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I want to go on the record that I would rather not kill yellow jackets even though we are all extremely allergic to their stings. My attitude has always been that they deserve to be here as much as we do and have a place in the order of things. But, this year they have overstepped and decided to build a nest right next to my front door.

Fall is such a lovely time of year when the trees are turning the oppressive humidity and temperatures are dropping. But, unfortunately it's also the time of year when yellow jackets start to become even more of a problem than they were earlier in the year. The reason for this is that the colony is breaking down and the ones that are left become desperate to protect their remaining young and to feed them.

They spoiled the joy of the first cool, crisp morning as when I stepped outside I found myself and the girls being swarmed by flying pests. So, I’m now of the mind that I need to kill them before they have a chance to kill us. That epi pen will not be used if I can help it.

I respect their instincts, but they have worn out their welcome at my house; I have the same protective feelings toward my young as they do and if I must kill yellow jackets to protect them I felt that I must do so. So that I could set about killing yellow jackets without feelings of guilt, I wanted to get the facts on how to get rid of yellow jackets without poisons, chemicals and sprays. I'm a big believer in natural pest control but if it comes down to me or them; Baby, it's going to be them. Picture me as Rambo wielding a can of Raid.

I found there are several ways to get the job done but unfortunately with the problem being right on my front door step I’m afraid that I will have to spray the little buggers and then put some of the less poisonous and more natural methods to work.

Here are some ways to kill yellow jackets without using chemicals:

  • Wasp traps – You can build a homemade wasp trap using the instructions yourself for practically nothing. The supply list is very cheap compared to wasp killing chemicals.
  • Pour boiling or soapy water into the entrance of their nest. This method is for the well prepared and well covered person who is not allergic to stings and in my opinion, very brave.

For this round of the battle, I’m going to buy several cans of wasp killer that sprays from as far away as I can possibly find. Then I am going to follow some of this guy’s instructions on how to kill yellow jackets in a more natural way. He has lots of tips on how to make your home and yard less inviting to the dangerous insects and how to trap or kill the first scouts that might show up before they can colonize and build nests that force you to resort to poisonous elimination.



Spider with Roach

As a homeowner and parent who has an intense dislike for bugs I’m interested in natural pesticides. My youngest daughter has breathing issues and I’m not fond of exposing the rest of the family to unnecessary chemicals so common poisons are not an option. It’s my opinion that the bugs and rodents may be no more dangerous than toxic solutions commonly used to control them.

I have been doing my homework on how to set up deterrents for the inevitable invasion of bugs and rodents that happens each and every year. The first cool snap we have each fall has historically turned my home into the safe haven of choice for wolf spiders, roaches and the occasional mouse.

While searching for solutions I was surprised to find that many natural bug control remedies are not that natural at all. Mopping with borax and enzyme cleaners was not what I was searching for. My favorite roach control remedy that I plan to try involves some detective work but if it works, it might eliminate the need to sprinkle baking powder or whipping up recipes for roach bait. Sticky traps work well for spiders, but if the picture that I included on this page is any indicator, spiders might be the perfect natural pesticide where bugs and mosquitoes are concerned. Once the bugs are all eaten for dinner, the giant spiders should leave on their own, right?



I'm as confused as the next person over what to do in the next election. I know that we can't afford eight more years like the last eight. Is McCain just another Bush with a better service record? He's a war hero and we should honor and respect him for that, but is he up to the job of turning the tide? I heard that he voted in lock step with our current president 95% of the time. For that matter has President Bush been a victim of circumstances that may cause him to be remembered unfairly as the person in office preceding a major recession/depression? Does Barack Obama have a track record that indicates that he will do better?

As voters we have a lot of homework to do researching the Sarah Palin voting record as well as that of McCain, Obama, and Biden.

Here's an idea; let's shop for our next president using the same techniques that we use to shop for a new car.

  • Read reviews: What opinions do their constituents have about them?
  • History: Did they vote how you would have liked for them to have voted on
  • issues that are important to you in the past?
  • Performance: Did they leave the voters that elected them into office in debt up to their eyeballs?
  • Environment: Are they environmentally friendly?



Before you start bashing me (or patting me on the back for that matter) let me say that I'm not anti-Palin...or pro-Palin. I simply don't have enough information on her voting record or political history as an elected official in the State of Alaska to say at this point. But what I do want to say is that I hope that my fellow Americans are not going to allow their vote to be swayed on the merit of looks rather than the candidate's ability to run the country. Repeat after me: This election is not about looks.

I would like to think that the McCain camp didn't choose Governor Palin because she's attractive and they felt they needed some weaponry in their arsenal to fight the rock star appeal that Obama had going for him. I hope that the Sarah Palin voting record can be brought more into focus rather than what her teenage daughter is doing or the color of her lipstick. I'm more concerned that my choice is environmentally friendly and interested in alternative energy sources than cute.

I don't object if a politician is easy on the eyes, but they don't get my vote because Mother Nature blessed them with shiny hair or pretty teeth. Abraham Lincoln was hard what one could call handsome, but he is rather well thought of and remembered.

So what if John McCain's wife is drop dead gorgeous, or if Barrack Obama is handsome? It should not matter to us how they look. Do you want a president that is beautiful, handsome or stylish when walking by you while you are standing in a food line or sick from exposure to radiation? Or do you want to elect a president that will make a contribution to the planet and turn this country around for the benefit of our children and grandchildren?

Don't just study the Sarah Palin political voting record, study them all!


Can MRSA Spread be Spread with a Toothbrush?

Maybe I am being paranoid, but when your baby has MRSA you can't afford to play around. I am faced with a very odd situation. The call has already been made to the pediatrician’s office to discuss this situation with him or his nurse assistant and in the meantime I will record it in a blog entry. It may seem that I’m going around the world to get to the point, but stick with me and you will see what’s bugging me.

Three days ago, I noticed that my little girl (the one who was infected with MRSA as a baby) was gnawing on something. Knowing that I had not given her a cookie, cracker or anything else as a snack, I set out to see what it was that she had in her mouth.

As it turned out, the yummy treat was my middle daughter’s toothbrush. How the baby managed to get it is a mystery. The only feasible explanation is that in the morning rush the older girls must have knocked it out of the toothbrush holder and onto the bathroom floor where the little one found it.

Even though I do my best to keep the facilities clean (MRSA will make a better housekeeper out of you when nothing else will!), the thought that one of my kids was chewing on something that had been kicked around on the bathroom floor was not exactly a pleasant thought. After failed attempts at cajoling her to relinquish her treasure willingly; I eventually had to forcibly remove it from her grasp. The results of this wrestling match were a screaming baby and a mommy that was late for an appointment. I threw the toothbrush on the bathroom counter by the sink, picked up my unhappy baby and headed out the door to see if I could manage to make it to my appointment without being more than a few minutes late.

While I was busy, my husband was responsible for picking the older girls up from a play date and preschool and feeding them their lunch. By the time the baby and I got home the rest of the family had eaten and was busy folding a basket of laundry. I couldn’t help but feel how lucky I was to drift in to find things so very under control. Mentally searching for what I needed to take care of while the rest of the crew was otherwise engaged; my mind drifted to the toothbrush incident and I remembered I had not cleaned it nor thrown it away.

I headed off to the bathroom to dig out a new toothbrush and throw the dirty one away. Imagine my surprise when I found that dad had not only fed the girls, but made sure that they brushed their teeth afterwards albeit with a nasty toothbrush. I’ve learned that it’s useless to cry over spilt milk so I just substituted the new brush and moved on.

Under normal circumstances that may have been the end of it except our middle girl woke up in the middle of the night screaming in pain saying that her mouth hurt. I took a look and sure enough there were blisters inside her cheeks (MRSA or something else?), the roof of her mouth and her gums looked red and inflamed.

Could this have resulted from using her sister’s toothbrush? We are cautioned not to use the razor belonging to a person with MRSA, but what about their toothbrush?
The baby has not got any active blisters at this time, but I want to hear it from the pediatrician that we don't need antibiotics as a preventative measure. Wish me luck.