semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy


Dale Ghent
 

I've been running my club's domed observatory for a while now and one of the things I've added is a large machine/tooling dust cover to the setup while it's not in use. It's breathable (there is always air circulating in the obsy with a dehumidifier) and the intent is to keep the various bits of dust and debris that blow in under the dome ring from settling on the OTA and mount. The occasional mud dauber will also find its way in and start constructing its nest on the underside of the dome, raining dirt down on things below. All in all it has been working great for that and the OTA and mount remain quite clean.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that spiders also like the cover and I now find myself having to clear out webs and bits of spider silk more often than I've had to in the past. I like our spider friends as they keep other insects in check, but I just don't like them using a TOA-150 and 1200GTO as a frame for their constructions. I've been thinking of chemical deterrents and have thought of hanging a cotton bag with a block of camphor in it underneath the rig, but I'm not sure if that's the best maneuver or even wise given the outgassing of camphor. Mothballs are right out due to all their carcinogenic reasons. Has anyone had this problem before and have found a suitable deterrent?

/dale


Joseph Beyer
 

Some of the pyrethrin-based insecticides, which tend to be less toxic to mammals have sustained activity.  In particular there are sprays or formulations that claim to give one to several months of activity.  I use an Ortho product that is called a perimeter defense that is stated to provide 6 months of activity.  After drying it is essentially odorless and from what I've observed seems to be quite effective.  I have a small weather station in my yard and the spiders find it very inviting.  Once or twice a year I'll open it up and wipe a thin coating of the perimeter defense spray inside and it helps a lot in keeping the critters out.

I think the pyrethrin-based insecticides that are used for subterranean termites are even more prolonged in activity since they're injected into the ground around structures.

Joe


Joel Short
 

I do two things.  
1.  Twice per year (early Spring and early Fall) I spray an insecticide called Tempo SC Ultra on the outside walls and perimeter of my roll off roof obs.  This stuff works great, for other areas of the house too.
2.  I put a little bit of peppermint extract in a small spray bottle and once a month I spray the inside of the obs, especially around any cracks.

I haven't seen a spider in years in my obs; wasps are a completely different story.  Nothing deters those buggers.

joel


Joseph Beyer
 

Right, another synthetic pyrethrin.  The most effective control for hornets/yellow jackets and wasps is to catch one to two, identify the species and hang traps that have a pheromone specific for that species.  It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between them by looking at the head and abdomen banding.  A trap made some doesn’t work on all. 

On Sep 17, 2021, at 1:51 PM, Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...> wrote:

I do two things.  
1.  Twice per year (early Spring and early Fall) I spray an insecticide called Tempo SC Ultra on the outside walls and perimeter of my roll off roof obs.  This stuff works great, for other areas of the house too.
2.  I put a little bit of peppermint extract in a small spray bottle and once a month I spray the inside of the obs, especially around any cracks.

I haven't seen a spider in years in my obs; wasps are a completely different story.  Nothing deters those buggers.

joel


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Bear in mind the biggest predator of spiders is probably wasps, depending what part of the world you are in.  Be careful of getting rid of all the wasps.

 

Hobson’s choice.  😊

 

If you can figure out what the spiders are eating that may get you closer.  If it’s flying insects, check if you have any light, even infrared light, maybe even warm electronics up in those places that might attract flying insects.  If it’s crawling insects an insecticide barrier may stop their food source.

 

But I find webs even where there’s just no light and seemingly no insects. Tenacious little critters.

 

Nanobots needed (and a NINA plugin to control them).

 


Woody Schlom
 

Joe,

 

Thanks for suggesting pyrethrin based products.  I hadn’t thought of that.  I’ve used them on camping gear and clothing with success against mosquitos and the like.  You spray the stuff onto fabrics (clothes, tents, etc. in my case) and when it’s dry, it lasts at least 6 months – even through several washing machine cycles.

 

According to what I’ve read, it’s poisonous to everything (including humans) while wet after application, but only harms (kills) insects when dry.  And it kills on contact somehow – even months later.

 

I’m thinking that it should indeed work in an observatory – sprayed onto covers, walls, ceiling, floor.  BUT you have to be very careful spraying the stuff – as in cover yourself in a complete disposable painter’s outfit AND wear a fancy chemical rated respirator.  I’d think one specifically designed and rated for spray painting should work well.

 

Woody

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io [mailto:main@ap-gto.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joseph Beyer
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 1:46 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy

 

Some of the pyrethrin-based insecticides, which tend to be less toxic to mammals have sustained activity.  In particular there are sprays or formulations that claim to give one to several months of activity.  I use an Ortho product that is called a perimeter defense that is stated to provide 6 months of activity.  After drying it is essentially odorless and from what I've observed seems to be quite effective.  I have a small weather station in my yard and the spiders find it very inviting.  Once or twice a year I'll open it up and wipe a thin coating of the perimeter defense spray inside and it helps a lot in keeping the critters out.

I think the pyrethrin-based insecticides that are used for subterranean termites are even more prolonged in activity since they're injected into the ground around structures.

Joe


Bill Long
 

For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...>
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 1:51 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy
 
I do two things.  
1.  Twice per year (early Spring and early Fall) I spray an insecticide called Tempo SC Ultra on the outside walls and perimeter of my roll off roof obs.  This stuff works great, for other areas of the house too.
2.  I put a little bit of peppermint extract in a small spray bottle and once a month I spray the inside of the obs, especially around any cracks.

I haven't seen a spider in years in my obs; wasps are a completely different story.  Nothing deters those buggers.

joel


Joel Short
 

On Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 04:19 PM, Bill Long wrote:
For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. 
I do use decoy nests.  I put two up near the OBS and I do think that it helps some. But every year I still get a nest in the same place, despite leaving their old nest up too.  
joel


Joseph Beyer
 

"For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. "

Agree, this is the best case 
scenario.  All serve a purpose by eliminating a lot of the nuisance bugs despite their reputation.  There are hornet and yellow jacket workers all over our garden and we all seem to coexist pretty well.  I've been stung way to many times in other situations that leads to swelling of the affected body part like week-old road kill.  When one becomes a bit too aggressive it's hard to suppress the flight instinct that only serves to give anyone within a several yard radius one hell of a great show.   


Bill Long
 

Place a small planter box with some herbs in it there. They will avoid that spot after.


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...>
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 2:41 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy
 
On Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 04:19 PM, Bill Long wrote:
For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. 
I do use decoy nests.  I put two up near the OBS and I do think that it helps some. But every year I still get a nest in the same place, despite leaving their old nest up too.  
joel


M Hambrick
 

Hi Dale

I used to feel the same as you about spiders and left them alone so they would eat the other insects. That was a mistake. Once they get a foothold they are hard to get rid of. 

As for wasps and hornets, the mud daubers are the worst. It is very difficult to completely remove the residue from their mud nests. I suggest aggressively controlling these insects.

I like pyrethrin insecticides, but the Ortho Home Defense spray also seems to be pretty effective at controlling many insects, but I am not sure about spiders. If you spray the perimeter of the observatory inside and out a couple times a year at ground level and where the roof retracts that should help.

Spiders don't like light. you could also consider adding some windows and leave the shades up except when you are observing.

Mike


Michael Hamburg
 

My biggest problem has always ben mice! The best approach has been spring traps to keep down the population from breeding. There is no 100% elimination when you are in the country.

Best wishes, Michael


On Saturday, September 18, 2021, 10:04:33 AM EDT, M Hambrick <mhambrick563@...> wrote:


Hi Dale

I used to feel the same as you about spiders and left them alone so they would eat the other insects. That was a mistake. Once they get a foothold they are hard to get rid of. 

As for wasps and hornets, the mud daubers are the worst. It is very difficult to completely remove the residue from their mud nests. I suggest aggressively controlling these insects.

I like pyrethrin insecticides, but the Ortho Home Defense spray also seems to be pretty effective at controlling many insects, but I am not sure about spiders. If you spray the perimeter of the observatory inside and out a couple times a year at ground level and where the roof retracts that should help.

Spiders don't like light. you could also consider adding some windows and leave the shades up except when you are observing.

Mike


Andrea Lucchetti
 

In my old observatory I built an aluminum wall around the pier, 60 cm height. It was actually a defense line wide enough to include the rack with electronics. The walls were flat to avoid the mice climbing. That after the first attack in which they chewed all the cables 😂


Mike Dodd
 

On 9/18/2021 10:51 AM, Michael Hamburg via groups.io wrote:
My biggest problem has always ben mice!
Last summer mice built a large nest in the open area beneath my 1200's RA assembly. After removing it, I set a trap with peanut butter bait, but never caught a mouse. Same this year -- a small nest, but no trapped mice.

There was a pile of leaves and grass behind the computer monitor in the NE corner, so I'm sure they were coming in via the ROR support track --
up the diagonal brace, along the track, and through the track gap in the gable end.

This year I installed aluminum screening around the top of the track support posts (image attached). So far, so good.

When I built the observatory, I glued screening to the pier and the sides of hole in the floor as a "critter screen" to keep out everything prowling on the ground. <http://astronomy.mdodd.com/observatory.html#CritterScreen>

--- Mike


Peter Nagy
 

I don't have an observatory but every Spring maybe in April, if I see wasp trying to build a nest in my backyard, I use a fly swatter to wack as many wasps as I can and at least one of them is a queen, they never seem to swarm my yard again until next year. It's usually no more than 10 wasps a year to wack them.

Peter


Phillip Klein
 

Hello,

Seeing the emails about critters prompted me to send the photo of the critter that strolled by last night . The image was captured on my game camera. The mountain lion is approximately 100 feet from the concrete pier of my telescope which was not in use at the time. Perhaps I need to keep a can of bear spray next to me but on the other hand if I was present the lion would likely never have walked by
My site is located on the central coast of California on the east side of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Wishing you clear skies!

Phil

On Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 2:19 PM Bill Long <bill@...> wrote:
For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...>
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 1:51 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy
 
I do two things.  
1.  Twice per year (early Spring and early Fall) I spray an insecticide called Tempo SC Ultra on the outside walls and perimeter of my roll off roof obs.  This stuff works great, for other areas of the house too.
2.  I put a little bit of peppermint extract in a small spray bottle and once a month I spray the inside of the obs, especially around any cracks.

I haven't seen a spider in years in my obs; wasps are a completely different story.  Nothing deters those buggers.

joel


thefamily90 Phillips
 

Wow! Very nice!!


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Phillip Klein <klein.phillip@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 12:45:50 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy
 
Hello,

Seeing the emails about critters prompted me to send the photo of the critter that strolled by last night . The image was captured on my game camera. The mountain lion is approximately 100 feet from the concrete pier of my telescope which was not in use at the time. Perhaps I need to keep a can of bear spray next to me but on the other hand if I was present the lion would likely never have walked by
My site is located on the central coast of California on the east side of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Wishing you clear skies!

Phil

On Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 2:19 PM Bill Long <bill@...> wrote:
For the wasps you can use decoy nests. It does not kill them, but you can basically decide where they will go. 


From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Joel Short <buckeyestargazer@...>
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 1:51 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] semi-OT: deterring critters in the obsy
 
I do two things.  
1.  Twice per year (early Spring and early Fall) I spray an insecticide called Tempo SC Ultra on the outside walls and perimeter of my roll off roof obs.  This stuff works great, for other areas of the house too.
2.  I put a little bit of peppermint extract in a small spray bottle and once a month I spray the inside of the obs, especially around any cracks.

I haven't seen a spider in years in my obs; wasps are a completely different story.  Nothing deters those buggers.

joel


Joseph Beyer
 

Really nice!  I live in a suburban neighborhood not far from open space on the San Francisco peninsula and we've got a variety of critters around including lots of deer.  The other night I was pulling the car into the garage and close by heard one of the neighborhood deer getting attacked by "something".  Looked in the rearview mirror and saw a young mountain lion run right in back of the car and off down the street.  When I'm out imaging at night the 8 foot fence around the yard is constantly vibrating due to animals jumping on and off in other yards.  So far worst I've had is families of raccoons and opossums come down the fence line in back of me.  I'm just waiting for the night when it's a bobcat or bigger.   


Phillip Klein
 

Hi Joseph,

A couple of years ago a mountain lion killed a deer in front of our home in north San Diego County, Solana Beach. I heard a strange noise about 5:00 am. Someone or something was in distress but I had never heard that sound before so went back to bed. Next morning I saw the aftermath and understood it was the deer I heard. The end of our cul de sac borders a lagoon preserve which supports a small herd of deer and an occasional mountain lion. The animal control officer that picked up the deer said, "Yes, that was a big kitty cat."
 

On Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 11:30 AM Joseph Beyer <jcbeyer2001@...> wrote:
Really nice!  I live in a suburban neighborhood not far from open space on the San Francisco peninsula and we've got a variety of critters around including lots of deer.  The other night I was pulling the car into the garage and close by heard one of the neighborhood deer getting attacked by "something".  Looked in the rearview mirror and saw a young mountain lion run right in back of the car and off down the street.  When I'm out imaging at night the 8 foot fence around the yard is constantly vibrating due to animals jumping on and off in other yards.  So far worst I've had is families of raccoons and opossums come down the fence line in back of me.  I'm just waiting for the night when it's a bobcat or bigger.   


Joseph Beyer
 

It's a spooky sound.  Sitting out next to the telescope and hearing a deer being killed in the neighbor's yard leaves a person feeling a bit exposed.  I still prefer the four legged neighbors rather than the two legged variety!  

There have been a number guys in the local astronomy club using the darker regional parks who have had experiences with the local mountain lions.  For whatever reason a lion approached the groups after dark and let out a few big cat howls.  The call of the wild was followed by a rapid packing of vehicles and calling it a night.