Trained as an entomologist, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Fred Eller still has a soft place in his heart for insect-related research. When he noticed ants climbing up the pole of his backyard hummingbird feeder to steal sugar water from birds, he didn't like it.
"I had read that ants didn't cross cedar mulch, so I put a string around the bottom of the pole and covered it with cedarwood oil," he says. "For two years, I didn't have any ants going up that pole. Then, the piece of string rotted and fell off, and the ants came back."
Eller - ARS - National - Center - Agricultural
Eller, who works at ARS's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, theorized that cedarwood oil would also repel or kill other types of insects. Collaborating with other ARS scientists, he tested the oil
against houseflies, ticks, and mosquitoes. "It killed them all. It was also repellent against economic pests such as the little fire ant in Hawaii and the red imported fire ant," he says. These studies were published in Environmental Entomology in 2014 and in Hawaiian Entomological Society Proceedings in 2015.
Hardwood - Eastern - Cedar - States - Chests
The reddish hardwood of Eastern red cedar, which is native to 37 states, is highly prized for making chests, closet liners, fenceposts, and other products. However, it is considered an invasive species because of its encroachment onto U.S. pastures and rangeland. It is also a host for cedar-apple rust and must be removed near apple orchards to prevent the disease.
It's been said that there are more red cedars now than there were in the late 1400s, because the natural, periodic wildfires...
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