Wednesday, December 30, 2009

White Tail Spiders Biting

Hello, I trust you all had a good Christmas and you are looking forward to a great New Year. I thought I would write one last blog for 2009.
White Tail SpiderI took a look at what subject is currently bringing most people to the Kiwicare website for advice. That subject is most certainly White Tail spiders and their bites.
There is some controversy over the bite of the White Tail and how serious it can be. There is no doubt that White Tail spiders do bite humans and that the bite is painful. But there are reports from many people that they have been bitten by a White Tail and the result has been ulceration of the site of the bite (see the Recommended Forum for examples). I am not sure whether the spider bite, infection of the bite site or some other cause is responsible for these necrotic ulcers but I am sure it makes sense to get rid of White Tail spiders from your house.
A month ago I was embarrassed to have a White Tail spider drop from my living room ceiling during the visit of some friends. I remembered I had not yet treated the house to prevent White Tails and flies annoying me over the summer. The next day I made up some NO Bugs Super and sprayed all the nooks and crannies where spiders and other creepy crawlies hide; skirtings, hot tank cupboard, behind furniture, wardrobe, ceiling fittings, roof voids etc. With the rest of the residual surface spray I went around the outside of the house and sprayed the eaves, gutters, window frames and sills, vents, downpipes and anywhere else other spiders form webs.
Within a week I found more than a dozen dead White Tail spiders around the house, one in a pair of shoes. I am glad I had not put my foot in the shoe while the spider was alive.
If you have not already, I suggest you treat your house to prevent any painful encounters with White Tails. For more advice go to the spider page of the Kiwicare website.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plague of Locusts

Christmas is almost upon us and with the cooking of turkeys all over the world there is the increased risk of infestations of turkey locusts.

Turkey locusts can be identified by bright crowns on the top of the head. The crowns are papery in nature and can be of many different colours. Some locusts have also been known to have fluffy red and white caps, it is thought that these might be King locusts known as Santas.

Infestations are most likely on Christmas Day but it has been known for infestations to break out sporadically coming up to Christmas; often where work colleagues gather at restaurants and hotels. After Christmas the locusts are likely to linger on for Boxing Day and the next few days, all the way to New Year. But after Christmas Day the locusts tend to become slow and can often be seen to wobble when walking and many are not able to walk at all.

Turkey locusts are hard to get rid of and they are likely to consume large quantities food of all sorts, not just turkey. They may also consume large quantities of liquids containing ethanol. It is advisable to keep such liquids locked away and only bring them out after checking the house thoroughly for any signs of locusts. Locust infestations are liable to spread rapidly, particularly between close friends and families. Locusts often travel from one home to another, only moving on when there is no more food or ethanol available.

The best way to prevent locusts infesting your home is not to have any food or ethanol in your home to attract them. However this makes for a sad Christmas so I suggest metamorphosing into a locust yourself and find a suitable home or homes to infest. I have found the best opportunities for infestation are family and friends.

Kiwicare wishes you a very Merry Christmas whether you are a locust or you are having an infestation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are found throughout the world and are becoming more common in New Zealand. They are found particularly where there is a large turnover of visitors; places such as backpackers, hotels and motels etc., but you are also at risk in your home.
Bed Bugs hiding in the seams behind a bed headBed Bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on our blood. They are attracted to the food source (us) by body heat and carbon dioxide from in our breath. They feed by using their hypodermic like mouth parts to penetrate skin and suck up the blood. They then inject you with saliva containing anaesthetic and anti-coagulant proteins to stop your blood clotting. It is these proteins that cause itchy reactions and the raised bite marks that you might wake with.
The Bed Bug is wingless and slow moving it is therefore likely to be found near to where the host sleeps; in the mattress or bed frame, behind wallpaper and in furniture. They will hide in spaces behind skirting, the seams of mattresses, curtains, furniture etc.

Because they can ingest up to seven times their body weight in blood in one feed, they can survive long periods without feeding. After mating takes place, Bed Bugs will lay up to 200 eggs. The nymphs that hatch out are miniature versions of the adult. There is no larval stage. The nymphs will moult several times over a period of 6-18 months before becoming an adult.
Bed Bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of because they hide so well. There is also some evidence that they have become resistant to some insecticides, but they can be controlled with thoroughness and persistence.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Control of bed bugs requires a four pronged attack.
  1. Control of bed bugs requires very thorough examination and treatment of all the possible places where they might hide. Check around seams of mattresses, bed base, bed heads, curtains and other furniture. Also check around the edges of carpets, behind skirting, edges of wallpaper and picture frames and in all other crevices within the room and adjacent rooms. Bed Bugs leave tell-tale blackened smears of blood which look like ticks made with a black pen.
  2. Carefully collect all bedding from the room and place in a plastic bag for transport to your washing machine, being careful to make sure no insects are dropped on the way. If possible wash the clothes in a hot wash.
  3. Spray all areas where signs of infestation are found and all cracks crevices and seams with NO Fleas Total. This product contains a residual insecticide and a growth regulator which will help prevent young Bed Bugs reaching maturity and continuing the life cycle.
  4. Release NO Bugs Borafume Fumigators (2 for an average sized room). The fumigant produced will kill adult bed bugs and penetrate into areas that cannot be treated directly. Lean the bed mattress and bed base upright against a wall in the room to improve exposure to the vapour.
  5. If the Bed Bug infestation has become established it may be necessary to repeat this treatment. Always follow the instructions on the products carefully.
The keys to controlling bed bugs are thorough searching for their hiding places and persistence.

A bed bug walks into a bar and says to the bartender. "A Bloody Mary please."
The bartender says. Do you want a straw with that?"
The bed bug replies. "No. I brought my own. But can you spit in it for me?"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pest control is different in New Zealand

"Pest control is different in New Zealand." This might seem to be a strange statement but it is a statement from my own experience. In most parts of the world pest control or pest management is about preventing or eradicating nuisance pests; rats in the roof, ants in the pantry, borer in the floor, weeds in the lawn and other things that annoy us at home or at work. When I worked in the UK and Ireland these pests are what pest management was all about.

All this is true in New Zealand too. There all the problems with nuisance pests, but in New Zealand there is an additional level of pest control. The control of invasive pests that damage the unique natural environment of New Zealand. Possums, rats, rabbits, stoats, gorse, broom,.....................

This extra level of complexity to pest control in New Zealand is exciting. Helping to eradicate or control possums, rats, Argentine ants etc. to protect the natural environment is a much more positive and 'green' (if I can use that word) occupation than just stopping a nuisance. Kiwicare is involved in this part of the pest control industry as a manufacturer and supplier of many products which assist in the control of many of these pests; NO Possums long life baits, rodenticides, herbicides etc. Kiwicare is proud to be a sponsor of the NZBI.

The New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI) is an organisation made up of those involved in or interested in the protection of NZ's biosecurity and biodiversity. I am a member of this organisation, we are an incorporated society with membership open to anyone interested in biosecurity issues. We organise activities on a local and national basis and produce a quarterly magazine. Come and join us and help us keep New Zealand the beautiful and natural place it is.

A rabbit walks into a bar and orders a beer.
When the beer comes he raises the glass and says "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeers!"
"Why the long eeeears?" asks the girl behind the bar.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lawn Care

Have you noticed how green the hills still are at this time of the year? There has been plenty of moisture to keep the grass growing. The same is the case for our lawns. They are looking green and lush with good continued growth. This means that it is a good time to use selective weed killer like Kiwicare's Turfclean weed killer for getting rid of the weeds in the lawn and feeding the lawn with a good organic liquid fertilizer such as Kiwicare's new BioGro certified Organic Fertiliser.

Whether it is weeds, moss, fungal disease like red thread, grass grub, or poor soil health Kiwicare has a range of products to help you solve the problem and keep your lawn green and lush.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are Caterpillars Eating Your Vegetables?

White Butterfly CaterpillarsAre caterpillars eating your lovely fresh growing veges? And you don't want to spray the veges with 'nasty' chemicals? Well Kiwicare have just launched their new Organic NO Caterpillars product.

BioGro LogoBioGro Certified Organic NO Caterpillars controls pest insect caterpillars and other leaf eating larvae on fruit, vegetables and ornamentals. It is safe to handle, does not affect the plants or beneficial insect species but is deadly to plant damaging caterpillars when used as directed. It will control all types of caterpillars including leafroller, looper and white butterfly as well as diamond back moth larvae, tomato fruitworm, and fall webworm. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees are not harmed.

Best of all there is no withholding period when Organic NO Caterpillars is used so you won't have to stop eating your veges while the product does its work.

What was inscribed on the caterpillar's headstone?
REST IN PEAS

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pantry Moth

Pantry Moth adult
Pantry Moth is a generic term used for several species of moth that can infest the dried goods found in our pantries. The small grey/brown adult moths may be seen fluttering around the kitchen but it is their larvae that infest the food. The first thing you might notice is some webbing around your flour, cereals, whole grains, spices, pet food etc.

There are pantry moth traps that will catch some of the adult moths and hopefully stop them laying their eggs on the food. But the moths lay up to 200 eggs per day so it may have laid eggs before getting caught in the trap. A better method of prevention is to make sure your vulnerable foods are kept in sealed containers such as Tupperware.

If you already have an infestation. You need to examine all your dried goods and dispose of any that are or could be infested. Seal the affected food in a plastic bag and remove the dustbin. Then remove all food and food utensils from the pantry and cupboards. Wipe down all surfaces with water and detergent and allow to dry. Then lightly spray or wipe NO Bugs Super over all surfaces and allow to dry thoroughly before replacing the food and utensils.
A treatment such as this will clear any moths or larvae that might remain and give protection for at least 3 months.

What do you call a young female moth?
A myth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weed Work for Cray

I spent a couple of hours yesterday (Sunday) working with a group of volunteers from Weedbusters and NZ Biosecurity Institute Canterbury Branch pulling and cutting broom from the heads between Taylor's Mistake and Nicholson Park. This is a project to remove the invasive weeds and replant with natives along this part of the coast. The project is run and inspired by the ever energetic Keith Briden of DoC.

The project received funding for the purchase of native plants and more than half of these have already been planted. This has required a lot of hard work on the part of Keith and his volunteers. First weeds have to be cut out or sprayed and patches where natives are to be planted sprayed. Kiwicare has donated and subsidised Glyphosate and Buster for this work. Then holes are dug and selected plants planted. But the work does not stop there. The weeds need to be kept under control around the plantings and because the areas are exposed dry hillsides the plants will need watered over the hot summer months. With about 3000 plants planted so far this is a lot of work.

Yesterday's two hours of labour were well rewarded. Keith is a keen (as mustard) cray and paua fisherman and put on a bbq of paua patties and heaps of cray at his house to celebrate the work so far and the coming Christmas break. Thank you Keith and all the volunteers that have helped during this project.

If you should wish to help in this project contact me by clicking here and I will put you in touch with Keith or the Weedbusters team.

What is the worst drink to have after working for Weedbusters?
Herby cider.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Did you watch Campbell Live?

If you did watch Campbell Live last night? If so Kiwicare would be very interested to hear what you thought of the piece and if you would use natural organic insect repellent like the Kiwicare Safari Organic Insect Repellent Wipes.
Many Thanks

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Campbell Live Tests Insect Repellents

BioGro Certified Organic Insect Repellent
TV3's Campbell Live program tonight at 7.00pm is to report on tests done on various insect repellents. The Kiwicare Safari Organic Insect Repellent Wipes are among the natural products tested.

This follows a Consumer Magazine report that found, unsurprisingly, that repellents containing the repellent chemical known as DEET such as Kiwicare's Safari Roll-on or Safari Stick are effective for the longest and should be used when travelling in areas where insect borne diseases such as malaria or dengue fever are a risk.

Of the natural products tested not containing DEET or any other synthetic chemical the Organic Safari Wipes were found to give the best protection and "repelled the mozzies well for a short time after application" and "you need to reapply it regularly" Kiwicare suggests hourly.

What to do this weekend

The weekend is almost upon us. Christmas is coming and many of you will be out doing your Christmas shopping. I will myself. As usual it has crept up on me while I wasn't paying attention. But the other thing I will be doing is going around my house with my sprayer and some residual insecticide, that is an insecticide that lasts for several months, and treating the eves and gutters, cracks and crevices where spiders lurk.

Recently I have found webs strung across where my dustbin sits, each time go to put some rubbish in the dustbin I get a face full of web. I don't mind spiders, I like them catching insects and they do no harm in the garden, but there are places in and around the house that I don't want the spiders and I don't want the webbing. A well directed spray can keep them where they are wanted. I will use NO Bugs Super the new Professional Strength or NO Spiders. Both will work well and should stay active through the summer season.

I will also spray some parts of the inside of my house. I found a young White tail spider drop out of the ceiling onto my settee the other day. It suggests that there are more in the house. There is considerable controversy over how dangerous the bite of a Whitetail can be. It may be just a bee sting like bite or there may be a risk of infection of the bite site and a more serious necrosis or ulceration. My feeling is I don't even want the bee sting level so I will spray around the cracks and crevices and pay particular attention the roof voids.

Half an hours work will make me feel happy to invite you all for Christmas Dinner with out fear that you may be caught in webbing or bitten by White Tailed spiders.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kaikoura Possum Control

Yesterday I visited Kaikoura. It was a lovely warm day with the temperatures getting up to 30C according to the dashboard of my car!

I was in Kaikoura to visit a possum control contractor who has begun a project to protect the farms in the area from the threat of tuberculosis (Tb) carried by possums. The bush on slopes of Mount Fyffe and surrounding mountains contain possums that move onto pasture where if they have Tb they are likely to infect the cattle and deer farmed in the area. This would be bad news for the farmers and the local economy.

The Animal Health Board funded project is using Kiwicare NO Possums Cholecalciferol Gel Bait along the bush/pasture boundaries to reduce the possum numbers and reduce the risk of Tb infection. Reducing possum numbers also has the benefit of reducing the browsing destruction caused by the possums in the bush and encourages good health and biodiversity in the bush itself. It is not well known that possums also feed on pasture, ten possums will consume grass that would have supported a sheep.

The NO Possums bait contains Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) which is effective against possums and rats. The gel bait is designed to remain effective for long periods in the field, lasting as much as 26 months even in high rainfall areas. This means that there is an effective control in place over extended periods and not just a quick knockdown which has to be regularly repeated. Because the bait remains effective for months there is much reduced need for labour to continually check and replenish baits that deteriorate.

NO Possums has other advantages; it is less eco-toxic than other baits, it does not require a licence to use it, there is low risk to dogs and other scavengers that might feed on dead possums and it is readily available from rural supplies stores or in commercial quantities directly from Kiwicare.

A possum walks into a bar and orders lunch. Once finished the possum stands up, pulls a rifle from its fur and shoots at random around the bar. There is glass flying everywhere. Finally he puts the gun away and walks tot he door. 
"Hold on" says the barman. "What was that for? Where are you going? You haven't even paid for lunch, never mind the damage."
The possum says "I'm a possum. Look it it up." and exits.
Confused the barman finds a dictionary and looks up possum. 
It says, Possum - furry pest of New Zealand, eats shoots and leaves.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

EcoCover now includes Agrogreen

EcoCover Logo
AGROGREEN is now used as growth enhancer in the EcoCover mulch mat manufactured by EcoCover (NZ) Ltd.

EcoCover mulch mat is a highly innovative product and is manufactured from waste paper. EcoCover mulch and Agrogreen fertiliser enriched mulch mats are a 'world first' in providing a cost-effective substitute for plastic and other mulch systems used in the horticultural, agricultural and land management industries. EcoCover is unique; it is the world's most complete plant mulch and weed suppressant matting.

EcoCover has many uses including weed suppression and new planting protection in commercial and domestic landscaping, reduced maintenance and soil enrichment in nurseries and horticulture, environmental restoration, landfill cover, erosion control and soil stabilisation and more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Professional Pest Control

Here at Kiwicare we regularly get calls from customers asking if they can buy our professional strength products. We have to explain them that the Kiwicare concentrate products that they can find on the shelves of good hardware shops, garden centres, rural supply chains and supermarkets are the same strength as the equivalent products used by our professional customers. To emphasise this point we have recently re-labelled our popular NO Bugs Super product line as NO Bugs Super "Professional Strength."

We have indeed increased the level of active ingredient in NO Bugs Super by 50%, but in both our retail and commercial range.

KCL Commercial is the name of the commercial brand of Kiwicare Corporation Ltd. KCL products are packaged in commercial sizes suitable to large scale operations. But you do not need to be a commercial or professional operator to purchase many of the KCL products. Many are bought through Kiwicare or wholesalers for farms, lifestyle blocks, larger gardens and houses etc.

The new KCLCommercial.com website is currently being developed and will go live before the end of January 2010. I hope you come and visit us.

There is a professional pestie,
Who once made a joke, I don't jestie.
He made himself laugh,
So hard he did barf.
So had to clean up the jolly big messtie.