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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

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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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.

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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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Attracting Hummingbirds to Hummingbird Feeders

Question about the products Hummingbird Nectars,glass and hanging plastic hummingbird feeders.

Q: "We'd like to attract and feed hummingbirds. We've been warned about problems with attracting wasps, ants and yellow jackets to the bird feeders because of the nectar food. Also we don't know where to install the feeders. And what is the easiest way to make the nectar? We live in Missouri." Thanks. Chuck.

Answer: The newer hummingbird feeders are less likely to attract insects. For example, the Jewel Box window hummingbird feeder has an optional ant moat. Also there are optional nectar guard tips you can add to reduce problems with bees or wasps.

Selecting a feeder location is based upon a location with bushes or trees nearby. What attracts hummingbirds are food, water, shelter and places to raise their young. You can mount your hummingbird feeder on a window, on a deck or from a tree. The closer to your home the feeder is located, the more you'll enjoy watching the birds.

Nectar needs to be changed every three days to prevent mold and bacteria growth from the nectar solution. Certainly, you can make your own sugar solution. A simpler option is to purchase nectar mix. If you are serious about hummingbirds, we suggest you buy at least six packages at a time. We also sell by the case. The mixes we sell are dry and include clear, red and strawberry flavored. Each 8 ounces of mix when combined with 6 cups of water makes 48 ounces of nectar. Most feeders hold 5 to 8 ounces of nectar food. The nectar contains sucrose and dextrose. Once mixed, it is best to store the nectar in the refrigerator.

Most hummingbirds migrant and are found in North America in the warmer seasons. Get the feeders up in time for their arrival in your area. In Florida, this is as early as January. In Missouri, expect them in May. Call your local extension service for more information.

The more popular feeders we sell include handblown glass ones like the Bird Brain Lantern Feeder and the UV stabilized impact resistant polycarbonate plastic feeders by Droll Yankees and Aspects. Do remember that the more ornate glass feeders are more fragile than the polycarbonate.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy the birds.

Sincerely, Barbara


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Friday, August 22, 2008

Hearing Amplifiers for TV & Theater

Question about the products TV Ears and Super Ears amplifiers for TV, theater or conversation.

Q: "My wife complains I have the TV too loud. If I turn it down, I can't hear. What are my choices so I can enjoy TV and keep my wife happy? Thanks. Tom"

Answer: We sell both wireless TV headsets and hearing amplifiers. The more expensive units by TV Ears are superior as the headsets are light weight, volume is easily controlled by adjustments on the headset and what you hear is only the TV set. These units are also ADA compliant which means they pick up signals at theaters and other venues with ADA broadcast signals. Prices vary with the features offered. We currently sell the the TV Ears 2.3 MHz for those with normal hearing. The TV Ears Original system is for those with moderate to severe hearing lost. We also sell two hearing aid compatible units with extra features, the TV Ears Pro and the TV Ears Home Theatre .

The two hearing amplifiers that we sell are the basic SuperEars and the Super Ears Plus These hearing amplifiers are inexpensive and easily portable. Like most amplifiers, they are not direction specific even with the built-in microphones. So you'll hear side conversations and other noises. And you'll have to hold the units or lay them on a table or arm rest. The headsets do have connective wires to the microphone/amplifier unit.

Go to our website for more information. Thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Question about a Dome Bird Feeder?

Question about the product Product Code: GCDYBTG Big Top Bird Feeder - New Green Parts Product Code: : GCDYBTG

Q:"What are the dome and the green parts of the feeding station and the very top of the dome made of? How would I order and do you have any other dome bird feeders? Thanks!"

Answer: The green and clear parts of the Big Top Bird Feeder are made of UV stabilized polycarbonate. UV stabilization protects the clear dome from yellowing in the sun. Please order on on-line or phone us Monday through Friday for a live operator during our business hours.

We carry a wide variety of domed bird feeders including ones that look like a pagoda top , a sunflower feeder with a squirrel dome, a domed thistle feeder, a vista dome multi-purpose feeder , ones with "cages" to protect against squirrels, etc. Please go to, put "dome" in the search on the left and then once on the next page, go to title and description.

Enjoy your back yard birding!

Thanks for the question.



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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Does this Bird Feeder Have Drainage Holes?

Questions about Frisky Friends Brass Wakefield Bird Feeder

Q: "Does this feeder have drainage holes in the seed tray? How does it come apart to fill? What are the dimensions of the seed tray and the cover at the top? Thank you.-Carol"

Answers: The seed tray has no drainage holes. Remove the top of the unit to fill with see. The top of the bird feeder is about 12 inches across and the bottom is about 8 inches.

Thank you for your question. Remember that if you have trouble with squirrels feeding from your bird feeder, we do sell two bird feeders, the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus and the Brome Classic Squirrel Proof Feeder that work very well. Also we sell the Squirrel Stop , a device on which you hang your bird feeder that spins when a squirrel tries to eat from the feeder.

Hope this helps and you have lots of birds in your yard this summer to control the bugs and entertain you!


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