Insects

Picaridin hit the U.S. market in 2005 as an alternative to DEET, the long-time (since 1946) champion of keeping insects at bay. As I wrote back in 2012 (Picaridin vs. DEET: Which Is the Best Insect Repellent?), the evidence at the time indicated that picaridin is at least as good a repellent as DEET. What’s…

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There comes a point when insect repellent just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes the biting bugs are just too thick and ferocious to deal with, whether it’s a swarm of black flies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, or some other collection of flying blood-sucking micro-monsters. Even if you’re using enough insect repellent to keep them from biting, it can…

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Getting the kids outdoors might be as easy as heading into the backyard or down the block to the neighborhood park. But once you’re outside, keeping kids engaged for an hour or two can be challenging. For a list of cheap and simple outdoor activities kids can do anywhere, we turned to Angel Santos Burres,…

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If you think fireflies’ flashes are simply random, pretty bursts of light, think again. “They’re not just putting on a fantastic light show for our enjoyment,” says Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University and the author of Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies. “Those are the silent love songs of the…

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Ticks are arguably the nastiest, most pernicious, most maddening outdoor threat we face here in the Northeast. I hate them, these vectors of disease, who crave adherence to my flesh, to inflate with my blood. So nasty. In early spring, adult ticks resurface after laying low through the winter. They are larger and easier to…

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They’re baaaaaack… Deer ticks. Scourge of the Northeast. Micro-demons of disease. All-around nasty bloodsuckers. I hate them. So I’m always on the watch for a tick defense that can stop them before they sink their gnarly little mouth bits into my flesh. Now I’ve written extensively about the risks of tick bites (see What It’s Like to Get Lyme Disease….

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Black fly season, which runs from about Memorial Day to mid-June in the North Country, scares off a lot of people. And who could blame folks for not wanting to be surrounded by swarms of blood-sucking bugs? But this is also prime time for viewing alpine flowers and other harbingers of summer, so Nicky Pizzo,…

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The best defense against tick-borne disease is a good offense. Here’s how to avoid ticks in the first place. 1. Treat Your Shoes and Clothes with Permethrin Ticks die quickly when they come into contact with this powerful toxin. You can apply it yourself with over-the-counter sprays and washin treatments (be sure to closely follow application…

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There’s a moment of horror when you discover a tick has sunk its bloodsucking bits into you, followed by the immediate need to get it out. Pronto. Here’s how. Anatomy of a Bite How did it come to this? Your role as a food source began when a tick found purchase on your skin or…

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I had my first bout with Lyme disease about a decade ago. This summer I went another round with the unpleasant tick-borne illness. The two experiences highlight several important things everybody should understand about Lyme. How you get Lyme disease First a quick backgrounder. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is…

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