Tired of mosquitoes? Maybe garlic can help
A Prairie-based business has racked up a few hundred clients over the last few years with their guarantee of getting rid of mosquitoes.
Buzz Boss uses a unique blend of vegetable oil, water and another key ingredient that packs a potent punch.
“It’s literally 700 pounds of garlic and it’s compressed down into about a gallon,” technician Tadek Sampson explains.
He goes house to house across Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg helping homeowners get rid of the pesky insects.
“We come in and do programs for people residentially to keep mosquitoes out of their backyard. We prevent them from breeding and spending time in your backyard.”
That sounded like music to the ears of Tiffany Chambers, a resident of Edmonton’s Secord community. She’s a self-proclaimed mosquito magnet.
“I hate mosquitoes. To the point where I’ll hide in my house and not come out and enjoy the afternoon.”
Sampson starts by evaluating a property.
“You could have long grass, you could have bushes and trees that need to be trimmed back, and that will help because mosquitoes like anywhere they can get shade and protection from the wind,” he says. “They have these soft bodies and they dry out very easily and then they die.”
Then, every three weeks between June and September, Buzz Boss sprays their special solution. It takes less than 15 minutes and the garlic smell normally dissipates within three hours. The company says it costs customers about $200 a summer for the service.
“There’s no danger to plants, literally no danger to kids,” Sampson says. “It’s not a toxic material. It’s garlic. Everything we’re using you find in your kitchen.”
That’s why Chambers decided to try it out last year.
“I’ve got two younger kids and a dog that will eat anything and everything and it’s very safe.”
She hired the company again for 2017.
“The mosquitoes virtually disappear in the yard,” she says.
Sampson says residential mosquito control is more popular in the United States and eastern Canada. The spray works like most other repellents.
“We’re not killing them,” he says. “With the garlic solution we use, it actually causes their sense of smell to be confused and they can’t come and find you. Generally, they’ll leave the area and go somewhere else.”
Peter Daly works with the City of Edmonton’s pest management team. He says mosquito numbers are up this week compared to last week.
He says that’s likely because it has been less windy recently. Prolonged temperatures around the 30 C mark will help turn things around as long as there’s no precipitation.
“Really hot weather and not a lot of rain equals not much mosquitoes. They breed only in temporary pools of water,” he said.
“If it’s getting scorchingly dry out in the farmers’ fields out in the countryside, there aren’t really going to be many mosquitoes breeding and their numbers will start to taper off.”
Daly also says keeping grass short is helpful, so the mosquitoes don’t have any shade to hide in.
“In the middle of a hot day like this, you’re not going to see many mosquitoes active because they’ll just shrivel up and die and be mummies in no time flat,” he says.
As for Chambers’ claim that she is a target for the pesky bugs? Daly says that could be entirely true.
“Some people are far more attractive to mosquitoes than others, and there’s a number of factors that go into that. Certain chemicals that you secrete in your sweat, they will hone in on via their sense of smell. They’re attracted to the carbon dioxide that you exhale and they’re attracted to body heat.”
He says traditionally, things are likely to get worse before they get better for those that tend to attract the mosquitoes. Peak season is still about a month away.
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