Our gratitude goes out to Mary, who responded yesterday to my query about the importance of environmentally responsible and non-toxic pest control products.
She wrote: "It is extremely important to us that the pest control products we use around our house be environmentally responsible and non-toxic because we have a German Shephard puppy who loves outdoors and is extremely inquisitive. Thank you for creating the RESCUE fly traps! They are great! We tell everyone we know about them! Keep up the great work!"
You see, we love comments on our blog, because we created it to be a source of not only information, but also dialogue.
And sometimes it even pays off in free RESCUE! schwag!
A green giveaway for Earth Day
I found it particularly hard to ignore Earth Day while reading the Sunday paper, which seemed to be overflowing with more retailer inserts than usual -- all accented with bright green ink and telling us how their stores are green, their products are green, and how you and I can be green too. There were some good suggestions, such as using reusable canvas bags to do your grocery shopping rather than requesting plastic bags each time. (According to various reports, the average family goes through about 400 plastic grocery bags a year -- some say it's as much as 1500!)
Another suggestion was to forgo buying bottled water in throwaway plastic bottles, and instead using a reusable bottle that you fill with filtered water from the tap or refrigerator.
A reusable plastic water bottle! This put me in a generous mood as I had been wanting to offer blog readers something of value for Earth Day. Last year we purchased a number of polycarbonate water bottles in our cool yellow-green color and had our logo printed on them. What a perfect giveaway for Earth Day!
And then I saw this news. It appears that Nalgene is phasing out their popular style of water bottle (which ours resembles closely) because of health concerns over one of the ingredients in the plastic.
It's unclear how much of an issue this really is, or exactly what health problems are caused by this plastic additive. I usually carry water around whereever I go and I love my Nalgene bottles for that purpose. To me it's like cell phones and brain cancer. Is there really a link, and how big of a risk is it for me to change my lifestyle?
So I have a backup plan: a reusable, insulated tumbler. You can put your coffee in this instead of a paper or styrofoam cup, and it's also in our cool yellow-green color!
If you would like one of these smart tumblers, all you have to do is this: post a short comment on this blog entry and in it, answer this question...
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very important), how important is it to you that the pest control products you use around your house be environmentally responsible and non-toxic? Feel free to elaborate if you wish.
I will choose three people at random from the posts on April 22 to receive a free tumbler. (I'll send a separate, private e-mail to get your address.)
Happy Earth Day!
Helping Rescue the Centennial Trail
The Centennial Trail that links Spokane, Washington and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho isn't actually in need of rescue. It's a beautiful, well-paved, well-traveled nature trail -- 37 miles in length and following the Spokane River -- that walkers, runners and bikers enjoy. But every year it gets a sprucing up from us and all of the other companies and organizations that have adopted a mile of the trail.
This past Saturday, employees and family members helped "unveil the trail" for spring.
Here's our group at the start of the 9 a.m. cleanup:
Our VP of Operations and his family joined in the effort:
Our stretch of the Trail did not have too much in the way of litter, so our own General Counsel ventured off the beaten path to find some rusted buckets and other trash:
We're all looking forward to being able to enjoy the Trail this spring (whenever it arrives), summer and fall.
Yellowjackets at the water cooler
Yesterday's 72 degree high was about the only bright spot so far in what has been a dismal and disappointing first few weeks of spring in the Inland Northwest. After such a weekend, the Monday morning water-cooler chat at Sterling International usually centers around sightings of queens -- as in yellowjacket queens.
Sure enough, overheard in our office this morning:
Employee A: "Did you see any queens yesterday?"
Employee B: "I saw two."
Employee A: "Cool. I didn't see any yellowjackets, but I saw four paper wasps."
Yes, here at Sterling we talk in excited, breathless detail about bug sightings. Because bug sightings mean sales of yellowjacket traps. Sometimes, however, it just makes me chuckle to myself.
But I'm not the only one talking about yellowjacket sightings. Just south of Spokane, Michael at Palousitics also posted about the same thing, and advised his readers to set out traps early to catch the yellowjacket queens.
Yellowjackets in Paradise
Even in paradise, you can't get away from yellowjackets. I've been in Maui all week, and early Monday morning my husband and I got up at 3:30 to travel to Mt. Haleakala to watch the sunrise. It was pretty incredible.
After the sun was up, we headed over to another observation point further up, where we saw information about yellowjackets on this sign inside a shelter:
The sign indicates that yellowjacket wasps (specifically Vespula pensylvanica, the Western Yellowjacket) are not native to the Hawaiian islands and are threatening native insect species:
Then we stopped at another lookout point a little further down the mountain, where a different sign warned visitors about the yellowjackets (yellowjacket wasps) if they planned to do any hiking:
Here's a closer look:
The presence of yellowjackets couldn't spoil this Mt. Haleakala view, however!
Bugs obliterated his life savings
It's common to inspect a house for termites, but a trader in India is wishing he had checked for the bugs at his bank. The unfortunate man had stashed currency and valuable papers in a safe deposit box, but a termite infestation at the bank meant that the insects feasted on his retirement savings.
Four weeks to W-H-Y
Four weeks from today, we'll be making a big announcement about our new product, whose code name is W-H-Y.
On May 6, 2008, look for the announcement here on this blog and at www.whyistheanswer.com.
Which came first, the chickens or the flies?
Some residents of Webster County in Kentucky are perturbed about poultry. (BTW, I love the group's name: CAPS, Citizens Against Poultry Smell).
They're trying to link the presence of new chicken farms in the area to an infestation of flies. Seems like a logical conclusion. But the farmers are fighting back and refuting the connection with help from an entomologist:
"Despite several attempts Monday night during a meeting of citizens long opposed to the presence of industrial chicken farms... to connect the recent large influx of flies in and around Clay to the local chicken farm industry, an entomologist from the University of Kentucky repeatedly told the audience no such evidence exists to support that claim."
Apparently there's an influx of houseflies, and they don't feed on poultry carcasses. Guess they have a more refined diet.
Spaghetti weevil eradicated!
Today marks the 51st anniversary of an important event in pest control history. Thanks to a mild winter and the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil in 1957, Switzerland enjoyed a bumper spaghetti crop.
Pasta lovers the world over rejoiced that they could continue to enjoy real, homegrown spaghetti, and that the crop was no longer threatened by this bug.
You may be wondering, as people first did upon hearing the news, how can I grow my own spaghetti tree?
According to the BBC, just "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."