Using Praying Mantis to Control Bugs, Mosquitoes and Black Flies at Trailer

Well… I have wanted to try this a couple of times but this year finally took the plunge!
Both Hone Depot and Costco sell Praying Mantis Egg case
Link to Home Depot Eggs
Link to Coscto Eggs
They do sell out fat tho so you have to by by end of May/early June.

The case claims to hatch 40-400 praying mantis babies that will grow up t be territorial
An natural predator and good alternative to pesticides. The Praying mantis eats aphids, beetles, flies, mosquitos, moths, caterpillars and pretty much any insect they can catch.
One egg case hatches many tiny babies that quickly disperse. Your egg case contains approximately 40 to 400 eggs.
They are sold for people back yards and gardens but I am putting up around my campsite where trailer is parked. Normally not too much if an issue for me but this year the black flies were terrible and my sister is up quite bit this year and she is a magnet for mosquitoes.

Mating occurs in early fall and another egg case will be laid that will hatch the following summer. The egg case is laid as a foam that hardens into a spongy almost indestructible mass, usually laid attached to a shrub, weed, grass, etc., a few feet off the ground. The egg mass survives freezing, thawing, rain and all the elements to hatch in the early summer to start the cycle again.

I read that some people get their egg cases with a small mesh bag to put in shrub- we didn’t get one and I was nervous that birds or curious kids would get at the nest.
My sister came up the genius idea of putting the the egg case – about the size of a plum- in the inside of garden tiki torch.
You can see is in pic above ;-)

Home Made recipe for “Natural” Mosquito Repellent

For those who do not want to put DEET on their skin:

Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipe


20 drops Eucalyptus oil
20 drops Cedarwood oil
10 drops Tea Tree oil
10 drops Geranium oil
2 oz. carrier oil ( like olive oil, almond oil or grape seed oil) Note: You must use some kind of carrier oil to dilute the essential oils- never put essential oils directly onto skin.

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. I get a small spray bottle at drugstore that holds just the right amount and has a fine spray. You could also just keep in bottle and put on a cloth and rub onto skin. When spraying on the skin avoiding the eye and any mucous membrane areas. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities . You can experiment with different amounts of essential oils.

I would re-apply every two hours or so. You can aslo put some on a handkerchief and tie around your neck to avoid nasty mosquito bits on the neck and face.

West Nile Virus and Mosquito Repellents

It’s important you take steps that will protect you and your family from mosquito bites. The good news is, it’s easy.

Use insect repellent when outdoors.
Cover up.
Use insect repellent when camping
Use an insect repellents on exposed skin, such as those containing DEET. A light coating will do.
The concentration of DEET should be no greater than 30% for adults and no greater than 10% for children.
DEET-based repellents can also be used on top of clothing. Do not use it under clothing.
Several DEET-free botanical repellents are federally registered but provide a shorter time of effectiveness.

If you are going outdoors for less than 30 minutes, these are safe, effective alternatives.
– Burning Candle ( which gives off carbon dioxide and naturally repels mosquitoes)
-Citronella Oil
Also try dabs of these natural oil on a handkerchief around the next or wrists:

Rosemary Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Cedar Oil ( try getting cedar oil spray at pet store and safe to use on pets AND humans- including kids)
Peppermint Oil
Clove Oil
Geranium Oil

Vicks Vapour rub- some people swear by this!

My own homemade natural mosquito repellent mosquito

Reduce the amount of skin exposed to mosquito’s- wear long-sleeved shirts or jackets and long pants.
Mosquitoes are attracted to darker, more intense colours, try to wear lighter colours if possible. Also avoid fragrance- avoid scented soaps. perfumes, fabric softeners and deodorants.

If mosquito population is particularly bad consider specialized bug-protective clothing.

Top Ten Mosquito “Hot Spots”
Bird baths
Old tires
Unused containers like barrels
Flower pot saucers
Swimming pool covers
Wading pools
Clogged gutters and eaves troughs
Clogged drainage ditches
Small containers like cans or bottle tops
Unused children’s toys or vehicles

Black Bears and Camping- What to do when you encounter a black bear

We recently encountered black bear while camping- on one occasion a large male black bear was at our campsite for a good 20 minutes. I did follow the usual advice- make lots of noise , etc. But the bear just hung around and was eating some food stolen from a nearby cooler. One of the park staff said to try and scare away a bear- but my instinct told me that coming between a animal and its food was never a good idea. The ontario governmenr has excellent information on how to handle black bears in general and what to do if you meet up with bear on your campsite.

Some of the topics covered are:
What To Do If You Encounter a Bear
Bears are normally shy of humans and quickly get out of our way when they see us. There are a number of things you can do if you spot a bear on a trail or one enters your campsite or yard.

Do not approach the bear to get a better look. Slowly back away while watching the bear and wait for it to leave.
If you are near a building or car, get inside it as a precaution. If the bear was attracted to food or garbage, make sure it is removed after the bear leaves to discourage the bear from returning.
It is important to keep dogs away from a bear. While a well-trained dog may deter a bear, a poorly trained one may only excite it resulting in the bear following the dog back to its owner.
If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Remove people and dogs from the area. The bear will usually come down and leave when it feels safe.
If a bear is trying to get at food in your yard or campsite (and a building or a car is not within reach) or if a bear tries to approach you, here is how you should react:

Stop. Face the bear. Do not run. If you are with others, stay together and act as a group. Make sure that the bear has a clear escape route, then yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Use a whistle or airhorn if you have one. The idea is to be aggressive and to persuade the bear to leave. This will work if the bear is still partly afraid of humans.
If these attempts fail to frighten the bear away, slowly back away watching the bear and giving it a wide berth.
Climbing a tree to get away from a bear may offer you little advantage as black bears are excellent tree climbers.
A bear may stand upright to get a better view, make huffing or “popping” sounds, swat or beat the ground with its forepaws or even bluff charge. These are a bear’s way of telling you that you are too close. Back off and give the bear more space. If the bear comes within range, use pepper spray if you have it.

How to Recognize a Potentially Dangerous Encounter

Injuries by black bears are rare, but can occur in the following situations:

Cornered bears
Black bears may become anxious or annoyed if they are crowded by people or dogs, or if intently focused on a food source. These bears will generally give many warning signs (they may make huffing or “popping” sounds, swat or beat the ground with their forepaws or even bluff charge) to let you know that you are too close.

Mother bears protecting their young
Mother bears are rarely aggressive towards humans but they are protective of their cubs. Do not test this by intentionally approaching cubs or knowingly getting between them and their mother. The mother bear will generally give you many warning signs to let you know that you are too close.

Predatory black bears
On EXTREMELY RARE occasions, black bears (usually adult males) have attacked humans with the intent to kill and eat them. This has happened about 40 times in the last century in North America (six incidents in Ontario). By comparison, many more people have been killed by lightning, dogs, and bee stings. Predatory black bears may not make huffing or “popping” sounds, swat or beat the ground with their forepaws or perform bluff charges. Instead, they may press closer and closer to their intended prey assessing whether it is safe to attack

Here is what to do if you find yourself in one of these situations.

Slowly back away, watching the bear.
If the bear tries to approach you, stop. Be aggressive, yell, throw rocks or sticks and use pepper spray if you have it. NEVER TURN AND RUN.
If the bear continues to approach you, resume backing away slowly while continuing to be aggressive towards the bear.
If a bear makes contact with you, DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Fighting back is the best chance of persuading a black bear to stop its attack. Use a large stick, a rock or anything else that you have on hand to hurt the bear.

Are Black Bears Exhibiting Increased Boldness?
Ontario’s Black Bear Population
What You Should Know About Black Bears
Bears Travel a Long Way

More Black Bear Information