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Old 11-08-2014, 21:29   #1
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Something's Bugging Me...

I am endlessly amazed by how fertile this country (Panama) is. Things grow. All the time, and at an amazing rate.

I'm not talking about the jungle. I'm talking about our boat. It would fascinating if it wasn't so gross. Amongst other curiosities, so far we have discovered:

1. A strange creature that lives in flour and spins some kind of all-encompassing cocoon which then spills out in floury tendrils as you pour.

2. Dark cupboard paper worms which live under the labels of sauce bottles and eat the damp paper.

3. Long-legged danglers that look like they are having trouble supporting their own body weight and make mud nests on our radar.

4. Tea bag mold. A disaster when you're down to your last box of Yorkshire tea!

Add to that your common or garden weevils and fruit flies, and it makes for a boat in which foodstuffs don't have a very long shelf life.

So what I'm after is all your wonderful expert cruisers tips for avoidance of pests in the tropics. Help this newbie out. I lost my last packet of lasagne sheets to weevils yesterday and it nearly sent me over the edge.
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Old 11-08-2014, 23:13   #2
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Re: Something's bugging me...

To bad but it's not happening to everybody down there. You probably need to rummage your boat and bug bomb the hell out of it. After that keep track of the stuff you bring aboard.
They have flying swarms of termites in Costa Rica that will eat all the wood in your boat if you are in their path. You are much better off than that.
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Old 11-08-2014, 23:51   #3
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Re: Something's bugging me...

We washed all our fruit and vegetables before brining aboard. You will be amazed what will come out of a bunch of bananas! Just dip them in the sea and rinse.

Never take cardboard on as this can carry more than just cockroaches eggs.

Now your infested you have to throw everything out clean like crazy and then bom the boat. Starve them out if you can

I had an ant problem that took me months to get rid off just eat the weevils

Good luck you have a constant battle on your hand!


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Old 12-08-2014, 00:14   #4
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Re: Something's bugging me...

Being careful with cleaning things before they are brought aboard is excellent advise above as well as the statement about discarding cardboard and some packaging before taking it aboard. In addition, I would use a number of air tight containers, especially for dry items like the tea. Fruits will ripen faster in the sealed containers, but this can be managed. Wether anchored out or at a dock, any increased distance from shore helps too!
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Old 12-08-2014, 13:18   #5
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

It's been my experience that dry packaged - especially cardboard boxed - foods come from the factory with free moth and weevil eggs included.

The only sure way to prevent them hatching is to hard freeze the package for 3-5 days.

Keeping them out isn't the problem they come from the store with it.

A minute in the microwave might do it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 14:15   #6
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

in Panama (forgotten exactly where) there was a wooden boat hauled out and this termite mud line right up its keel to the top of the hull then continued up and INTO the deck. I could see it from 50 meters away but noone had taken the time to get rid of it. No doubt the inside of the boat was ruined...
Don't haul your boat in panama for storage!
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Old 12-08-2014, 14:22   #7
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

by the way----cucaroches FLY
so do spidey and termites and wasps and other lovelies.
in tropics..you WILL be infested by something.

buy lotsa poison and use it regularly. entire topsides and hold areas and lines and dock. all ofit. every week, in summer..... rodlmffao.

use screens on ports or get what you ask for . you invited em by not using window protection. do not forget mosquitos are carriers of diseases you dont want.
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Old 12-08-2014, 14:51   #8
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Unfortunately insects fly on board, including some species of cockroaches. Lots of nasties can also crawl on board via mooring lines. I think it's a losing battle in many areas. Best you can do is store food (hopefully uncontaminated to start with) in glass or food grade plastic, or tins etc. Plastic bags aren't enough protection, many insects can chew through those.

I know storage of glass is harder on board and often not recommended, but it keeps food uncontaminated by the smell of plastic (I find even food grade plastic a problem in the heat). Nice to see what is inside too and I've been grateful for that several times. I bought packaged camomile tea once and immediately transferred it to a glass jar. It looked like there were more insects than tea in there when it had been sitting a while (I opened it underwater well away from the boat). Yuk!

I store glass either wrapped in bubble wrap or divided by closed cell foam. Not what everyone prefers, but don't dismiss the idea.

Edited to add: I was slow typing and Zee beat me to it regarding flying things
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Old 12-08-2014, 15:25   #9
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

sl!!! ha ha ha! and i has fail wifi on top of all... slowest in world, i can bet....

as for glass--YES!!! ye use it at home on land. this is your home, why not take advantage of the benefits. this IS my home, and i will use what i will use..lol i do use glass and i have broken some. is why the gods made vacuum cleaners and wet cloth rags.

lil secret for those HUGE scary looking RED wasps..... hang a small brown paper bag making it look like a wasp nest--inside your cockpit enclosure, and under tarps...lol y0u will be surprised how wonderful life is without the damanable red huger than horses wasps --and their sting WILL put ye in a hospital.
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Old 12-08-2014, 15:29   #10
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Emma,

First off, you may have done nothing to bring this on yourself other than lack of experience. It is easy to not realize you have an infestation when you don't recognize the young stages of the insects for what they are. They multiply and get ahead of you.

The cure, as stated above, is to remove all your foodstuffs and repackage individually those that are not infested. (If the eggs are in there and hatch, then you only have to throw out one, not the whole supply.) Count on flour, rice, pasta to have weevils and moth eggs in them, and isolating them works. Sift flour before use. Baking the product will sterilize it.

Clean every locker thoroughly. Bomb the boat with a cockroach bomb (it will kill lots of critters if any are left after your cleaning.

Dry stores like flour, beans, rice, all can be safely stored in glass jars, or airtight tins, and airtight plastics. You'll work it out. It's hard on a 32 footer, and maybe you don't want to use glass, but airtight is the way to go. Less than that, whatever you get is likely to get infested even if it isn't when you buy it.

Zeehag's right about the screens. I use cockroach surface spray to spray all our screens, then the no-see-ums don't fly in. I don't spray every week, usually once a month does it with the 3 month spray.

Most if not all of us who have cruised for extended periods, will have fought at least one insect battle. And eventually we win--and so will you.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Ann
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Old 12-08-2014, 16:53   #11
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Maybe a "pet"?

I was sleeping in my TT once when a Kermit-looking green tree frog splat landed on my face.

Tossed it across the room and it landed in the sink before scampering out of sight.

I later saw it gobble a small roach on the counter top - then realized I had far fewer roaches than previously - he was a hungry little Kermit.

Maybe a green tree frog and a lizard or two as roomates?
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Old 12-08-2014, 18:50   #12
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Convince a pair of geckos to move in with you.
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Old 12-08-2014, 19:14   #13
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Even in my house in Singapore we use airtight mason jars but for a boat I recommend 1 quart ziplocs.

All the advice about cardboard, cleaning fruit and vegie etc is excellent. But ziplocs are awesome - The conform to any shape, don't break etc.
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Old 12-08-2014, 19:29   #14
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pirate Re: Something's Bugging Me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
Convince a pair of geckos to move in with you.
i had a pair of gekkos on coaach house roof when i left la cruz de huanacaxtle, and i saw em in zihuatenejo, but they died or were eaten before we left zihuat--- when i had been here some 13 months i saw a bunch of white lizzies with dark gry spots on each side--- now i am seeing same only in tan... love lizzies on boat--means no tan mucho insectos.

aarrgghh.. today i saw and dispo'd 3 times a red wasp..HUGE damnthing....and its multiplex condominium for multiple faamilies.....gads... so that went swimming....and next thing for the entire day this HUGE red wasp gagchokecough was inside my home made cockpit enclosure (waddaya thinki yam , rich?? LOL) .. i sprayed it with killer bug spray, but it wasnt THE killer stuff, apparently, as the damthing kept omyaand 6 inches from eyeballs...scream....(hay i didnt wet pants..lol) and went inside... went back out, looaded my hose with bleach and soap powder and i am ready again.. bring it on, uhoh...
went to friiends for movie and dinner--- no vispas... came back--ohfrogs,they made another holysheetsnestdammit,ohcrap.....so i loaded the hose yet again, turned on the water, walked to the guard shack..lol some shack... and asked who rids valeros of vispas...so they had to see. ohyeahthey saw and chatted and talked, and ..... as usual, it was the skinniest one with the loongest stick with a hook on end ridded boat of the (deadly plague) vispas.... and another young man went up my rats to finish the job so mama wont return to make more nest... then i sprayed bleach and soap onto the former nest area. so please cross yer eyes, toes, fingers, whateevvaaahh, and hope the damscarythings dont come back.i am truly tired of insectos.
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Old 12-08-2014, 19:36   #15
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Re: Something's Bugging Me...

If you have access to AC power when you bring supplies aboard I would recommend a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. Take everything out of cardboard and vacuum seal it right away. If you buy pastas, rices, cereals and flour in bulk you can divide it into smaller batches so not as much open at once to get contaminated. It also protects food from moisture. And the sealed bags can be stored anywhere in odd shaped spaces with no fear of breakage. The bags are much thicker and more airtight than your basic Ziplock bag.

We have used the Foodsaver for many other things aboard that we wanted to protect from moisture; important documents, parts, etc. And, as with glass, the bags are clear so if something is already hatching you will see it and can dispose of the whole bag without opening and releasing anything.
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