This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 27, 2013

Controlling mosquitos, and other insects, in The Tropical Paradise

Living in a tropical paradise is great. But being surrounded by insects, especially mosquitos, is not. And if your garden is inviting to humans, it will be inviting to insects. So it's important to keep an eye on the guest list, especially at this time of year, when there has been rain.

What insects want mostly is water, which your garden provides, even if just in droplets on the surface of your plants. You don't need a "green pool" to attract mosquitos! And once you have water, you have more insects, and some of these insects eat other insects, or drink your blood (yuk!).  So for my small part of planet earth I have a very strict policy! Sorry, bugs!

What I do is to take a pump spray can fill it with a gallon of water and add 1 and one half ounces of "Ortho Bug B Gon". No, they don't pay me to advertise their product, I wish they did. But it works great. And if you're a neighbor of mine and you use it, and use it correctly, I will be very grateful to you.

If you go to Home Depot and just look for the red bottle and the misseplling of "be" and "gone", that's it. The correct dose is the cap. I have been using it here at The Tropical Paradise for many years and it works great. Yes, it kills all bugs, and that includes crickets, and spiders. No, I have no real objection to crickets and spiders, I just don't like the noise of crickets at 3 am, nor do I like the look of spider webs all over the garden. It is non-selective and in addition to killing on contact (the cricket there on the right just managed to step into the photo to go aaaaarrrrgghhh!), it has an ingredient to make it cling to surfaces, like leaves, to keep the poison active for a long time.

Yes, it's poison. Wash your hands after handling it. Don't chew on the leaves of plants and don't let your dog do it, either. It's kind'a smelly so you know that it's there. When the smell goes away, hopefully the bugs will, too. I do it several times a year, especially after a rain.

What I have learned about gardening is that it really takes a killer instinct. Killing weeds! Killing bugs! Cutting plants back! My view of the "kindly little old ladies" tending to their gardens has changed. You have to be brave!

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