Monday, October 25, 2010

I am Getting Motivated for Movember


I’m joining the growing club of modern gentlemen who believe in the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember. I am looking for like-minded ladies and gentlemen to join my team to change the face of men’s health.

Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. Close to 3,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in New Zealand each year and 1 in 10 men will experience depression in their lifetime. Many of these men do not seek help.

I think it’s time we did something about this.

Kiwicare is supporting the cause with prizes for the best company Mo, as voted by the Kiwicare staff, plus a $20 donation to the Movember cause for every Kiwicare staff member who donates.

The more people I can get on board, the more lives we can impact. I am asking you to join my team and either grow a moustache as a Mo Bro, or join as a Mo Sista to help recruit other gentlemen.

To join my Movember team go to and follow the steps. Once registered you’ll be sent all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of the Kiwicare Mo NO Movember team.

Or you can donate to ‘The Mo NO Team’ or to me ‘David Brittain’.

If you’re interested in learning more about the work that is being carried out as a result of Movember funds, feel free to read the details at

I hope you join me to change the face of men’s health.

Never put anything on paper, my boy, and never trust a man with a small black moustache. – P. G. WODEHOUSE

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is Your Home Being Eaten from the Inside Out?

In New Zealand our older housing stock is weakening each year as more wood boring beetle damage is accumulated. The larvae of the common wood boring beetles (Anobium punctatum and Leanobium flavomaculatum) are slow eaters; they chew through the interior of untreated timbers for 2-4 years before emerging from the wood between October and March. As they emerge they open the small (2-3mm) holes in the surface of the wood that we identify as borer or woodworm infestation. When we see these holes in our weatherboards, architraves, skirting, floorboards and furniture we only see the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The vast majority of the damage is within the timber where a labyrinth of tunnels has weakened the wood.
Floor board showing majority of damage in lower half

Thankfully borer do not damage timbers as quickly as termites. If the slow increase in holes is noticed at all, the progress of the damage is often ignored for years. Each year the floor boards might creak a little more and the weatherboards might take a little more filling before painting; but until a floor board fails and you fall through, or the weatherboards start to rot because of water penetrating the borer holes, you may not be aware that your home is in danger.

It might take more than 50 years for damage to accumulate to the point of failure but the number of homes reaching such a venerable and vulnerable age is increasing. It is estimated that over six hundred thousand New Zealand homes are now over 50 years old.

Borer tend to attack softer timbers, so the older houses with structural timbers made of good quality heartwood are likely to be structurally safe, but even these houses often have decorative or non-structural timbers of softer sapwood. We often see weatherboards or floorboards riddled with borer holes next to undamaged boards. Even the same board may be heavily damaged in one area and undamaged elsewhere.

In the 1950s preservative timber treatment was introduced to new buildings and this has protected many timber homes of less than 60 years of age, but not all later houses used treated timbers and treatment loses effectiveness over time; it should not be expected the treatment will give protection for more than 50 years. There are many homes older than 50 years with susceptible timbers and the slow chewing of borer beetle larvae is now making more and more timbers fail. It might be too late for some parts of older houses but the borer damage can be stopped or at least slowed greatly by the use of protective borer products.

The cool damp conditions found in the south of New Zealand suit borer well and the homes of Southland, Otago and Canterbury suffer more than most from the ravages of borer. Borer control can be carried out effectively by the use of borer fluids that penetrate deep into the affected timbers and provide protection for many years. Even the timbers that are hard to reach such as roof timbers and floor timbers can be given protection by the use of borer fumigators during the flight season. These kill the adult beetles that have emerged from the flight holes and stop them mating and laying their eggs back on the timbers. There are also aerosol injectors that can be used to treat individual flight holes in damaged painted or varnished wood. This will kill larvae deep within the wood and prevent eggs being laid in the holes.

This is a good time to examine your home for sign of borer infestation. I suggest looking for fresh flight holes. These will have a clean appearance inside the hole. It may take examining the holes with a magnifying lens. Sand like dust known as frass may also fall out of the flight holes when the wood is given a tap. So check your home and protect it from damage now before you fall through the floor.

Surveyor: “This house is a structurally unsound. I wonder what is keeping it from falling down.
Owner: “I think the woodworm (borer larvae) are holding hands.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spider and Bug Proof Your Home

How to Control Crawling Insect Pests and Spiders

Crawling insects are effectively controlled by treating surfaces with NO Bugs Super. Insects that contact treated surfaces are rapidly killed and in many cases the surfaces become repellent to insects and so acts as a barrier to insect pests.

Surface treatment using NO Bugs Super will give long term control of cockroaches, ants, spiders, silverfish, carpet beetle, booklice, fleas and other crawling pests. Insects and spiders are killed after they contact the treated surfaces and insecticide will not be inhaled by people or pets using the rooms. Spray around doorways and windows, skirtings, kick boards and the floor surfaces where insect pests have been seen crawling.
  • Before you begin – If the areas to be treated are dusty or greasy it is good practise to clean these down first to prevent runs and for the best effect of the treatment. Cover or remove all fish tanks, pets, food, food utensils, food preparation surfaces, clothes, toys and bedding. Pull furniture away from walls so that you can get a clear run of spraying rather than having to stop to move each item of furniture.
  • Crawling insects and spiders inside – Apply NO Bugs Super as a coarse mist around the edges of rooms, against skirting boards and kick boards. Pay particular attention to places where insect pests might gain entry to each room.
  • Crawling insects and spiders outside – Crawling insect pests and spiders can be controlled before they get a chance to enter your home. Spraying the exterior with NO Bugs Super acts as a barrier to many pests and will prevent the unsightly appearance of spider webbing build up around the home. Spray a band around the base of a ll external walls. Pay particular attention to doorways and around windows and vents. For spiders pay attention to gutters* and downpipes and other areas where spiders hide or build webs.
  • Choose a still day with a for cast of dry conditions for the next 6 hours. Apply NO Bugs Super as a coarse mist to exterior walls, window frames, door frames, vents, pergolas and other surfaces which pest insects and spiders might contact.
  • Note: Pyrethroids are broken down by UV light and have a shorter life in bright sunlight so a second spray in such areas will increase efficacy. NO Bugs Super is formulated to resist breakdown by UV light. Also pyrethrins are slower to work in higher temperatures; so on warm days the flies may take longer to die after contact.
  • Many spiders, particularly white tail spiders, and crawling insect pests will hide and infest voids around a house such as roof and ceiling voids. Kiwicare NO Bugs Bug Bombs and Borafume fumigators are ideal for eliminating spiders and insects in difficult to treat places such as these voids. The fumigants penetrate through the voids leaving nowhere for spiders and insects to hide.


  • Porous surfaces that absorb the spray may require a second treatment once the first one has dried completely.
  • Do not over spray walls. Avoid spraying to point where liquid spray runs down the wall. If spray beads and runs, spray more lightly and repeat after first spray has dried.

Why did the fly fly?
Because the spider spied her.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Fly Proof Your Home

“One spray lasts all summer long.”

NO Bugs Super Professional Strength is the best general purpose insecticide for eradicating and controlling spiders and a range of crawling and flying insect pests in and around home, office, factory and shop. One treatment of a home will last for up to 6 months.

The new professional strength formula provides the same level of protection from pest insects and spiders as you would expect from a professional pest control company…….but at a fraction of the cost. Here we will describe how and where to use the product to get the same level of protection as that you would expect from a professional treatment.

NO Bugs Super is:
  • Available in both a handy Ready To Use spray and as a Concentrate for making up enough spray to bug proof a whole building.
  • NO Bugs Super provides control of most crawling and flying insects, including cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, ants, spiders (including white tail spiders), carpet beetle, silverfish and many others.
  • Due to its UV stability NO Bugs Super provides control of pests both indoors and out all summer long.
  • It does not stain or smell.
  • Applied correctly it is safe around children and pets making it the perfect product for use around the home.
  • Made in New Zealand for New Zealand pests and conditions.
  • It is effective, easy to use and cost efficient.
How to use NO Bugs Super

NO Bugs Super concentrate is formulated for dilution with clean water. The dilution rate varies depending on the circumstances of use. Check the dilution rates on the container and select the one for your situation. Trigger sprayers or clean garden sprayers can be used.

Learn – How to Mix Concentrates

The ready to use trigger spray is ideal for treating small areas or as a ‘top up’ treatment of particularly vulnerable areas but is unlikely to be sufficient to treat and entire house.

How To Control Flying Insects

It is rarely possible to entirely prevent flies and flying pests from entering buildings if doors and windows are open but the numbers can be kept to minimum and flying insects killed soon after entering.

  • Surface treatment using NO Bugs Super (or NO Flies) will give long term control of flies. Flies are killed after they land on the treated surfaces and insecticide will not be inhaled by people or pets using the rooms. Spray the surfaces that you see flies landing on; these are often the edges of doorways and window frames, light fittings, ceilings, tops of walls and wall corners.
  • Before you begin – If the areas to be treated are dusty or greasy it is good practise to clean these down first to prevent runs and for the best effect of the treatment. Cover or remove all fish tanks, pets, food, food utensils, food preparation surfaces, clothes, toys and bedding. Pull furniture away from walls so that you can get a clear run of spraying rather than having to stop to move each item of furniture.
  • Flies inside – Apply NO Bugs Super as a coarse mist to walls (especially edges), ceiling, window frames, entrance ways, doors, porches, and areas where flies congregate.
  • Flies outside – It is more difficult to deal with flies outside as it may not be possible to treat areas not within your control and there can be no way to proof against flies. However, there are ways to minimise the nuisance. Search for possible breeding sites of flies. Remove or treat with insecticide any decaying animal or vegetable matter that might provide food for maggots (fly larvae). Check and clean drains.
  • Choose a still day with a forecast of dry conditions for the next 6 hours. Apply NO Bugs Super as a coarse mist to exterior walls, window frames, door frames, pergolas and other fly alighting surfaces.
  • Note: Pyrethroids are broken down by UV light and have a shorter life in bright sunlight so a second spray in such areas will increase efficacy. NO Bugs Super is formulated to resist breakdown by UV light. Also pyrethrins are slower to work in higher temperatures; so on warm days the flies may take longer to die after contact.
  • Baits are being developed for the control of flies outdoors. These may be useful in areas such as compost bins, chicken coops, animal houses etc. In such areas spraying can be less effective because of dust the presence of a great deal of decaying matter to attract the flies.
  • Citronella candles and other repellents can reduce fly numbers in limited areas such as decks and around barbecues. However, windy days will dissipate the repellents rapidly.
  • Personal insect repellent can be useful in preventing flies as well as mosquitoes and sand flies coming close to us. There are synthetic and organic insect repellents available
To Keep Flying Insect Pests To A Minimum Follow these simple principles.
  1. Remove or limit what is attracting the flies.
  2. Remove or treat breeding sites.
  3. Stop them entering by physical barriers.
  4. Use residual surface treatments where entry cannot be prevented.
  5. Use automatic aerosol dispensers in areas of high fly nuisance, but never where food is handled.
  6. Use aerosol insecticide as a quick knockdown but stay out of the sprayed area for as long as possible after use.
Why were the flies playing soccer in the saucer?They where playing for the cup!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bed Bugs Hit the Headlines

What a busy week it has been. My bed bugs blog of a few days ago has been picked up by the media across New Zealand and I and our Chief Chemist and Sales Manager have been fielding questions from newspapers, magazines, radio …..and tomorrow morning, TV.

The increase in bed bug infestations across the world and in New Zealand has obviously hit a nerve with people. If you want to learn more about bed bugs, how to identify them, what signs to look for, how to prevent transporting them around the world or to your home and above all how to get rid of them watch the TVNZ morning show tomorrow (14th October 2010) at 07.35. Martin Carson the Kiwicare Chief Chemist will be interviewed…….he is not taking over from Paul Henry….although I think he would do a very good job of it.

Why do bed bugs not bite lawyers?
The blood suckers might get in first.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Organic Weedkiller

There is growing interest in using natural and organic methods and products to control pests and diseases in the home and garden. However, the definition of natural and organic can be difficult to pin down. There is an argument that everything is natural; even petrochemicals are products made from oil which is formed in a natural process from decaying forests over millions of years. But such arguments miss the point of what it is that users want. They want products of natural origin that are subsequently less damaging to the environment.

There are a growing number of products that have the words natural or organic on the label but that does not necessarily mean that the entire product is natural or organic. An insecticide label may say “contains 100% natural pyrethrum” but that does not tell you whether there are other non-natural contents. For example the synergist piperonyl butoxide is often added to pyrethroid insecticides to increase the effectiveness of the product, this is a synthetic chemical and not natural or organic.

One way of telling whether a product is really organic is to check for certification from one of the recognised organic certification bodies. There are two such bodies in New Zealand, the independent not for profit incorporated society BioGro® and the government owned AsureQuality. Products that display the logos of these organisations have been shown comply with the relevant organic standards.

Some companies in New Zealand have embraced the public movement towards organic products and have developed ranges of certified organic products. Kiwicare has recently added a BioGro certified organic weed killer to its range. The range already includes certified organic fertiliser, caterpillar control, fungicides, insecticides, rodent bait, ant barrier and insect repellent.

Watch your weeds wilt and die within hours with the new organic weed killer. Kiwicare Organic NO Weeds is certified organic by BioGro® and uses a combination of natural technologies to achieve spectacular results. With a combination of both natural pine oils and plant fatty acids in the formulation the product strips the waxy cuticles from weeds and disrupts plant cell walls dehydrating the weed and killing it. The product works fast, particularly on warm dry days.

Then: Killer Weed.
Now: Weed Killer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Else Might You Find in Your Hotel Room?

On my Rarotongan travels the pest I had expected to encounter, but in fact didn’t see at all, was cockroaches. When we are on holiday or travelling in warmer more humid regions of the world one can expect to encounter cockroaches and you should be aware of their habits and how to avoid them bothering you in your hotel room or bringing them home with you.

Cockroaches love warm moist conditions. Those of you in the warmer moister parts of New Zealand are probably well aware of them but those from the cooler drier areas south of Christchurch are only likely to come across them when travelling. Although there are many different species of cockroach their habits have many similarities and so controlling them can be generalised.

Roaches prefer warm, moist and sheltered areas close to food and water but it doesn’t take much food to attract them. So when on holiday don’t leave food in your room or if you do make sure it is well sealed in airtight containers. Although we tend to think of cockroaches as large, their nymphal stages can be quite tiny and so can get into non-airtight containers.

Cockroaches are largely active only at night and hide in cracks and crevices during the day. Their body shape is flattened so that they can squeeze into very small gaps. As nymphs the gaps can be tiny. So as with bed bugs mentioned in a previous blog it is important to place your suitcase where crawling insects will find it hard to access. You don’t want cockroaches to hide in your case where there would be risk of taking them home with you.

Cockroaches lay eggs and egg cases in these cracks and crevices. Egg cases provide protection from insecticides and can remain hidden for months before hatching. So if egg cases were laid in your luggage you could unwittingly transport them home and only discover the infestation months later. You can protect your luggage from cockroaches by spraying with NO Bed Bugs luggage spray or NO Bugs Super prior to or during travel.

Cockroaches in tropical countries can fly. At night you might be woken by cockroaches battering themselves against you bedroom window. This is another good reason to keep your bedroom windows closed at night while in tropical countries or only open them when they are fitted with insect screens. In New Zealand the temperatures, although warm in some parts, re not generally high enough for cockroaches to fly.

Good hotels in tropical countries are used to proactively treating all areas of the hotel against cockroaches (as described below) and so you are only likely to have significant problems with cockroaches in accommodation premises with lower standards. Cockroaches are not just a nuisance pest; they are carriers of disease organisms. They can be found moving from drains, sewers and detritus to food preparation areas; kitchens, dinning rooms etc. and can be one of the ways that you can be at risk of picking up stomach bugs. You can reduce the risks of illness by maintaining good personal hygiene while on holiday. Wash your hands regularly or use NO Germs Hand Sanitiser after touching any surfaces that could be contaminated. Also avoid restaurants which might have lower standards and only eat food or drink water that you are confident has been cooked or boiled to high enough temperature to eliminate micro-organisms.

If you do bring cockroaches home with you, or you have a cockroach problem in your home carry out treatment as follows:

Place NO Cockroach Gel Bait in areas such as behind fridges and freezers, in rear of cupboards and areas where cockroaches have been seen. The bait will kill feeding cockroaches, those that these individuals regurgitate food for and those that cannibalise them after they die.

Knock down adults and immature cockroaches using NO Cockroaches (or NO Bugs) fumigators in each affected room. The fumigant penetrates into the nooks and crannies where cockroaches hide. Remove all dead cockroaches after treatment as females may be carrying eggs that could still hatch.

Spray around likely cockroach hiding places such as behind, ovens, fridges, freezers, cupboards etc. with NO Cockroaches or NO Bugs Super residual surface sprays. These give long lasting protection.

You can also spray accessible cracks and crevices with NO Bugs Crack and Crevice Spray or NO Borer Injector to flush out cockroaches and deny them these harbourages.

Also set NO Cockroaches Traps and NO Cockroach Gel Bait in affected areas. These will give early indication and control of any re-infestation.

Where do bed bugs save?
In blood banks.