19 September 2013.
When you live in a bug-free home maintaining same is of
utmost importance. Sure, we all know the old tales of "keep all cardboard
off the boat" and use
Borax as bait, but it's not the roaches that drive
you batty so much as the mosquitoes, biting flies, no-see-ums and the like
-- those critters have to be kept out and there are several ways to do so.
An oversized screen in the window aft and lace curtains to
[The only time Seaweed had roaches was when I rafted up
next to a sailboat that had them -- he sprayed while I was tied alongside
and still (two or three years later) I'm not quite satisfied said sailor
is contrite enough. Quick diversion: I got rid of them by putting out
roach bait hotels (Hot Shot
brand) and they worked great. Twelve come in the
package, so I put all 12 out scattering most in the galley under the sink
and where I have my hanging produce, plus a couple in my cabin and one in
the head. I put a couple in my cabin and one in the
head. The first few days I saw nothing but finally I saw a few dead
critters and found one floating in the bilge. Disgusting. However by then
end of the month I was seeing nothing nor any evidence of bugs. I
did buy and distribute a second package but I probably could have left
them unopened. Sum total of dead bugs: less than ten.]
Anyway, excluding the roach problem that was quickly
resolved, the bugs I have to fight are mosquitoes! For those I bought at a
thrift store an old army screened tent for $4. They retail for less than
$20 at Army/Navy stores in case you're curious.
The first thing I did was cut off the ribbons and lay it
all out flat looking for the largest area which turned out to be two
walls; that was destined to be the screening for the cockpit. I'll admit
to having trouble initially in that I wanted it to be perfect and it did
take nerve to make that first cut. Still I've always found that proceeding
usually is the right choice and even if I'd cut wrong, what's one more
One thing about myself I have to work on constantly is the
realization that my boat is just that: a boat. She's not a yacht and the
"Bristol finish" some boats have probably won't ever be a factor on
Seaweed. She's good enough, and folks who visit don't seem to mention/mind
the places that could be better. In most ways I'm quite comfortable having
a boat that isn't perfect because it allows room for improvement someday.
Done is better than unfinished and
waiting/planning for perfection.
With the largest flat part I made a screen that will
enclose the entire cockpit. By "made" what I mean is I wrapped the screen
three times around the pieces of ribbon and sewed up and then back. Voila:
an edge with some body. And at that point the cockpit screening is
completed -- except for hanging and that'll be another day. The turn three
times and stitch back and forth was done on all pieces. Simple, double
stitched so if one comes out I'm still good, and it works!
Clipped back so you can see the back side...
Next I cut oversized pieces for both pilothouse doors and a
third one for the window by my dinette. As you can see above, it's not
fancy -- basically I sewed across and then back. On the return trip I
stitched a few loops (just some old line I had in my string box) so I can
attach the screen doors.
For the most part the loops attach to some fender hooks I
found at a nautical exchange. They are easy to take on and off. The larger
hook you see in the picture above is for when I hang one of my oil
lanterns. It's centered above the window in the doorway. A few years back
a friend (Ann on the Schooner Steelaway) made a lovely Christmas hanging
bough for my Seaweed and that's where I hung it for all to see.
The screens simply hook over the fender hook gizmos and I
pin them at the bottom. They aren't tight but seem to do a great job
keeping out the biting critters.
When the bugs are thick I also have a couple other tricks
in my arsenal. One is the
I'm sure you're familiar
with. I bought a little terracotta container but frankly I wish I'd gone
ahead and bought the better one because mine is too small when the coil is
new and even as small as it is now, the cover won't fit on without
touching the coil which of course puts it out. Argh.
This ↑ is the one I bought,
and this ↓ is what I should have
Pic COMBO Terra Cotta Mosquito Coil Burner
is less than $6. Sigh.
The next weapon in my fight against bites is something
we've had in our family for decades. It's a gorgeous copper color now
though it was brass until I took a too-strong cleaner to it, and now,
well, I'm learning to love copper!
Those with careful observation will note perhaps the koi
fish that holds my curtain rod... it's a bit of whimsy, gifted to me by my
friend Marsha on Freebird. She has the best eye for pretties, and let me
adopt the pair. Tucked up near the overhead, when noticed they
always get raves. Thanks Marsha! Freebird is a Freedom 30 with an unstayed
Just to the right of the lantern's Fresnel lens you'll see a tiny
brass cleat. On the opposite side I have an eye-bolt with a bit of black
string. The line and cleat keep the lantern from moving when underway and
it never gets hot when lit.
This lantern is my designated bug lantern. Rather than burn
Mineral Oil (far less expensive than the lantern oil, though of course you
must be careful: we are talking fire after all) I use
Citronella oil. It does give a chemical smell so of course having open windows and
fresh ventilation is important. I'm used to the smell but it does bother
some folks, much like kerosene does.
Anyway, screens are a good defense against mosquitoes,
biting green flies, no-see-ums and more. They aren't perfect however -- at
least mine were not, and tomorrow I'll tell you about what I did wrong,
and how I've fixed it. And don't forget that in the south cockroaches can
What do you do to prevent bites?
Are there any secret potions that work in your area? And where are you
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