Mosquitos and European Wasps

Mosquitos! Have they bothered you recently? They confused me this year; they were different – big, black, and stupid. I didn’t get bitten once. A couple of them landed on me briefly and tried to look threatening, wobbled about on super long legs and then flew clumsily off into the night. It could be that I’m too old and bony and they like something a little more interesting or more bloody.

Our local supermarket and chemist ran out of insect repellent products on the Friday the Folk Festival began as did shops in Castlemaine.

So what will come after the mozzies? Locust plagues are a common occurrence in some summers as crops start to ripen and dry off. For most of us the only inconvenience is the splattering of bodies on the car windscreen and front lights although clogging up the radiator can lead to the motor overheating. Attaching a commercial radiator grill protector thingy can be handy.

Put another Wasp on the Barbie

Wet conditions over recent months have raised the question whether to expect more or less European wasps this summer. One view is that heavy rains will have drowned the occupants of the ground-based nests. The opposing view suggests more moisture means more insect life, the main food source for wasps.

I remember 2014 being a bad year for wasps and having lunch with a smoker who insisted we sit outside in the café garden. I still carry this vision of her gently blowing the wasps from her Hungarian sausage focaccia between mouthfuls.

Many cafés suffered considerable financial losses that year as customers sitting outdoors whose jam and cream scones had suddenly become landing pads for wasps, tried to find seating inside but couldn’t. When they could not find refuge they left and some never returned. It seems that we can manage the odd single wasp but multiple beasties on our food is just too much to bear.

Reducing European wasp numbers is much discussed on-line so I won’t go into too much detail here. Sufficient to say that we should invest in wasp traps which you will find in the hardware shop and, importantly, we should set them early, even before you’ve spotted the first wasp. Theory has it that we can reduce the number of nests by catching the newly hatched queens in our traps before they establish nests.

Another theory that I have not tested is that when you see a wasp feeding, it is within 300 meters of its nest and when it flies away after feeding, it flies in direct a line as possible to its nest.

Our fun suggestion is that you feed small amounts of minced steak in sizeable pieces that the wasp can just carry causing it to fly more slowly. Get some kids to follow it if you don’t think you’re up to it. If they complain, tell them it is like a game of Pokémon Go only it’s all natural and really good for you. Come to think of it, there really should be a wasp tracker app for your smart phone.

When you find a nest, hope that it is on council land so that you can call the Shire office and ask that they come and remove it. More likely, it will be on your own or a neighbor’s property in which case, if you or they are not able or are disinclined to risk removing it, then you will need to contact a pest remover.

On a lighter note, frogs are the great beneficiaries of a wet year. I wonder if they are joyfully feeding on the mozzies? They certainly sound happy. Certainly the Grey Box and Ironbark forests which surrounds us has enjoyed the exceptional wet weather.

Chocolate lily and Mosquito

Alive with wildflowers. Dichopogon strictus (syn. Arthropodium strictum), commonly known as chocolate lily,

Whither the Weather?

All this talk of exceptional weather brings us to the fraught question of climate change. That the climate is changing is now much better understood and believed by ninety percent of the population. However, things we can do to help reduce it, are actions which most people refuse to implement or are simply unable to face.

We are told on good authority that we can now expect to experience 10 extreme heat days more than usual in most years. Add another 1 degree and that becomes 20 extra extreme hot days in most years. I wonder how much extreme weather we will endure before we change some of our lifestyle habits?

Environmental degradation around the world is happening at a very fast rate, much of it caused by industry but much more by you and me. We buy all the stuff that industry produces. Those smoke stacks and jet aircraft exhausts belong to us.

What are some of the lifestyle changes we can adopt to make a difference other than the obvious one of refusing to buy into the fashion products market?

I have three suggestions to get you started. 1. Reduce your red meat intake as much as you can, by 75% if possible. 2. Avoid air travel if at all possible. You probably don’t need to see the Mona Lisa, shop in Paris, sample a curry in Chandrapur or a burger in New York. 3. Vow that you will not replace your pet dog or cat when the current beloved fur ball passes on.

I still can’t get the image out of my head of watching 20 tons of pilchards being offloaded onto trucks in Eden and taken to the pet food factory up the road. Two boatloads a week the crane operator told me. That’s 40 tons a week 52 weeks of the year. And that is just one fishing port.

If that all seems a bit hard, wait until you get the power bill for the air conditioner or be unable to use water except for drinking.

Magic Folk Festival

Congratulations Maldon on the wonderful Folk Festival. The atmosphere was ever congenial and despite the mozzies, visitors I spoke to assured me that they would return again next year.

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Jet-ski YouBeaut Bumper Sticker

This Real men don’t Jet-ski bumper sticker is a response to the reduced pleasure of other peoples nature experiences and the bad behaviour of many jet-ski drivers. We have had a number of nasty experiences in Australia recently one resulting in the death of a woman kayaker and the other involving the deliberate destruction of a rare birds nest. Our belief is that a real-man takes others and the environment (above and below the water) into consideration when thinking about their sporting adventures.

From the Sydney Morning Herald – February 2016

“My view is that jet-skis should be banned on the Georges River,” Steve McDonald told Fairfax Media.

“They have been banned on the Parramatta River [and Sydney Harbour and Lane Cove River] since 2001.

“I did a community survey on this recently and more than 80 per cent of people agreed that should occur. Parents say to me they won’t take their kids out on canoes any more because they are scared.

“I think the time has come to ban it. If it’s good enough to ban them in the Parramatta River, it’s good enough to ban them on the Georges River.”

Further Jet-ski reading

Jet-skiers on the Georges River

Injured by speeding jet-skier

Osprey chicks destroyed

… and in the USA

Student kayaker killed by jet-skier

And a coffee cup too!

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Alpaca Products from YouBeaut

Our ever-popular Alpaca is on the move appearing on even more products. All can be customized to suit your particular design requirements.

New Products:

Yes, sometimes we do design a Christmas card. Here is one for 2016. Happy Christmas everyone!

This beautiful customisable wrist watch lets you add your name or the name of someone you wish to give it to. The colour of the watch displayed here is Clear but you will enjoy playing with the colour options available. The animal in the image was photographed by Richard Lee in rural Australia.

You can modify this watch by changing anything on the watch face to other images or colours to suit.

Watch colours

This Pet Party Customizable Hat can be changed to show your very own pet photos and pet name in the text etc. The ultimate custom pet party hat from YouBeaut Designs.

This Backpack is an ideal gift for your Alpaca loving friends or for your very own outdoor activities.

These Custom YouBeaut Designs Slip On Shoes are a delightful addition to you wardrobe or an ideal gift for your friends.

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Hipster Delivery Bike Metal Photo Print

This Hipster Delivery Bike picture from YouBeaut Designs, shows a bicycle on a rainy day in central Sydney. You can change the image or add a message if you wish. Photo by Richard Lee. Copyright Richard Lee.

Product Details

Size: 10″x 8″ Metal Wall Art
Go for a sleek modern look with these stylish metal prints. The high gloss finish accentuates rich colors giving any space an urban vibe, while the metal adds energy and cheer to your design. Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, these metal prints are perfect for fast-paced, everyday life!

Dimensions: 10″l x 8″w
Made of 0.045″ thick aluminum
Glossy finish
Pre-fitted mounting frame that floats 0.75” away from the wall
Corners rounded for safety
Fitted with an easy to mount hanging wire and wall hook
Water resistant and easy to clean
Full HD color printing, perfect for art and photography

Available in other sizes:

Aluminium Picture sizes.

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