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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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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Saturday, June 20, 2009

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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Friday, February 13, 2009

Which Outdoor Mosquito Trap is Best for Me?

Question about Koolatron mosquito traps, the Bite Shield Mosquito Trap MK14, the Guardian Mosquito Trap MK12 and the Koolatron Champion Mosquito Trap MK05G.

Q: "Summers are miserable in my backyard because of mosquitoes. My land drains well so there are no standing water issues. But the mosquitoes just swarm. My yard is about 1/4 acre. Which mosquito trap would be most effective? What are the pros and cons of each unit?" Thanks. Fred.
Answer: All three mosquito traps would reduce the mosquito population in your yard if run continuously throughout the season. Performance is better if you replace the optional octenol attractant, every 3 weeks. Also you need to get the unit running at the start of the season. If you live in town, I recommend that you encourage your neighbors to drain standing water and install traps, too.

I recommend that choose a mosquito trap based upon these factors: Availability of electricity in an area downwind from your home. Physical ability to carry and attach a 20 lb. tank of propane. Willingness to keep tabs on the propane tank's level and change out the tank with a filled one every few weeks. Optimizing performance by replacing the octenol attractant every three weeks.

Both the MK12 and the MK14 use propane and are effective for up to 1 acre. The MK05G uses only electricity and is effective for up to 1/2 acre.

The most expensive and newest premium mosquito trap is the MK14 that uses only propane. Needing no electricity, this mosquito trap with wheels is easily moved for best placement depending upon prevailing winds The best placement for all traps is 30 to 40 feet down wind from the area to be protected and near busy and leafy plants without strong odor. The propane needs replaced about once per month.

The MK12 uses both electricity and propane. Remember that propane is a major attractant. A female mosquito senses the CO 2 and moisture from the gas burner from up to 40 ft. away. The mosquito flies toward this "breathing" creature. At about 15 ft, the female mosquito senses temperature like a living creature (thermal imaging), tried to "bite" and gets sucked into the unit by the fan. I've been using this unit in my Iowa backyard for over 4 years. My placement of the unit is not the best yet the mosquitos are a non-issue most of the time. I have an outside outlet on my patio so I don't use an extension cord. (I have about 1/3 acre fenced plus the hillside behind the house which is another 1/2 acre.)

The MK05G Mosquito Guardian is the smallest and least expensive unit and uses only electricity. Set it to operate only after sundown or throughout 24 hours. It uses 71 watts, is UL Listed and is about 12 inches in diameter and about 11 inches high. Again, this unit works better with octenol. My son in Minneapolis has used his for several years with no operational issues and with very good but not excellent results for mosquitoes and biting flies since no one around him has a unit.

I hope this has helped you make your choice.

Sincerely, Barbara

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