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Butterflies and Insecticides         Ants          Mosquito Deterrents & Repellants

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Primitive Tiger Beetle
Primitive Tiger Beetle


Photos taken on our half-acre

Certified Backyard Habitat - Canadian Wildlife Federation

Pacific Forktail damselfly
* Pacific Forktail damselfly
Mourning Cloak butterfly
* Mourning Cloak butterfly
Butterfly - Pacific Fritillary
* Pacific Fritillary butterfly
Common Wood Nymph
Common Wood Nymph butterfly
Clouded Sulphur Butterfly
Clouded Sulphur butterfly
Recognise this moth? Let us know.
Boreal Bluet Damselfly
Boreal Bluet damselfly
Giant Crane Fly
* Giant Crane Fly
* Dragonfly
Melissa Blue butterfly - male
Melissa Blue butterfly - male
Western Swallowtail butterfly
* Western Swallowtail butterfly
Cabbage butterfly
Cabbage White butterfly
Longhorned Beetle
Longhorned Beetle

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Pale Snaketail Dragonfly
* Compton's Tortoiseshell


Includes some of the above


Spraying with herbicides to kill weeds, and insecticides to kill insects, is inevitably detrimental to butterfly populations. Most spraying with chemical pesticides is now localised, and will affect only very local populations of butterflies. Hence, the pesticide that poses the most serious threat to butterfly conservation is the otherwise environmentally neutral bacterial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstaki, commonly known as Btk. It is frequently sprayed over thousands of hectares. Btk kills the larvae of all butterflies and moths, although some species are partially resistant to its effects. Any larvae feeding on the outside of leaves, which includes most butterfly larvae, will be affected when Btk is sprayed. Adult butterflies are not affected by spraying with commercial preparations of Btk.

The greatest impact of Btk is on the caterpillars of rare species; they may be completely eliminated from an area treated with Btk. Butterflies and moths of conservation concern are generally poor colonisers, and if there are no nearby populations from which recolonization can occur, they will have been extirpated forever. Controlling Gypsy Moths through Btk spray programs will therefore inevitably have a severe impact on, and likely extirpate, many of the butterflies and moths of conservation concern on southern Vancouver Island and the southern interior. The process may take decades, but it will probably be inexorable if Btk spraying continues to be the control method of choice for pest Lepidoptera species.


"The insect fauna of Central Interior and Northern British Columbia is very poorly known. It is not surprising then, that very little is known about the ants of this region. Very few collections of ants have been made north of the Chilcotin, so it is difficult to estimate the number of ant species present in this region. Based on collections, Francoeur (1997) estimated a minimum of 25 species of ants in the Yukon. Similar numbers are likely in the Central Interior of British Columbia. To date, we have found 23 species in three subfamilies near Prince George." - from Ants of Central Interior British Columbia

MosquitoMOSQUITOES - Deterrents and Repellants

This compilation, including the mosquito image, is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

This is the best information I could find. I certainly haven't tested all of these recommendations so use your own judgement and feel free to let me know what your experience or knowledge is.

NOTE: It is generally agreed that for most reliable protection, (e.g. where West Nile Fever is a risk) the most effective ingredient is DEET. Note that DEET can damage synthetic fabrics and there are questions about its effect on the human body. The Government of British Columbia recommends that repellents used on children 2-12 contain no more than 10% DEET; with only one daily application for children six months to two years and not at all on children under six months. Lotions can be applied more effectively than sprays. Don't use with sunscreen because DEET should not be re-applied. Wash off after use.

A. On/in your body

  1. Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg): 1 tablet a day.
  2. No bananas: They make your body odour more attractive to the little ladies (yes, remember it's the females that bite).
  3. Clothing: Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured, long-sleeve shirts and pants
  4. Oil of eucalyptus: at 30% concentration prevents mosquito bites for about two hours (New England Journal of Medicine)
  5. Garlic juice: Mix 1 part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts. Lasts 5-6 hours (or as long as your friends can stand you).
  6. Mosquito trapHomemade mosquito repellant: Combine in a 16 oz bottle: 15 drops lavender oil, ¾ Tbsp vanilla extract, 10 drops citronella oil, ¼ Cup lemon juice. Fill bottle with water. Shake and it's ready to use.

B. In/around the home:

  1. A fan or gentle breeze: Mosquitoes don't like moving air
  2. Strips of cotton cloth dipped in garlic mixture (see above): and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent.
  3. Sage or rosemary: on the barbecue coals
  4. Herbs (When the leaves are crushed): wormwood, lemon grass, lemon thyme, pelargonium and citronella.
  5. Window screens
  6. Mosquito nets: Not a common site in Canada but, properly used, are very effective and (in the long run) cheap.
  7. Bat houses and swallow nesting boxes: "While research shows that many bats will indeed eat mosquitoes, it also suggests that mosquitoes constitute only a small proportion of a bat's diet." (Bats Magazine)
  8. Standing water: Remove where possible, and change pets' dirinking water and birdbaths frequently.
  9. Incense and coils: only use coils outdoors (e.g. not in tents) and regular incense indoors.
  10. Shepherd's Purse: In the early spring, sprinkle the seed on water where mosquitoes breed. The mucilage of the seed will kill the larvae and greatly reduce mosquitoes in the area. One pound of seeds destroys ten million larvae, though it may cause a proliferation of shepherd's purse! (Wild Rose College of Natural Healing)


Tick DeterrentJuly 2013 - UBC researchers working on bird vaccine for West Nile virus

August 2009 - research on DEET health risks
DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents used by some 200 million people every year, appears to affect proteins in mammals as well as mosquitoes and other target insects. Some previous studies have implicated DEET in seizures among children. A new study by an international group of scientists, supported by Agence Nationale pour la Recherche in France, published August 5 at (BMCBiology), reports that DEET "is not simply a behaviour-modifying chemical but that it also inhibits cholinesterase activity, in both insect and mammalian neuronal preparations." Symptoms of lowered levels of cholinesterase, an enzyme essential to proper nervous system function, can include nausea, headaches, convulsions and, in extreme cases, death. Health risks increase when DEET and other pesticides are used together. The researchers concluded that "DEET is commonly used in combination with insecticides and we show that deet has the capacity to strengthen the toxicity of carbamates, a class of insecticides known to block acetylcholinesterase." The new findings are "consistent with previous studies, says Bahie Abou-Donia of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC," speaking to Science News. Abou-Donia's research found increased toxicity when DEET and chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide hazardous by itself, were used together. "These effects should be clearly labeled on products containing DEET, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide," says Abou-Donia. In Canada, he noted, "insect repellents can contain no more than 30 percent DEET. The United States - where 100 percent DEET repellents are available - should consider such restrictions." - Pesticide Action Network North America

Watch The Buzz About Mosquitoes, with David Suzuki
"People love the woods but can't abide the mosquitoes, so we spray insecticide from airplanes, which ends up killing not just mosquitoes . . . but also monarch butterflies, ladybugs, lacewings, and the birds and lizards that eat the poisoned ants." - Barbara Kingsolver in Small Wonder

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