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BUGS & PEST CONTROL

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 4 ways to protect you and your pets from bug bites

4 Quick Tips to Protect You and Your Pets from Bug Bites

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 4 ways to protect you and your pets from bug bites

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner—which means bugs and bug bites are becoming increasingly more common. Seasonal vacations, backyard partying, and outdoor fun like hiking and camping all expose you, your family and pets to potentially harmful pests like mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, ants, and fleas. Here are 4 tips to help you and your pets enjoy the warm weather without having to worry about troublesome bug bites.

 

Use an Essential Oil Based Repellent

Beaches, road trips, and adventure travel can mean countless bug bites for you and your family. Using a non-toxic repellent like Cedarcide Original does more than prevent these potentially harmful bites, it also ensures you don’t bring any of those nasty bugs back home.

 

Protect Your Pet Without Harsh Chemicals

Dog parks, walks, and backyards are often littered with unseen fleas, mites, ticks, and mosquitoes—which can spread deadly heartworms and cause other potentially life-threatening complications. Applying a pet-safe bug repellent before these activities is essential to your dog or cat’s protection this spring and summer.

 

 

Avoid Harmful Tick and Mosquito Bites with Extra-Strength Protection

For deep woods activities like hiking and camping, avoiding tick and mosquito bites can be a serious health concern. For extended stays in known flea and tick infested areas, sometimes a little extra protection is necessary. That’s why we formulated our extra strength formula Tickshield—it has twice the active ingredient (cedarwood oil) and is perfect for outdoorsmen and animals over 20 lbs.

For optimal protection, apply before and after outdoor activities in tall grass to avoid bites and prevent accidentally bringing bugs back into your vehicle, home, or yard.

 

Apply Monthly Yard Treatments During Warmer Months

Enjoying time outside—from BBQs and warm nights on the porch, to long walks and camping—is one of the absolute best things about summer and spring. The pests that often show up to spoil these fun activities—like ants, mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas and ticks—are the absolute worst.

Applying a non-toxic repellent like Cedarcide Original to family and pets can make grilling out, pool parties, and other backyard activities bite-free. A monthly yard treatment like Yardsafe or PCO Choice will control active bug populations and help repel additional pests from moving into your lawn and eventually your home.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

Cedarcide blog post image, What are Fall Armyworms & How to Get Rid of Them

What are Fall Armyworms & How to Get Rid of Them

Cedarcide blog post image, What are Fall Armyworms & How to Get Rid of Them

Imagine this: You wake up, prep your morning coffee, glance out the kitchen window to admire your well kept lawn—and bam! It’s all gone. Where there was once a beautiful stretch of green grass there is now an ugly patch of brown. Unfortunately, if you’re facing fall armyworms this nightmare can quickly become a reality. It’s not unheard of for armyworms to devour an entire lawn overnight. One moment your lawn and garden are intact, the next you’re left with a backyard full of dirt.


What Are Fall Armyworms

Especially problematic in the South, Fall armyworms are the larvae of a small brown moth that lays its eggs in grass, crops and other greenery. Once hatched, these small green caterpillars begin feeding on nearby plant life, and can devastate an entire lawn or field of crops in days, sometimes hours depending on the size of the armyworm population. Unfortunately for your yard, these populations can get out of hand fast, as female months can lay up to 2,000 eggs in a single night. Once matured, these caterpillars change appearance, going from green to brown with white lines running along the side of their bodies. Because several damaging species go by the popular name armyworm, if you spot caterpillars in your yard, regardless of appearance, you need to act fast to preserve the health of your yard.

Here are 6 natural approaches to tackling these nasty pests:


Mow and Water Regularly

For whatever reason, armyworms tend to avoid moist lawns with shorter grass. Keeping your lawn a little shorter throughout fall, and watering soon after each mowing session, can help prevent an armyworm population from flourishing in your yard.


Trichogramma Wasps

These tiny wasps have a long history of use in natural pest control because they attack the eggs of many damaging bugs, armyworm eggs included. Trichogramma wasps can be found at many local garden supply shops and countless online retailers. This approach works best in the early stages of an armyworm issue, as this method will address armyworm eggs only, not recently hatched or mature caterpillars. Green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, ladybugs and other beneficial egg-feeding insects are also effective.

 

Invite Birds to Your Backyard

If your yard has never been the victim of armyworms, chances are natural predators like birds are to thank. Which means If you’re currently struggling with armyworms, you can alleviate the situation by inviting these predators back into your lawn. Bird feeders and bird baths are the most obvious choices and tend to work wonders. This natural approach can be a real time saver and is usually quite effective, given that birds target both the armyworm moth and the subsequent caterpillars.

 

Naturally Sourced Outdoor Pesticides

Naturally sourced outdoor pesticides—like those made with all natural cedarwood oil—can be effective at both preventing and killing active armyworm populations, without using the harsh chemicals associated with traditional pesticide use. Apply at the first sign of trouble, whether that be armyworm moths, eggs, or immature caterpillars.


Bacillus Thuringiensis

This bacterium is a popular and eco-friendly way of naturally ridding your lawn of armyworms. Typically applied to yards as a spray, bacillus thuringiensis works by paralyzing the armyworm digestive system, eventually killing them via starvation. Best of all, this bacterium is not harmful to beneficial insects, humans, pets or other wildlife. This method works best when used in the early stages of an armyworm problem, when the caterpillars are small, green and immature. Bacillus thuringiensis can be purchased from local gardening stores and countless vendors online.


Beneficial Nematodes

As one of the most well known biological pesticides, beneficial nematodes work to combat dozens of unwanted pests. After applied to the yard, these near microscopic roundworms parasitize armyworms and armyworm eggs without affecting humans, plants or beneficial insects.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

Cedarcide blog post image, Mosquito Bites: Facts & Myths

Mosquito Bites: Facts & Myths

Cedarcide blog post image, Mosquito Bites: Facts & Myths

Ever notice how mosquitoes tend to bite some individuals more than others? From the sweetness of your blood to what you eat and wear, the internet is abuzz with rumors about what does and does not attract mosquitoes. Well, we’re here to help set the record straight. Some myths, some facts, here are 5 common beliefs about mosquitoes and mosquito bites.


Mosquitoes Prefer Certain Blood Types

Myth

Although some studies have suggested mosquitoes prefer Type O blood to others, the vast majority of scientists have disregarded these findings as baseless, concluding instead that mosquitoes are fairly non-specific with their victims. For years, rumors have argued that certain types of blood—sweeter diabetic blood, for example—are more likely to attract mosquitoes, but there’s really no reputable science behind such claims. In reality, mosquitoes need the protein, not the sugar, from their hosts, and so the flavor and type of blood really makes no difference whatsoever.

 

Fair Skin Makes You More Appetizing to Mosquitoes

Myth

It’s not hard to see how this old wives’ tale probably got started: mosquito bites are much more obvious on fair skinned individuals than on those with darker skin. In fact, those with fair skin readily suffer more intense reactions to mosquito bites, too, only further complicating the issue. But, no, mosquitoes do not prefer one skin tone over another.

 

All Mosquitoes Transmit Disease

Myth

There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes on our planet, but not all target humans. Of the ones that do, only females bite, which they do in order to gain the nutrients necessary for breeding. All female mosquitoes that bite humans are capable of transmitting disease, but in reality only a small number of these individuals commonly carry disease. Some species, however—such as the tiger mosquito and marsh mosquito—are more likely to harbor disease than other types, especially when it comes to West Nile virus, yellow fever, and malaria.

 

Mosquitoes Prefer Larger People to Smaller

Fact

Research has found that mosquitoes prefer larger individuals to smaller ones, such as adults over children. But why? One way mosquitoes home in on their targets is through carbon dioxide emissions, and bigger humans simply give off more of the gas than their smaller counterparts. Heat also attracts mosquitoes, and—you guessed it—larger people also emit more warmth than smaller folks. This same logic has led some researchers to believe pregnant women might also be more attractive to mosquitoes, as they tend to give off more warmth and carbon dioxide, too.

 

Your Diet Matters

Fact

Studies have indicated that mosquitoes seem to prefer people who have more uric acid in their blood, which is increased by meat and saturated fat consumption. Other preliminary research has suggested that mosquitoes might also target individuals with higher levels of potassium and ethanol. Alcohol consumption can increase ethanol and body heat (another mosquito attractant), and studies have seemed to back up the belief that drinking alcohol makes you more appetizing to mosquitoes, too. Meat, saturated fat, alcohol—no wonder BBQs are notoriously good events for collecting mosquito bites.

 

Your Clothes Matter

Fact

While the details are uncertain, researchers believe darker colors—like black, blue and red—make you more visible to mosquitoes and therefore more likely to be targeted by them. While these colors don’t necessarily make you more attractive to mosquitoes, it’s believed that they do make it easier to find you when other modes of detection—like skin bacteria and carbon dioxide—fail.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

6 Reasons You Can Feel Good About Switching to Cedarcide

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, Why You Can Feel Good About Switching to Cedarcide

Did you know over 1 billion pounds of synthetic pesticides are used worldwide every year? Even scarier, over 95% of these chemicals end up somewhere other than their target destination—such as in oceans, forests, drinking water, our food, and inside our homes, pets, children, even breast milk! By choosing Cedarcide, you’re helping combat this worldwide problem, and taking steps toward a brighter, less chemical-dependent future. Here are 6 reasons you can feel good about switching to Cedarcide.

 

You’re Helping Protect You & Your Family

From flea collars to yard treatments to personal bug sprays, traditional pesticide use can have a serious impact on you and your family’s health, especially in the long term. Not to freak you out, but many synthetic pesticides have been linked to all of the following health conditions:

By switching to a non-toxic alternative like Cedarcide, you’re helping minimize you and your family’s pesticide exposure. Children and pregnant women stand to benefit the most from this switch. Studies show that children with parents who use chemical-based pesticides are at higher risk of behavior issues, brain damage, lower IQs and several types of childhood cancer. Because of their tendency to put their hands in their mouths and proximity to flooring (most floors are tainted with pesticides), children absorb considerably more pesticides from their environment than adults. And because of their low body weight, our kids are much more likely to be harmed by this exposure.

As public health scientist Miriam Rotkin Ellman has said, “with a pesticide it doesn’t take very much to cause effects that will stay with kid[s] for the rest of their lives.”

 

You’re Helping Pets Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Much like children, our pets are extremely vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. Unfortunately, from flea collars to yard sprays, our pets have countless opportunities for exposure. Choosing naturally sourced yard sprays and pesticides over traditional chemical-based options helps limit that exposure.

Think about it: Your pets live and play in your yard (they sometimes eat its grass, too!). Studies have shown that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides have up to a 70% higher chance of contracting potentially fatal canine malignant lymphoma. Other studies have found that bladder cancer is also associated with lawns treated with synthetic pesticides, with even indirect exposure from adjacent lawns raising your pet’s risk of this cancer. Chemical burns, gastrointestinal complications, organ failure, even death—all have been associated with use of traditional flea and tick medications. In addition to using pet-safe bug repellents, we suggest consulting a vet or holistic vet to find the healthiest flea & tick options for you and your pup.

Worried that your pet may have pesticide poisoning? Read Signs and Symptoms Your Pet has Pesticide Poisoning


You’re Not Poisoning Your Home or Yard

A big issue with traditional pesticides is that they contaminate your home and lawn with toxins. Whether used inside or not, pesticides almost always find their way indoors. Pesticides applied to your lawn, for example, are easily introduced inside via windows, vents, shoes, and even your pet’s paws. Studies have found that within a week after outdoor pesticide treatments, pesticide residues are commonly found on indoor surfaces—including flooring, kitchen countertops, and tabletops. By choosing non-toxic options like Cedarcide, you’re helping reduce the levels of pesticides both inside and outside your home, doing a big favor to the environment, wildlife, and your neighbors in the process.

 

You’re Helping Save Wildlife

Wildlife—especially marine life and birds—have been hit hard by traditional pesticide use. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, over 72 million birds die in the U.S. each year as a result of pesticide poisoning. Because many types of pesticides are bioaccumulative—meaning small, incremental exposures can can build up to toxic levels within an organism over time—they have the potential to disrupt entire food chains, affecting nearly every living thing on the planet.

But what can homeowners like you do to help minimize the impact of pesticides? A lot, actually! The average homeowner uses ten times more pesticides per acre than farmers do on industrial farmland. So in many ways, it’s in the hands of people like us to start reducing pesticide use for the sake of animals and families everywhere.

 

Your Purchases Support Good Causes

Without you we could not support the causes that inspire us! Animal welfare is one such cause essential to the Cedarcide mission. In addition to supporting animal rescues and founding the Cedarcide Horse Rescue, our team spends a great deal of their personal lives fostering and volunteering for disadvantaged cats, dogs and other animals.

Veterans, soldiers, and first responders also play a big role at Cedarcide. These real life heroes inspire us every day, which is why each year we support and participate in Dallas’ Carry the Load March. This 20-hour walk honors military service of all shapes and sizes, with proceeds benefiting corresponding charities.

 

You’re Helping the Environment

As mentioned earlier, pesticides nearly always end up somewhere other than intended. Wind, runoff, and over-application are the obvious culprits. In addition to wildlife, the environment pays the highest price for this widespread pesticide contamination. But just how extensive is pesticide pollution? According to one study by the U.S. Geological Survey, pesticides were found to contaminate every stream in the United States, and over 90% of all wells researchers tested. Unbelievable, right? By adopting non-toxic pesticides and engaging in responsible pesticide practices—like careful application and avoiding overuse—you can have a real impact on the health of your family and community.

 

What’s your favorite thing about Cedarcide? What do you most enjoy about the switch? Let us know in the comments or head over to our Facebook page and strike up a conversation!

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, What You Need to Know About Mites

What You Need to Know About Mites

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, What You Need to Know About Mites

 

What Are Mites?

There are over 48,000 species of mites. They can be found in almost every corner of the world, surviving everywhere from tropical environments to arid ecosystems, even indoors alongside humans.

Like ticks, mites are both arthropods and arachnids, but unlike ticks, not all mites are parasites. Some—like house dust mites—are scavengers, feeding off the dead skin and hair of humans. Some mites feed on mold and other plant-life. Some are symbiotic, living on the backs of insects like bees. And, yes, some are parasitic—like bird mites, rat mites and chiggers—which feed on the blood or skin of their hosts.

 

Do Mites Affect Humans?

You might be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of American homes have mites. The good news is that most mites are harmless to humans. However, there are in fact a few species that bite or pose other health risks to people. The extremely irritating skin condition scabies, for instance, is caused by an allergic reaction to the itch mite, which burrows into the skin of mammals to live and lay eggs. Mange is often the result of the same itch mite, along with another species, the Demodex mite (or eyelash mite), which infests the eyelashes of millions of people each year. The Demodex mite has also been linked to rosacea.

The most common biting mites found in the home are rat mites and bird mites. These two parasitic species prey mostly on small animals, but occasionally feed on humans too, causing dermatitis and acute itching. Another common household mite, the dust mite, is not parasitic and therefore does not bite; however, it’s a leading cause of allergies and has been found to cause asthma, too.

 


How Do You Get Mites?

The two most common biting mites—rat mites and bird mites—enter our homes through wild animals and pests. The former is typically brought into the home by a rodent, while the later finds its way in from nearby bird nests. Dust mites on the other hand live almost exclusively within homes, where they deeply embed themselves in carpets, bedding, rugs and other especially dusty surfaces. In fact, a typical mattress contains tens of thousands of these mites. Even more—around 100,000—can live in a single square foot of rug or carpet.

Perhaps most offputting of all, Demodex mites—sometimes called eyelash mites—make their home in the hair follicles and glands in and around the human eye. People with pets are particularly at risk of contracting Demodex mites, as these insect-like organisms are usually transferred to humans from dogs and cats.


What Are The Signs Of A Mite Infestation?

Because of mites’ near microscopic size, and because they vary so greatly from species to species, it’s extremely difficult to correctly identify a mite infestation. While some mites leave noticeable markings—spider mites spin webs, clover mites are recognizable by their bright red color—most mites leave little to no evidence of their existence.

In fact, the sole sign of an infestation often comes by way of the symptoms mites can cause in humans, such as skin irritation and general allergic reaction. Unless you’re able to capture a mite sample and have it identified by a professional, there’s little to no way to confirm what sort of mite infestation you may or may not be dealing with.

 

What To Do if You Have Mites

While some mites—like the mostly harmless dust mite—are all but impossible to completely eliminate from your home, troublesome biting mites are comparatively easier to treat. Rat mites and bird mites, for example, can often be solved simply by removing any small rodents, birds and bird nests from your home.

If you have mites, but are unsure of the source, fogging your entire home might be a good option for you. If you believe mites have infested your bedding or other linens, washing and drying them on a hot cycle should rid your items of any remaining mites.

Watch Cedarcide’s Fogging Tutorial Below:

 

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, causing more deaths annually than sharks, snakes, wolves, lions, crocodiles, tigers, bears and humans combined?

During the height of breeding season, Mosquitoes outnumber every other animal on the planet, except for termites and ants. Unfortunately, mosquito bites don’t affect only humans, they also affect animals like dogs, cats and horses, too.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your yard and family from mosquitoes. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these non-toxic tips to mosquito-proof your yard this mosquito season.

 

Remove Possible Breeding Sites
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The first and arguably most important step to keeping mosquitoes out of your yard is to get rid of all potential breeding areas—which primarily means removing all sources of standing water. Mosquito eggs often remain attached to receptacles even after they’ve been drained, so be sure to thoroughly clean, not just empty, all areas where water has collected. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove pet bowls, buckets, tires, unused lawn equipment—everything that easily catches rainwater
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or, better yet, empty them during mosquito season
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water
  • Frequently check A/C drip pans for standing water
  • Keep pools well-maintained
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water
  • Cover or fill hollow tree stumps and other natural water-collecting reservoirs
  • Clean and remove all blockages from gutters and storm drains
  • Check flower pots and flower pot drip trays for standing water
  • Cover all trash cans and dumpsters
  • Remove all additional clutter from your backyard, such as appliances, unused tools, sporting equipment, children’s toys—anything that can potentially hold water

 

Maintain Your Yard
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Mosquitoes love hiding in tall grass, shrubbery and damp, unkempt areas like woodpiles. Keeping your grass short and yard well-maintained is essential to mosquito control.

 

Treat Your Yard
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Treating your yard with an a non-toxic, water-soluble insect repellent, especially before outdoor activities, will significantly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in your backyard. Cedarwood chips are also a natural insect deterrent; sprinkle them throughout your yard—especially along foundations and fence lines—for additional mosquito protection.

 

Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours
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Lack of wind, sunlight and heat make dawn and dusk ideal feeding times for mosquitoes. In the U.S., mosquitoes are least likely to bite in the middle of the day, and most likely to bite just after sunset. Limiting outdoor activity—particularly in wooded, humid and shady areas—during these periods will greatly decrease the chances of being bitten. Wearing clothes that match your surroundings—darker colors at night, lighter clothing in the day—has also been shown to limit mosquito bites. Wearing closed-toe shoes helps, too.

 

Use Outdoor Fans
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Surprisingly, outdoor fans have proven effective at reducing mosquitoes and mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, body heat and body odor. Fans work by dispersing and redirecting these attractants throughout the air, diminishing not only the appearance of mosquitoes in your yard but also the likelihood of getting bitten.

 

Use Mosquito-Repelling Plants
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The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties. Place or plant them in areas where you spend the most time outside:

  • Marigolds’ distinct aroma is a natural insect repellent
  • Basil’s strong scent naturally deters mosquitoes and other insects
  • Catnip has been shown to be 10x more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET
  • Lavender, in both living and dry form, actively repels mosquitoes
  • Lemon balm attracts beneficial insects like bees, but repels mosquitoes
  • Peppermint’s smell helps drive away mosquitoes. It can also be crushed for use as an effective mosquito bite relief treatment
  • Rosemary has a long history of use as a mosquito repellent
  • Citronella’s strong smell can help mask carbon dioxide and body odor, in effect, hiding you from mosquitoes
  • Pennyroyal, both crushed and fresh, helps to repel mosquitoes

 

 

Team Up With Your Neighbors
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Regardless of how many preventative measures you take, if your neighbors don’t pitch in, they might not do any good. Managing and implementing mosquito control best practices—removing standing water, lawn care, etc—is almost always a team effort.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

Cedarcide blog post image, 8 Fascinating Flea and Tick Facts

8 Fascinating Flea and Tick Facts

Cedarcide blog post image, 8 Fascinating Flea and Tick Facts

Fleas and ticks are horrible, annoying pests. They’re hard to get rid of, hard to live with, and just downright weird. Think about: They suck your blood, so they’re basically vampires, and when you look at them under a microscope, they look like aliens or some kind of twisted mutants. Turns out, the more research you do, the stranger they get. From amazing super powers to disgusting lifestyle habits, here’s 8 fascinating flea and tick facts you might not know.

Ticks Use Glue to Stick to You

Ever wonder why ticks are so good at sticking to their hosts? The answer is glue, or something very much like it. When a tick climbs onto a host to feed, their mouth secretes a liquid-concrete-like material called cementum. This same material helps the tick create a barbed feeding tube, making them even harder to remove. A tick’s saliva also contains a numbing agent with anti-inflammatory properties, which allows the parasite to feed unnoticed.

 

Fleas and Ticks Use Your Pet Like a Toilet

Fleas and ticks create a lot of waste when they eat. And because they feed on your pet’s body, guess where all that feces goes? You guessed it: Your pet. All those tiny black dots you see in your dog’s coat right around the bite site, yeah…that’s poop. Fleas produce tons of feces for their size, so much so that it’s actually the flea larvae’s primary source of food. Tick poop, while equally gross, is far more dangerous, as it can contain bacteria that spread Lyme disease.

 

They Can Go Months Without Eating

One of the reasons fleas and ticks are so hard to control is because they’ve evolved to be extremely durable organisms. One feature of this durability is that both parasites can survive extended periods without food. Fleas are known to go up to 100 days between blood meals (flea pupae up to a year), whereas ticks are said to be capable of going several years without feeding.

 

These Parasites Carry Their Own Parasites

When fleas infest your pet’s fur, they’re bringing some nasty friends along with them. Did you know a single flea can carry upwards of 150 parasitic mites? These mites transmit everything from tapeworms and bacteria to diseases such as typhus and cat scratch fever.

Fleas Are Superhero-Quality Jumpers

We all know fleas are talented jumpers, but this is ridiculous. Not only can fleas jump over 110 times their body length (which is like a human jumping over a skyscraper), but they can jump over 30,000 times without stopping for a rest—which is just insane! Craziest of all, when a flea jumps, it accelerates 20 times faster than the launch of a space shuttle!

 

Fleas Can Lay up to 50 Eggs a Day

While 20 is more the average, it’s not uncommon for a flea to lay 50 eggs in a single day. Just think: If a female lays 50 eggs in one day, and half those eggs are females, you could be facing over 20,000 fleas in as little as 60 days. In other words, a flea infestation can get out of hand in no time.

 

Fleas Can Cause Anemia

In severe cases, a flea infestation can drain so much blood from a host that anemia can occur. This happens almost exclusively in young animals, and is quite uncommon. In rare cases, blood transfusions are necessary.

 

Tick Bites Can Turn You Into a Vegetarian

Well, sort of. In some cases, a bite from a lone star tick can trigger an allergy to red meat in both dogs and humans. Severe Itching, hives and a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction can occur in individuals suffering from this peculiar side effect. Worst of all, no one really knows how long this tick-caused allergic reaction may last.

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

10 Ways Pesticides Are Harming Your Pets

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Over 80 million pounds of chemical-based pesticides are used on American lawns & gardens every year. Sadly, pets and other animals are hit hardest by these toxic treatments. Because pets play in yards and sometimes even eat their greenery, they experience greater exposure to these poisons than most other living things. And as with children, their low body weight and size make even small accidental exposure a serious, sometimes fatal occurrence.

But just how bad and widespread is pesticide exposure in pets? In 2008, the Environmental Working Group published aPolluted Pets report to give the public a better understanding of the chemicals affecting their pets. Among the dogs tested,Urine and blood samples detected 35 different chemicals inside these pets. Most alarming of all, 20% of the chemicals were at levels over 5 times higher than those regularly seen in humans. While direct contact with pesticides through lawn & garden exposure is common for pets, our animals also receive exposure from inside our homes, as pesticides applied outdoors almost always find their way onto home surfaces, such as carpet and countertops. From cancer to intense stomach pain and mood changes, here’s 10 ways pesticides are harming your pets.

 

Vomiting & Diarrhea

In addition to slow heart rates, respiratory failure and even death, organophosphates—some of the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture—also cause intense abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress in animals. Carbamates, another common pesticide, are known to cause dizziness, convulsions, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, too; as are phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides (like 2,4-D), and pyrethroids (like Permethrin).

 

Aggression

It turns out your pets’ physical health isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. A study published by Harvard Medical School linked Organophosphates and carbamates—two common lawn & garden pesticides—with aggressive behavior in both cats and humans.


Depression

Pyrethroids—which includes common chemicals like Permethrin and Resmethrin—is another toxin that can mess with your cat or dog’s mental well-being. Not only are these chemicals possible carcinogens, they can also alter your pet’s mood and state of mind. Symptoms of poisoning include nervous system damage, hyperexcitability, tremors and even depression!

 

Blindness

One of the most common but also most toxic pesticides is snail bait. Unfortunately, this poison is also very attractive to mammals, like dogs and cats. Snail bait’s active ingredient, metaldehyde, causes seizures, excess salivation and perhaps most frightening of all, blindness.

 

Seizures

The above mentioned Pyrethroids, which are in the majority of household insecticides, are known to alter pets’ mental health. But, sadly, they can also cause muscle tremors, ataxia, anorexia and even seizures—which can in turn lead to death. Organochlorines, which constitute a large percentage of common pesticides, also cause loss of bodily control and seizures. In severe poisoning, these seizures are often uncontrollable, leading to respiratory failure and eventually death in both cats and dogs.

 

Malignant Lymphoma

Sadly, various forms of cancer are not uncommon in animals exposed to pesticides—which, unfortunately, includes many pets in the U.S. One study conducted by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that consistent exposure to chemicals commonly used by professional lawn care companies elevated the risk of fatal canine malignant lymphoma by nearly 70%.

 

Bladder Cancer

It’s not just Lymphoma you have to worry about. In a study published by the journal Science of the Total Environment it was found that dogs exposed to lawns treated with herbicides (like Roundup, for example) experience a significantly higher chance of contracting bladder cancer. Studies have found the chemicals that help cause this extremely painful type of cancer are detectable in both treated and untreated lawns. Which means even if you don’t personally treat your own yard, your pets are still likely receiving exposure blown in from other areas, like nearby parks or your neighbor’s yard.

 

Liver Cancer

A particularly nasty and quite common inorganic pesticide, Allethrin, has been linked with increased risk of liver cancer in dogs. A synthetic copy of a naturally occurring botanical insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers, Allerthrin is used in many yards throughout America to kill and prevent flies, mosquitoes and other flying insects.

 

Birth Defects

Your fur babies aren’t the only ones facing harm due to pesticide exposure—their babies are, too. The Environmental Working Group (or, the EWG) found that dogs commonly test positive for phthalates at levels up to 5 times that of the average human. This chemical compound found in plastics, perfumes, food containers, makeup and pesticides is believed to cause, among other issues, birth defects in newly born puppies and kittens.

 

Reproductive Problems

The same EWG report cited above, linked phthalates not just to birth defects in pets, but to all kinds of reproductive issues also—a side effect perhaps more cruel than even death.

 
 

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Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are among the the largest ants in the United States, measuring up to 20 mm—or roughly Ÿ of an inch. Most often black but sometimes red or yellow, carpenter ants live both indoors and outdoors, nesting inside moist, decaying wood (like old tree trunks, or rotting wooden boards in human structures). While they burrow and colonize inside wooden materials like termites, unlike termites, they do not consume wood. Instead, their diet is like that of other ants, consisting mostly of sweet foods and meats.

Because they do not eat wood, carpenter ants are not nearly as damaging to homes as termites. However, if given enough time, a highly developed and mature colony can cause extensive damage to nearly any wooden structure. With queens living up to 25 years, it’s not hard to imagine how costly a carpenter ant colony couble be to a homeowner. If you’re seeing these little carpenters crawling throughout your home or looking to prevent an infestation before it takes hold, here’s 10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants.

 

Prevention

Prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple guidelines to keep carpenter ants out of your home.

  • Keep your home clean—particularly the kitchen, flooring, windowsills and countertops. Without a food source, ants will have no reason to enter your home.
  • Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and residues (Tip: wipe off all those jam, sauce and honey containers).
  • Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Take the trash out regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
  • Any spilled food should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices and holes—all potential ant entrances—with caulk or other sealant.
  • Remove or remedy all sources of unnecessary moisture both inside and outside your home, including: leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces, A/C units, hoses, faucets, sprinklers, clogged drainage areas, etc
  • Remove possible nesting spaces from your yard, such as: woodpiles, wooden yard equipment, brush, dead or dying trees & tree strumps, unused dog houses, furniture, and any other possibly  moist, wooden items.
  • Keep tree limbs and branches away from the walls of your home. Carpenter ants use these as bridges to enter your home.
  • Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home.

 

Find The Nest

The most effective methods for ridding yourself of carpenter ants all involve locating and treating their nests directly. Carpenter ants nest in moist, decaying wood. These nests can be located either inside or outside the home, and unless you actually follow the trailing ants back to their origin, it’s not always easy to determine which. However, in general, if you find carpenter ants inside your home during late winter or early spring, chances are the colony is located indoors. Here’s some tips for locating a carpenter ant colony:

  • Look for frass. Frass is finely ground wood debris that resembles sawdust. It’s the result of carpenter ants boring into wood to build their nests. If you see this in your home, the carpenter ants are somewhere inside.
  • Damaged wood on or within walls, doors, cabinets, and wood beams is a good indicator of an indoor colony. Look specifically for sandpaper-smooth carpenter ant galleries and holes.
  • Place attractants like dog food, jam or other sweets where you most commonly spot carpenter ants. Using their trail, attempt to find the location of their nest.
  • If you have woodpiles or other wooden debris inside or just outside your home, check them thoroughly—the ant colony could be inside.

 

Boiling Water

If you were able to find the carpenter ant nest (and it was located outdoors), this natural method is a way to attack the ant colony directly. It’s simple: boil a few liters or more of water and then pour it directly into the nest (this can be dangerous, so please exercise extreme caution). Adding a natural and water-soluble insecticide, essential oils, or soap to the boiled water will make this approach even more effective. You may have to repeat this process two to three times to completely eliminate the colony.

 

Sugar and Baking Soda Bait

A simple and natural carpenter ant bait can be made by mixing equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. Strategically place this mixture in shallow dishes in the locations with the most ant traffic. These can also be placed outside, particularly near doors and windows. The sugar in the mixture attracts the ants, while the baking soda naturally kills them (for chemical reasons, baking soda is deadly to ants).

 

Essential Oils

Like most ants, carpenter ants use pheromone trails for navigation and communication—it’s also how they find food. Essential oils can be used to disrupt these trails, which ultimately disorients and deters ants. Lemongrass, peppermint, clove, cedarwood, tea tree, orange and lemon oil are all effective.

Dampen a cotton ball or kitchen towel with an essential oil of your choosing. Use this to wipe windowsills, baseboards, the perimeters of countertops, door frames, and any potential entry points. Repeat daily until ant population disappears. Your chosen oil can also be diluted with a carrier oil to create a natural ant-killing spray.

 

Soap & Water

A simple mixture of soap and water is toxic to carpenter ants. Mix one part natural dish soap to two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray as needed to kill ants and eliminate their pheromone trails. Continue to treat problem areas until the ants no longer return.

 

Diatomaceous Earth

Made from crushed algae fossils, Diatomaceous Earth is a well known natural pesticide. This abrasive material damages the exoskeleton of ants that come into contact with it, eventually killing them. Spread DE throughout ant problem areas and directly on the colony’s nest if possible. Diatomaceous Earth is especially effective for combatting carpenter ants, which regularly die from consuming it.

 

Non-toxic Insecticides—Both Indoor and Outdoor

All natural, over-the-counter insecticides are often the easiest and most effective option for completely eliminating a carpenter ant colony. The best approach is to treat both outside and inside your home. Non-toxic indoor insecticides can be used as both a repellent and a contact killer. Naturally sourced outdoor insecticides also work as both deterrents and spot killers. For best results, apply non-toxic outdoor pesticides alongside fence lines and your home’s foundation; this will create a repellent barrier to keep ants from entering your home. Treating your entire yard will help to eliminate any active outdoor carpenter ant colonies.

 

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is an extremely effective natural carpenter ant deterrent. It disrupts their pheromone trails and the smell prevents them from returning. Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water to vinegar in a spray bottle (both apple cider and white vinegar will do). Shake the solution and then spray along baseboards, door frames, window sills, countertops, and directly on the nest if possible. Repeat the process daily or as needed to repel carpenter ants. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and multi-surface cleaner—so feel free to use the spray liberally.

 

Cinnamon & Cinnamon Oil

Not unlike the previously mentioned essential oils and vinegar, cinnamon and cinnamon oil deter ants by interfering with their pheromone trails. Dispense the cinnamon in whatever form throughout ant problem areas and directly on the nest if possible. When used around windowsills, baseboards, near doors and alongside countertops, cinnamon helps prevent carpenter ants from entering your home.


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What You Need to Know About Chiggers + How to Get Rid of Them

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What Are Chiggers and What Do They Look Like?

Red bugs, mower’s mites, berry bugs, harvest bugs, chiggers—the arachnids scientifically known as trombiculidae mites go by many names. Ranging in size from 0.3mm to 0.4mm (1/60 of an inch), chiggers are nearly microscopic organisms known for their extremely itchy “bites.” Most active during spring, summer and fall, chiggers have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. But only the larval stage individuals—in other words, the babies—are parasitic.

Found in moist vegetation worldwide (like grassy lawns, bushes and forests), these red-orange mites attach themselves to a host—a reptile, rabbit, insect, or human for example—in order to feed on their skin. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not bite or burrow into their hosts; instead, they inject digestive enzymes into their host’s skin in order to create a hole from which they can feed. After sucking up this liquified skin meal, the baby chigger drops to the ground, where it matures into its next life stage.


What Do Chigger “Bites” Look Like?

Appearing 6-48 hours after the chigger has fed, chigger “bites” consist of red bumps infamous for their intense itchiness. These irritating lesions usually occur in clusters in or around areas where skin and clothing are in close proximity—like the waist, ankles, armpits, crotch-area and back. While the first several days are the worst, these bumps can persist for weeks, even months in a milder form.


How Do You Prevent Chigger “Bites?”

Like with mosquitos and ticks, you need to use a repellent when venturing into chigger territory. Because of the toxicity of traditional bug sprays, we recommend using only non-toxic pesticides & repellents. For the sake of your pet’s well-being, treat them to repel chiggers, too. For additional protection, we recommend wearing long clothing when walking in suspected chigger areas, being sure to tuck pants into socks, and shirt into pants. After returning from these areas, bathe immediately in warm, soapy water. All possibly infested clothing should be promptly washed in warm/hot water, too.

 

How Do You Get Chiggers?

This a two part question: (1) How does one get bitten by chiggers? And (2) How do chiggers get into our lawns. Walking through a wooded area, tall grass or weeds, or on lawns not treated with pesticides, is how most people pick up their first chigger “bites”. This is also a common way chigger populations are introduced into our yards, as chiggers readily hitch a ride on our clothing only to be dropped somewhere near our homes. Other common hosts such as rodents, turtles, small birds, and more also contribute to the spread of chiggers—which is why a regular outdoor pest-control regimen is encouraged during the warmer seasons.


What To Do If You Have Chiggers

If you fear chiggers have invaded your lawn & garden, or if you want to prevent them from doing so in the first place, you’ll need to treat your lawn with an naturally sourced outdoor pest control solution. In the heavy chigger months between spring and fall, we recommend treating your entire yard at least once per month to help keep your home and lawn chigger-free.

 

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