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Fighting Mosquitoes Naturally

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There isn’t one single positive thing I can say about mosquitoes other than they make good bat food. Other than that, I literally can’t think of a single thing they are good for and I really don’t know why they were invented. There are over 3,500 forms of mosquitoes and they all suck (literally and figuratively).

Even scientists, who have been studying these pesky insects for years, say they “would rather they were wiped off the earth.” (Nature.com, 2006)

Until they are, we have to deal with them carrying horrible diseases like Malaria, dengue fever, Rift Valley Fever, and even yellow fever. We also have to worry about our pets and livestock being infected with heartworm and West Nile Virus.

So, besides keeping pets on a heartworm schedule, keeping them out of the way of fogging, and planting these Plants that Naturally Repel Fleas and Ticks, we have to protect our pets without exposing them or ourselves to toxic chemicals that are found in most “bug sprays.” Not an easy task, but we do have a few natural solutions you should check out.

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All-Natural Treats You Can Feel Good About

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As a newbie pet owner way back in the day, I didn’t pay one stick of attention to the nutritional quality of the food I gave my pets. I loved them dearly, but I let the commercials of happy pets with lustrous coats dupe me into thinking those products were healthy. As I became more aware of the food I was putting into my own body over the years, it naturally followed that I started making better choices for my pets too.

Sure, most of the healthy pet treats are generally pricier than the alternatives offered by the usual major brands, but the extra money you spend now will lengthen their lives and keep your vet costs down. Take a few moments with me to see the differences between the low-cost “junk food” treats and the high-quality treats. When you’re done reading, I think you’ll be running to toss those bags of crunchy “treats” in the trash as fast you can!

Here’s a sampling of the usually long list of ingredients you might find in standard, and highly marketed, pet treats:

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Plants that Naturally Repel Fleas and Ticks

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There’s been a lot of research done on plants that naturally repel fleas and ticks. Garden plants can be a great way to keep flea and tick invasions to a minimum, but you have to be cautious that what you plant is not something that will cause harm to pets or wildlife.

One note - many of these plants can be very invasive (particularly those in the mint family). Please do your homework and use containers when appropriate. We would hate for anyone's garden to get overrun!

Beware of common toxic plants

Many of the common herbs used to repel fleas are also toxic to pets, including the popular “Flea Bane” (Pennyroyal). Other plants that have been used successfully to repel fleas are citronella, geranium, Eucalyptus, fleawort, wormwood, tansy and Sweet Bay. However, all of them are toxic to animals and should be avoided in the yard and garden. The good news is that there are many other options available for natural flea and tick control that are also safe for pets should they get into it. Here they are, in no particular order.

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Preparing for Flea and Tick Season - Naturally

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US Navy 110827-N-NY820-490 Lt. Matt Swain removes ticks from a puppy at a temporary veterinary clinic during Continuing Promise 2011We may as well face it. Flea and tick season is going to be especially difficult this year. The weird weather that has plagued our nation means that insects will be showing up at unusual times. Just last week, a friend found a tick on his arm while standing in a snowstorm – a result of high temps one week and freezing temps the following week.

Ticks carry Lyme Disease (learn what it is and how to avoid it) and fleas can transmit all types of diseases (the Plague comes to mind - particularly if you reside in Arizona).  Luckily, those days are behind us, but it’s important they stay in the past.

To prepare for a happy future, you must begin now. This means we begin with all-natural solutions then, if necessary, increase the levels of protection through the year.  To get you started, we’ve prepared some all-natural prevention methods that you can use to prepare your home for what is sure to be a very long flea and tick season...

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Neem seed oil as an effective natural insect repellant.

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Neem seed oil has been gaining popularity as a natural insect repellent for use on the body and in the garden. The oil is pressed from the fruits and seeds of Azadirachta indica, an evergreen tree native to India, where it has been traditionally used in remedies for a wide variety of skin problems. Neem at just one or two percent of the total product is also an effective insect repellent. Although neem has a strong scent that some people find disagreeable, it masks the scent of the wearer and can prevent insects from landing. Unlike commercial insecticides that indiscriminately kill insects, neem oil only affects insects that chew or suck. When neem is ingested, it disrupts the insect’s normal functions. Some forget to eat, fly or lay eggs, or they may lay eggs that are sterile. Without food or larvae, the insects will die, leaving insect populations diminished.

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