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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    My sister-in-law used to ride horses up at Big South Fork which has a big problem with ticks in warm weather. She used baby powder around pant cuffs and waist line. Come to find out that there was a carcinogenic ingredient in the powder. Arsenic? Maybe that's why it worked.

    When picking blackberries I use Gold Bond at cuff and waist line and deet on shoes. Hopefully Gold Bond doesn't prove to be hazardous.

    Best defense at home is having a flock of Guinea fowl as they eat ticks.

    On the trail I agree with Illabelle, repellent only as a last resort. The first choice is Lemon Eucalyptus but only if bugs get totally intolerable. I always carry a head net but have not been able to sleep wearing it. If it's warm enough for mosquitoes to fly at night the bug net is too hot to wear sleeping.
    A better approach is dusting ONLY FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth(DE) on cuffs and waist line. Some dog breeders sprinkle a bit into feed for dogs to detoxify internal parasites and sprinkle on coats and around bending to control fleas and ticks rather than apply chemicals. I use it in my home and garden to control cockroaches, fire ants, fleas, ticks, slugs, snails, sow bugs, and earwigs. If dust brushed on clothing around insect pts of entry it has to be used in dry weather.

  2. #22

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    A 2 lb FOOD GRADE bag of DE is about $10. Unless having to routinely apply in rainy weather it has been much less expensive in the garden and around the home than liquid or granular insect and slug bait controls bought at H.D., Lowes, Ace, or AG supply stores. I'm much more inclined to rec DE around children's playgrounds and edible gardens than any other commercial insect controls for fire ant control. It has saved me much money on insect controls on commercial owned properties compared to hiring Orkin or other likewise chemical approached insect control companies. I know of some horse owners who use it as well. It has been a godsend to controlling slugs and snails on hosts, and leafy vegetable garden greens. I'll use with a deep saucer of beer for slug and snail controls rather than much more expensive slug and snail baits. I find some rodents aren't fond of crossing a line of it either.

  3. #23
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    My sister-in-law used to ride horses up at Big South Fork which has a big problem with ticks in warm weather. She used baby powder around pant cuffs and waist line. Come to find out that there was a carcinogenic ingredient in the powder. Arsenic? Maybe that's why it worked.

    When picking blackberries I use Gold Bond at cuff and waist line and deet on shoes. Hopefully Gold Bond doesn't prove to be hazardous.

    Best defense at home is having a flock of Guinea fowl as they eat ticks.

    On the trail I agree with Illabelle, repellent only as a last resort. The first choice is Lemon Eucalyptus but only if bugs get totally intolerable. I always carry a head net but have not been able to sleep wearing it. If it's warm enough for mosquitoes to fly at night the bug net is too hot to wear sleeping.
    Big South Fork is the worst place for ticks that I've seen. I remember one little afternoon hike on a wide recently mowed/cleared path near Burnt Mill Bridge. Daughter and I got back to the vehicle, looked at our legs, and saw scores of the little boogers crawling around. I don't like to exaggerate, but it might have been a few hundred between the two of us. Yikes! We hightailed it back to Knoxville (still a good hour away) and used a combination of duct tape, scrubbing, and scraping to remove them. NEVER want to see that again!

    By the way, we do have guineas at home. Let's start a discussion about establishing feral guinea colonies up and down the AT corridor, shall we?

  4. #24

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    Have been to BSF three times two times for taking the two different Sheltowee routes in late summer and the other time fall. Have you ever been the NJ Pinelands Preserve? Ticks love sucking on deer, harboring in pines, and intermittent underbrush like overgrown grass edges. This described the PR. PR and southern NJ has abundance of ticks. I've gone out in shorts in summer. Within 20 mins I had at least 30 ticks on my bottom half crawling and already burrowing into those warm nether regions, a real Space Invaders situation. Worse are when the seed ticks are in abundance which look like small poppy seeds or pepper flakes some almost imperceptible to the naked eye. Much worse than anything I've experienced in BSF during those seasons. i wouldn't do the Batona Tr without strong tick prevention!

  5. #25
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Seed ticks are nightmare material. Once stepped into a nest of them. When I checked my itching fight foot I lost count at fifty plus of the little buggers attached just to my foot. I had to use a knife to scrape them off.

    Dogwood
    Thanks for the tip for Diatomaceous earth.

    Illabelle

    The might be an issue with non native guinea fowl. BTW aren't they the most stupid bird in the barn lot or are the ones I have inbred?

  6. #26

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    DE use is great sprinkled around the bases of hostas(not hosts) on the ground for snails and slugs which these creepers love to munch. As an aside there are hosta cvs with good slug resistance.

  7. #27
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    Seed ticks are nightmare material. Once stepped into a nest of them. When I checked my itching fight foot I lost count at fifty plus of the little buggers attached just to my foot. I had to use a knife to scrape them off.
    Dogwood
    Thanks for the tip for Diatomaceous earth.
    Illabelle
    The might be an issue with non native guinea fowl. BTW aren't they the most stupid bird in the barn lot or are the ones I have inbred?
    Haha! Stupid? Yes they are. Inbred? That too (at least mine are). But wondering... What if the diseases the ticks are carrying aren't native? Can't we introduce a non-native bird to prey on a carrier pest of a non-native disease?

    Not much chance the guineas would survive predation anyway. Nesting on the ground for a full month is dangerous. On the other hand, surely quail and grouse and other native US birds would eat ticks too, right? Maybe they do but their population is insufficient.

    Dogwood, I'll have to try some of your DE tricks. I recently bought some blue hostas. Would hate to see slugs chewing them up.

  8. #28
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Sorry for the drift.

    But fire ants are becoming more of a problem locally. In fact I'm going to try the DE on a colony that just moved into my yard. Are fire ants known to inhabit the southern parts of the AT or the Pinhoti? I would hate to set up a tent on a mound of them.

    Wasps haven't been mentioned. Hornet nests can usually be spotted and avoided but yellow jackets are another thing altogether. I think yellow jackets in late summer or fall present a bigger danger than poisonous snakes. There was a fatality recently in GSMNP attributed to bee stings. I'm not sure if the victim was alergic.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    Sorry for the drift.

    But fire ants are becoming more of a problem locally. In fact I'm going to try the DE on a colony that just moved into my yard. Are fire ants known to inhabit the southern parts of the AT or the Pinhoti? I would hate to set up a tent on a mound of them.

    Wasps haven't been mentioned. Hornet nests can usually be spotted and avoided but yellow jackets are another thing altogether. I think yellow jackets in late summer or fall present a bigger danger than poisonous snakes. There was a fatality recently in GSMNP attributed to bee stings. I'm not sure if the victim was alergic.
    Fireant mounds are hard to find in the Southern Appalachian mountains along backpacking trails---as they like disturbed soils and are frequently found along roads and in yards. I don't think I've ever seen a actual fireant mound on any of the trails I hike . . . . although I may be mis-remembering. And to set a tent on top of a fireant nest would be nearly impossible---or require the IQ of about 10.

    On the other hand, black carpenter ants are a real pest and many southern campsites have swarms of them investigating everything. On my last trip to Tate Gap on the BMT I set up camp on an old logging cut and had hundreds of the things crawling everywhere. Another good reason to have an enclosed tent and not an open tarp. These black ants can chew thru a ziploc bag, btw.

    We have two types of hornets in the Southeast that present a problem to backpackers---White Face hornets and the mentioned yellow jackets.

    The bigger white face hornets build paper nests usually exposed and hanging off a tree---I was on the Sycamore Creek trail recently and set up camp near one of their active nests---which was right on the trail.

    But in my experience these guys are MUCH LESS aggressive than Yellow Jackets---even though I've been stung by these guys over the years---but a fraction of the times I've been hit by yellow jackets.


    Here's a typical yellow jacket nest on the Jenkins Meadow trail in the Kilmer wilderness---and recently dug out by a bear. Thing is, a careful hiker can often spot active yellow jacket nests by eyeballing the trail ahead and looking for their holes---and then pulling a detour.


    Here's another good example of a partially opened yellow jacket nest---spot it first and make a detour and avoid a slew of stings.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    Apple cider vinegar https://www.lifehack.org/318061/12-r...ider-vinegarap

    Note:note,I am not man enough to drink the stuff so I take it in capsule form twice a day.I get it at Botanic Choice.
    Since I have started taking ACV,tumeric,and a B multivitamin daily the mosquitoes leave me alone.My arthritis is better and my cholesterol has gone down considerably.I do treat my clothes with permethrin.I suspect that the capsules repel critters other than mosquitoes but I can attest that it works for me.In summer I will carry some Repel Lemon Eucalptus just in case but I hardly ever use it and if I do it will go on my hat or bandana around my neck.
    Five Tango... Iím curious and the ACV sounds promising. If you had an upcoming hike planned, how many days prior would you begin taking the capsules? Secondly, how do you incorporate turmeric? Powder? Given that this combination also relieves some arthritis, I might assume you do everything regularly, hiking or not.

    Thanks.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  11. #31

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    I was wondering about the details too so glad GolfHiker asked.

  12. #32

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    Permethrine has done a fine job of repelling most insects for me - but I'm one of those people who use the farm grade stuff with the chemical smell.
    .
    A warning for deet users. The 100% or similar strength deet can melt/ damage nylon. Tents, pants, fishing line, etc.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    Sorry for the drift.

    But fire ants are becoming more of a problem locally. In fact I'm going to try the DE on a colony that just moved into my yard. Are fire ants known to inhabit the southern parts of the AT or the Pinhoti? I would hate to set up a tent on a mound of them.
    I did encounter fire ants on the PT. As TW said not so much on the AT although that does not mean they dont exist there.

  14. #34
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    The established fire ant colonies make tall mounds. I've be seeing them beside the road first a half mile from my house, next year a few hundred yards away. Now there is a small bare spot in my yard, no mound. No ants visible, but if the dirt is disturbed dozens of ants suddenly appear. So it not be far fetched to come in at dusk or during a rain and plop down a tent then it get swarmed.

  15. #35

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    I've tarped extensively under a A frame cat cut or MLD SoloMid XL but mostly cowboy on 30" x 84" untreated polycro or Tyvek, during warm weather using a quilt throughout the southern states other than LA and MS. It's rare I get bit by red or black imported fire ants. I get bitten more by very tiny black ants with tiny gentler but still annoying bites but that's still quite rare. I'm not up on ant identification but I don't think these are the same teensy speedy ants that go after food on a kitchen counter which dont seem to bite. I encounter more acrobat and carpenter ants on hikes which will bite if highly agitated. I've found this out as it's my style to often cozy up to the base of trees where it functions as a back rest where ants and sometimes centipedes, millipedes, roaches, termites, mice, voles, even snakes, etc burrow and caterpillars or other insects can drop from overhead. Other than flies, midges and mosquitos I've been bitten prolly most by spiders while sleeping on hikes which have personally resulted in physical problems. These occurrences are lessened by perusing sleep sites pre pack explosion and lay me down to sleep. In FL especially(for fire ants) or in tick infested locals I find treating a Tyvek ground cloth with permethrin beneficial.

    @rmitchell Apply the DE lightly on a fire ant mound extending outwards of the entire mound encircling the entire circumference if you have limited infestation. This is a targeted application approach for a specific unwanted insect. It is more a IPM(Integrated Pest Management ) approach rather than applying indiscriminately as is common in the landscape maintenance industry. I may, in rarer very heavy situations put in a broadcast spreader applying at a very light setting for lighter apps. I take this approach as a last option though as it can also kill beneficials, a result not desired. Do so when ground is dry and no rain in the forecast.

    To be clear I don't focus extensively on commercial or residential landscape maintenance, organic or otherwise. I'm not an entomologist either although have taken Hort Ent I yrs ago and attained some certifications like IPM, NALP, FNGLA, several state Master Gardener certs, etc largely as a byproduct of being a Landscape Designer/APLD member and Horticulturalist - all around plant and design geek in laymen terms. I state all this as we have to be careful what we read on the net as advisory.

  16. #36
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    Default Let’s Talk Insects

    I live in a fire ant hot spot of NC. usually get one or two bites a year and I have very bad reactions to them (extreme swelling). The mounds in the grass are pretty easy to spot and avoid. Most of my bites are from cleaning up leaves in the yard. I don't see the ants foraging under a pile of leaves and by the time I know they're there, it is too late. If you're looking for a sleeping spot in an area where you suspect fire ants, definitely look for hard packed bare ground and don't clear leaf piles by hand.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  17. #37
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I take this approach as a last option though as it can also kill beneficials.
    . I state all this as we have to be careful what we read on the net as advisory.
    This.++

    Thanks. I compost on a fairly large scale and vegetable garden organically as much as possible. I think you ate correct about ants there are a lot of different varieties, some more aggressive than others.

  18. #38
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Tipi

    I suspect the yellow jacket nest in your photo was dug out by a skunk. Had it been a bear the hole would have been more the size of a trash can.

    The undisturbed yellow jacket holes that I've seen are not much bigger than the diameter of an index finger. Hard to spot. Most of my stings hiking have been on the calf so it's probably the nest is behind me by then. I've learned not to stop if stung, but to put some distance from the site. Then dig out the Benadryl.

    I've also been stung on the hands while brushing. To get a better grip on the swing blade I don't wear gloves if it is warm. Carefully watch for the holes that are typically on slope where the trail is cut into the side hill. If I hear buzzing--run!

  19. #39

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    After trying pretty much everything over the years, I agree on DEET being the only thing that really works. I use those little 2oz spray bottles from the travel section at WalMart to "repackage" it from larger containers.

    I'm not a fan of insect repellant in general, but most of my hiking is in AL and TN, so ticks, mosquitoes and getting swarmed by gnats are just facts of life about 7 months out of the year. I always wear long pants, and usually a long sleeve nylon shirt over a synthetic T, even in the hottest weather, only spraying my ankles, wrists and neck.
    Kind of ironic, but since neither heat nor cold bothers me much(but love to be cold), that means I wear the same clothing most of the time. I may have my sleeves rolled up or just wear the t-shirt at 40F, yet have the sleeves down and a Buff covering my ears in the 90s.
    Stupid bugs...

  20. #40

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    FB_IMG_1551624403879.jpg
    When you know the bugs are really bad. Hate headnets, but I'll go there, especially for night hiking.

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