into Eyes

    Question about effectiveness and comfort of SundayAfternoons Hats versus using sunscreen on your face.

    Q: "I am a native Floridian and have paid my dues over the past 10 years as I have skin cancer after skin cancer removed from those many years outside in the sun. Now I never go outdoors unprotected: I apply heavy duty sunscreen after every morning shower. If I perspire a lot, the sunscreen drips into my eyes which is uncomfortable at best. Do you have personal experience with the Sunday Afternoons hats? How effective are they at keeping my face, ears and neck safe from the sun? Would I still need sunscreen on my face?" Thanks. Gail

    Answer: Yes I do have personal experience with the Sunday Afternoons hats and had one skin cancer removed from my forehead two years ago. (Who wore sunscreen in the 40's, 50's and 60's?) After day one in Hawaii in October 2008, I concluded I would wear my Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat (bought in Palm Desert, CA in 2003 at the encouragement of a friend) and not wear sunscreen. (I had a miserable day one due to the sunscreen dripping into my eyes and ended up dumping bottled water on my face to try to wash them out on three occasions.)

    I was surprised that I didn't even need my sunglasses most of the day as the darker underside of the hat plus the large brim shaded my eyes . Indeed, these hats are light weight and give 360 degree solar cover from both UVA and UVB rays. In fact the hats were awarded an unprecedented 13 point utility patent fro sun protection. Except for the mesh ventilation inserts, the hats are rated at 50 UPF which is the highest rating given for clothing for ultraviolet protection against solar rays.

    The unisex adventure hat and the Sunday Afternoon sports hats are our more popular sellers.

    The adventure hat has these features:
    # Rear sizing tape for custom fit.
    # Hook and loop closure raises veil off neck
    # Moisture wicking sweatband
    # Down sloped 4 inch brim is flexible and shades entire face.
    # Chin strap with cord lock
    # 7.5 inch veil for neck and ears.
    # Foam core brim floats.
    # Dark underside of hat for eye comfort.

    The unisex sports hat is similar. Other styles are available and all come in a variety of colors.

    Thanks for your question. Stay safe in the sun!
    Sincerely, Barbara.

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    120VAC/DC Converter for 6 amp or less 12V Thermoelectric cooler or warmer?

    Question about using a thermoelectric cooler/warmer indoors on AC power.

    Q: "Which AC/DC converter do you suggest for a larger thermoelectric cooler/warmer that draws up to 70 watts or 6 amps? We'd like to use our cooler indoors as an extra fridge or pre-cool prior to going camping." Thanks. Thomas

    Answer: The best choices for any thermoelectric coolers are the TravelMate units which we sell, at this time, under three different labels. This is the only one we know that can power a unit that draws up to 6 amps. (Most power only up to 4 amps). Vector actually makes all three units but they are marketed under the brands Rubbermaid, Black and Decker and Vector. Since all three have different UPC codes, we sell all three brands.

    TravelMates Advantages are:
    • Plugs into any standard 110-volt AC outlet
    • Instantly converts 110 volt AC current into 12 volt DC
    • Auto thermal and overload shutdown
    • Extends the convenience of your 12 volt device: use indoors or when camping where 120VAC power is available.
    • Powers all Vector thermoelectric coolers
    • Powers most Igloo, Coleman and other 12Volt thermoelectric products that use 6 amps or less.(70 watts or less).
    • Item Dimensions: 9 x 4 x 8.5 inches
    • Weight: 1 lb.
    • Warranty: 2 years manufacturer, Vector
    Thanks for your question.

    Sincerely,
    Barbara

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    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Attracting Toads to a Toad House for Natural Garden Insect Control

    Question about how to use toad houses or toad abodes to attract toads to a garden.

    Q: "I am interested in maintaining an organic garden. I understand that toads are one way to keep the insect population controlled. What products do you suggest to attract them?

    Answer: Each toad can eat about 10,000 insects in one summer. For "green" gardening, place one or more toad houses in areas of your garden that get lots of water. That keeps the soil cool: toads look for a break from the summer heat and sun! Keep a small dish of water near your Solar Toad Abode, Solar Toadstool Abode or Ceramic Toad House. That daily soak keeps permeable toad skin moist.

    If you have hostas, remember that toads eat slugs, too.

    Use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers in your garden as they are toxic to toads.

    Toad Specific Hints:
    1. Toads can poison. Keep dogs away from toads and do not handle a toad if you have cuts in your skin. Domestic dogs can die within 15 minutes of eating a toad. Toads are a common cause of poisoning in dogs. The toad can poison cats, too but this is not very common. Toads exude a milky white toxin from poison glands behind their eyes. They squeeze this poison onto the surface of their skin when they are under threat. Toads do not spit or squirt the poison as commonly believed, and they don’t bite. Dogs and cats are poisoned when they mouth the toad or sometimes when the toad’s poison gets into their eyes. The toad’s poison is also dangerous to humans and deaths have occurred. Some adults have even been affected when they absorbed the poison through cuts in their skin after handling a toad.
    2. Let a young toad find your toad house: adults have already chosen a home so don't try to relocate them
    3. Lure toads in spring and early summer. Bring the toad house inside in late fall and winter.
    Thanks for your question. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

    Sincerely,
    Barbara

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