How to get rid of wasps naturally

In my last post, I shared two reasons you may want to leave a wasp nest up in your yard or garden. However, there are a variety of reasons you may not want to do that, Our small backyard means that any wasp nest is easily disturbed — making for angry wasps, which can lead to stings.


First, you need to figure out if you have honeybees or a type of wasp or yellow jacket in your yard. (You can use this helpful tutorial from the Illinois Department of Public Health to figure out what you are dealing with.) If you do find that you have honeybees, and they are not in a location that’s safe for you (or them), you can try to call local beekeepers, who may even remove them for free or for a small fee. Since our bee populations are in an alarming decline, doing what we can to protect them is a high priority.


But what if you need to get rid of wasps? Are there more natural ways to go about it? The pesticides used in most wasp sprays are strong enough that pets that eat the poisoned wasps (and some will) are at risk of death. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not spray such a poisonous spray in my yard! (Note: If you were to use a typical wasp insecticide, professional insect control technicians tell us that most of us use way too much of the spray. A little goes a long way. And, also make sure that you thoroughly remove all dead wasps from your yard afterwards.)


According to my research, I found the following solutions that are natural but effective. It goes without saying that if the nests are in hard-to-treat areas, if you are allergic to their stings, of if there is any other reason that you feel it would be dangerous to self-treat, calling in an expert is the way to go. Most experts say you should thoroughly covering up to prevent stings (including wearing tight-fitting clothes, so they don’t climb into your clothing), and to treat the next at night or early morning when the wasps are sleepy. Covering a light source (such as a flashlight), with red paper will help prevent them from flying towards your light.


Natural insecticide spray

EcoSmart’s Organic Wasp and Hornet killer uses 100 percent, food-grade ingredients, including peppermint oil. When reading over the instructions for use of this spray, you will see that you use this just like the typical poisonous spray, so if you want to simply treat the same way as usual but with a more natural spray, this may be your best bet. It will smell quite strong, like essential oils, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


Killing with soap

My friend Katie at Kitchen Stewardship tells how her husband got rid of a wasp nest simply using dishwasher soap and a hose-end sprayer!




Drowning an aerial nest gives the following instructions for drowning wasps in aerial nests:


“Aerial nests: Place a cloth bag over the entire nest and quickly tie it off at the top; as you draw in the tie, pull the nest free. The bag should be well sealed. Set the bag in a pail of water; drop a rock on the bag to keep it fully submerged.”


However they caution against removing nests in walls or underground yourself, but suggest hiring a professional in these cases. You can read all of their ideas for natural wasp control here.


Hanging false nests

Something else you can do to prevent a wasp problem is to hang a false wasp nest by your house (or wherever you want to deter them). There are a variety of products for this, some look very much like a paper lantern, and others look similar to a real nest, but they get good reviews online — even if they don’t work 100 percent of the time. They are supposed to work because wasps are territorial, and they won’t build next to another nest. Some even claim to have success by simply hanging up a brown paper bag!



There are also a variety of glass wasp traps that many claim are helpful in reducing wasp populations in their area. The trick is to make sure you keep replacing the bait. And also, please consider using savory bait, such as tuna, as that will attract the yellow jackets and wasps, but not honeybees, which prefer sweet bait. These glass traps are very pretty, but you can also make your own inexpensive version out of any type of plastic bottle (soda pop bottle or water bottle).


Via: mnn

What’s that bird? New website identifies species by your photo

Your computer just became an ornithologist.


In a breakthrough for bird watchers and the avian-curious everywhere, the Visipedia research project and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have collaborated on a nifty website that has a keen skill: it can identify hundreds of bird species by photo alone.


Called Merlin Bird Photo ID, the identifier is capable of recognizing 400 of the mostly commonly encountered birds in the United States and Canada.


“It gets the bird right in the top three results about 90 percent of the time, and it’s designed to keep improving the more people use it,” said Jessie Barry at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “That’s truly amazing, considering that the computer vision community started working on the challenge of bird identification only a few years ago.”


The process is simple. A user uploads an image of a bird and enters in when and where the photo was taken; then the user draws a box around the bird and clicks on its bill, eye, and tail.


Within seconds, presto. Merlin looks at the pixels and does some powerful artificial intelligence magic with millions of data points, then presents the most likely species, including photos and song.


“Computers can process images much more efficiently than humans – they can organize, index, and match vast constellations of visual information such as the colors of the feathers and shapes of the bill,” said Serge Belongie, a professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech. “The state-of-the-art in computer vision is rapidly approaching that of human perception, and with a little help from the user, we can close the remaining gap and deliver a surprisingly accurate solution.”


Merlin’s powers are the result of a lot of human work, as it has learned to recognize each species from tens of thousands of images identified and labeled by birders. It also relies on an excess of 70 million sightings recorded by bird enthusiasts in the database, which it then narrows down using the location and time of year when the photo was taken. (So thank you, eBirders.)


Although for now it can not be used with mobile devices – they are working on it. And once it is smartphone-ready, the team will add it to the Merlin Bird ID app.


And then, you can have an ornithologist in your pocket as well.


Via: treehugger

20K Bees Chased A Car For 2 Days To Rescue Their Queen Bee [Video]

Carol Howarth had no idea that when she parked her car in the town of Haverfordwest, Wales, chaos would ensue. As it turns out, a queen bee was attracted to the vehicle and accidentally got caught.


As a result, a swarm of 20,000 bees began hovering near the car as Howarth ran errands. The sight attracted the attention of a local man named Tom Moses, who was concerned that the bees would be poorly handled. (After all, bees’ numbers are on the decline thanks to the toxic effects of glyphosate-containing herbicides) For this reason, he called in a team of beekeepers.



Treehugger reports that in the end, the kidnapped queen bee and her subjects were safely reunited.



Many agreed that the sight was one of the strangest they’ve ever seen. Reportedly, ‘it is natural for [bees] to follow the queen, but it is a strange thing to see and quite surprising to have a car followed for two days.”



It seems devotion knows no bounds between a queen bee and her loyal followers. If you had hesitation believing nature is miraculous, this will surely change your opinion.


Via: trueactivist

Molecular Biologist Explains How THC Completely Kills Cancer Cells

Below is a video of Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, clearly explaining how THC (the main psychoactive constitute of the cannabis plant) completely kills cancer cells. Not long ago, we published an article examining a case study recently published where doctors used cannabis to treat Leukemia, you can read more about that here. To read more articles and view studies about how cannabis is an effective treatment and cure for cancer, click here. Cannabinoids refer to any of group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. I think it’s also important to note that cannabis has been shown to treat cancer without any psychoactive effects. Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. Although not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis. Contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to go about getting the necessary ingredients, the cannabinoids. The world has come a long way with with regards to accepting this plant as a medicine rather than a harmful substance. It’s a plant that could benefit the planet in more ways than one. Cannabis is not something offered in the same regard as chemotherapy, but more people are becoming aware if it, which is why it’s so important to continue to spread information like this. Nobody can really deny the tremendous healing power of this plant.



Via: Why Don’t You Try This

Increasing demand for rubber is catastrophic for endangered species

A new study predicts that up to 21 million acres of rubber plantations will be required to meet our needs, spelling doom for biodiversity in parts of Southeast Asia.


Oh how we love our cars; oh how our cars need tires to do their thing. And although rubber for tires does grow on trees, in a manner of speaking, meeting the demand required by the tire industry will have a marked impact on tropical diversity.


A new study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) predicts that between 10.5 and 21 million acres of plantations will be required to meet the projected need for rubber required by the tire industry by 2024. Many areas of Asian forest – from Java and Bali to Vietnam, Southwest China and the Philippines – will be threatened; such broad expansion will have “catastrophic” biodiversity impacts, with globally threatened unique species and ecosystems all put in harm’s way. Species such as the endangered white-shouldered ibis, yellow-cheeked crested gibbon and clouded leopard (pictured above) could lose precious habitat.


Lead researcher Eleanor Warren-Thomas, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, explains that the tire industry consumes 70 percent of all natural rubber grown, and rising demand for tires is behind the plantation boom and subsequent threat to forests.


“There has been growing concern that switching land use to rubber cultivation can negatively impact the soil, water availability, biodiversity, and even people’s livelihoods,” she says, “But this is the first review of the effects on biodiversity and endangered species, and to estimate the future scale of the problem in terms of land area.”


While consumer awareness and sustainability programs for palm oil have come to the attention of the public, rubber plantations have been coasting under the radar.


“Protected areas have already been lost to rubber plantations. For example, more than 70 percent of the 75,000 hectare Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia was cleared for rubber between 2009 and 2013,” says Warren-Thomas. “Macaques and gibbons are known to disappear completely from forests which have been converted to rubber, and our review shows that numbers of bird, bat and beetle species can decline by up to 75 percent.”


“These findings show that rubber expansion could substantially exacerbate the extinction crisis in Southeast Asia,” she adds.


As of now, rubber grown on deforested land is not treated any differently in the market to rubber grown in a more sustainable way, which leaves consumers with no way of knowing what kind of choices they are making in terms eco-friendliness.


And even though the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i) was launched in January 2015, it needs support from large tire manufacturers and attention from sustainability advocates to ensure that it becomes a viable program. The researchers are urging companies like Goodyear and Michelin to support the sustainability initiatives.


“There may be ways to integrate biodiversity into rubber plantation landscapes that should be researched and put into practice, and at the very least, companies that convert legally protected forests and protected species habitats to rubber should face restrictions to market access through a sustainability certification,” says Warren-Thomas.


Via: Tree Hugger

Some Shape-Shifting Animals That Can Morph To Fool Others

Animals come in all different shapes and sizes, but only a few can change their shapes. Researchers in Ecuador recently reported a new species of frog that can change its skin texture from spiny to smooth – the first ever case of a shape-shifting vertebrate.


When an animal is about to be attacked by a predator, it has two choices: run or hide. Sometimes, though, running might actually make the animal more obvious to its attacker. An animal that happens to look the same as its environment, however, may survive by being camouflaged from the attacker, such as moths that resemble fallen leaves, or even help to attract prey – a tactic the orchid mantis uses.


Many animals have evolved such permanent adaptations that help them to mimic their environments. However, along with the newly classified mutable rain frog, there are just a few animals known to be capable of changing their shape.



The Mutable Rain Frog




The mutable rain frog – blink and it may have changed form. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Author provided


This frog was discovered in the Ecuadorian rain forest in 2006 but was only recently reported in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society as it took several years to find a second specimen, and only then did the shape-shifting ability become apparent.


The frog visibly changes its skin in a matter of seconds, completely changing texture from spiny to smooth in a few minutes. This change is so rapid that when the first researcher captured the frog to photograph it she thought she had mistakenly taken the wrong frog specimen – the spines had disappeared. The researchers put moss in the container with the frog until they could return it to the wild, but when they checked on it later it had changed its skin texture to spiny again.


The team also identified a second frog species, the Sobetes robber frog, capable of the same shape-shifting behaviour. This indicates that this phenomenon could be present in many species of amphibian and is possibly just unrecorded as it happens so quickly. This is the first known vertebrate to shape-shift over such a rapid time frame – apart from werewolves and J.K Rowling’s Professor McGonagall of course.



The Golden Tortoise Beetle




It’s either this or shiny gold.


This species of beetle is capable of changing its colour when mating or to blend in with its background and avoid predation, just as specialist colour changers such as chameleons do. But it can also change the finish of its colour, for example from a shiny gold to a dull red colour. It does this through an optical illusion whereby tiny grooves in the shell can create a shiny surface when filled with liquid and a dull one when drained.


The golden tortoise beetle also undergoes a metamorphosis from the larval to the adult stage (in the same way that caterpillars morph into butterflies). This process of metamorphosis occurs through cells growing and specialising as the beetle grows to maturity and is brought about by hormonal change.







The same cuttlefish filmed only seconds apart.


Cuttlefish are capable of mimicking their background environment by changing the colour, pattern and texture of their skin. They do this by altering pigments in their skin to change the way it reflects light. This is all controlled by neurons in the brain that transmit impulses and information to the rest of the body.


As well as camouflaging themselves, cuttlefish can alter their skin to startle predators or to communicate with other cuttlefish. Some cuttlefish have even been dubbed as cross-dressers: the males have been known to imitate females in order to sneak past other males to mate with the females.



The Mimic Octopus



This octopus was discovered in 1998 off the coast of an Indonesian island, and is perhaps the greatest shape-shifter of all. Similar to the cuttlefish, it is capable of mimicking its background environment by changing the colour and texture of its skin. However, impressively, it is the only animal able to mimic a diverse range of species – at least 13 have been recorded so far – including lion fish, sea snakes, jellyfish and sea anemones.


Most of the impersonated species are poisonous, giving the mimic octopus protection from predators, but it is also known to imitate members of the opposite sex in crabs, luring them in before feasting on them. The mimic octopus has remarkable dexterity, being capable of changing its colour, behaviour, shape and texture, and can alter its mimickry according to the circumstances.







Watch out, he’s about to puff!


Porcupinefish and pufferfish are a group of fish that puff themselves up rapidly when threatened. These fish can more than double their size by inflating their stomachs with water or air, making themselves much less attractive as a meal to predators – would you want to eat a large spiky ball? – and too large to be eaten by predators with smaller mouths.


Most porcupinefish and pufferfish also contain a deadly toxin, far more poisonous than cyanide, so if they are taken unaware the predators often won’t last for long. The meat from these fish are considered a delicacy in Japan, where it is carefully prepared by trained chefs, although it seems several customers still die each year.


Via: IFL Science

Researchers discover the Sun’s soul

For the first time in history, an international team of scientists have managed to detect particles that come straight from the heart of the Sun, particles that propagate through space and we see as light. In other words, scientists have managed to look at “the soul of the sun” and were able to observe the particles that generate light.


The discovery was made possible thanks to the collaboration of over a hundred scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amhers, with the particle detector Borexino in Italy, specially designed for the study of low energy of solar neutrinos. Thus, it was possible to observe the process of inner nuclear fusion which is responsible for generating emission of light that eventually finds its way to our planet.


At the core of the Sun, the energy is released through sequences of nuclear reactions that convert hydrogen into helium. It is believed that the primary reaction is the fusion of two protons with provide the emission of a low-energy neutrino.




By comparing the two different types of solar energy radiated, as neutrinos and as surface light, the researchers obtain experimental information about the sun’s thermodynamic equilibrium over about a 100,000-year timescale. These neutrinos basically constitute almost the entire flux of solar neutrinos, surpassing the number of neutrinos emitted in subsequent reactions. Scientist state that in previous studies, these neutrinos were invisible to science, even though these manage to generate 99 percent of solar energy. Scientists know that sunlight takes only eight minutes to reach Earth but, before this happens, there is a substantially longer process: once the solar neutrinos are formed in the core of the sun, it will take about 100000 years for them to finally emerge to the surface of our star, from which they shoot into space at the speed of light.


Andrea Pocar, one of the scientists responsible for the research said: “If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, then with these neutrinos we are looking directly  not only at the face of the Sun, but its core. This means that we’ve taken a look at the soul of the sun.”


Via: Earth We Are One

Aurora Borealis

An aurora is a natural light display in the sky (from the Latin word aurora, “sunrise” or the Roman goddess of dawn), predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. Auroras are caused by charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, entering the atmosphere from above causing ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents, and consequent optical emissions.




Most auroras occur in a band known as the auroral zone, which is typically 3° to 6° wide in latitude and between 10° and 20° from the geomagnetic poles at all local times (or longitudes), most clearly seen at night against a dark sky. A geomagnetic storm causes the auroral ovals (north and south) to expand, and bring the aurora to lower latitudes.


In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights). Its southern counterpart, the aurora australis (or the southern lights), has features that are almost identical to the aurora borealis and changes simultaneously with changes in the northern auroral zone.


Auroras take many different visual forms:

  • The most distinctive and brightest are the curtain-like auroral arcs. They eventually fragment or ‘break-up’ into separate, and rapidly changing, often rayed features that may fill the whole sky. These are the ‘discrete’ auroras, which are at times bright enough to read a newspaper by at night.
  • The ‘diffuse’ aurora, on the other hand, is a relatively featureless glow sometimes close to the limit of visibility. It can be distinguished from moonlit clouds by the fact that stars can be seen undiminished through the glow.


Auroras also take many different colors:

  • Red: At the highest altitudes, excited atomic oxygen emits at 630.0 nm (red); low concentration of atoms and lower sensitivity of eyes at this wavelength make this color visible only under more intense solar activity. The low amount of oxygen atoms and their gradually diminishing concentration is responsible for the faint appearance of the top parts of the “curtains”.









  • Green: At lower altitudes the more frequent collisions suppress the 630.0 nm(red) mode: rather the 557.7 nm emission (green) dominates. Fairly high concentration of atomic oxygen and higher eye sensitivity in green make green auroras the most common. The excited molecular nitrogen (atomic nitrogen being rare due to high stability of the N2 molecule) plays its role here as well, as it can transfer energy by collision to an oxygen atom, which then radiates it away at the green wavelength. (Red and green can also mix together to produce pink or yellow hues.) The rapid decrease of concentration of atomic oxygen below about 100 km is responsible for the abrupt-looking end of the lower edges of the curtains.











  • Yellow and pink are a mix of red and green or blue.




  • Blue: At yet lower altitudes, atomic oxygen is uncommon, and ionized molecular nitrogen takes over in producing visible light emission; it radiates at a large number of wavelengths in both red and blue parts of the spectrum, with 428 nm (blue) being dominant. Blue and purple emissions, typically at the lower edges of the “curtains”, show up at the highest levels of solar activity.










A full understanding of the physical processes which lead to different types of auroras is still incomplete, but the basic cause involves the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s magnetosphere. The varying intensity of the solar wind produces effects of different magnitudes, but includes one or more physical scenarios. The details of these phenomena are not fully understood. However it is clear that the prime source of auroral particles is the solar wind feeding the magnetosphere, the reservoir containing the radiation zones, and temporarily magnetically trapped, particles confined by the geomagnetic field, coupled with particle acceleration processes.


Via: Wikipedia

12.7 million tons of plastic in the oceans

For years there were only guesses how much plastic waste ends up in the ocean. A team led by Jenne Jambeck from the American University of Georgia made for the first time a numeric assessment. In 2010, people who are living up to 50 kilometers away from the coast, dropped from 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. In this year 192 coastal countries altogether created 275 million tons of plastic waste.

“Eight million tons of plastic is the same as if we found five shopping bags full of plastic for every 30 cm of the shore in all 192 countries,” the problem clearly described Jambeck.




The evaluation was made on the basis of a large model of all sources of garbage that end up in the sea. After a rough estimation they quickly find out that the most contribution is made by management of garbage and scattered solid plastic.



But this analysis covered only plastic that floats on the surface of the oceans. Enormous amounts of plastic are also on the ocean floor. Jambeck also said that the in the oceans will be 155 million tons of plastic waste by 2025. Their research provides a basis for actions that could better managed trash loads.