Month: January 2017

Dealing with rats then wasps

RATS

While we were away in Pangkor Island rats took advantage of the quiet and moved into our ceiling.  Web sites say lay traps to catch them, but they were too smart / not hungry – anyway, they didn’t work.

What we found did work was simply keeping on a light that would illuminate the cavity area.  Brilliant! They moved out and haven’t been back.

WASPS

img_1777-copy

img_1779-copy

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a local building issuing a lot of smoke – but it wasn’t fogging for mosquitoes, and it wasn’t on fire.  An hour or two later we noticed a wasp / bee nest on a branch of one of our large potted trees.  Scary.

I checked the web for self-help solutions, combined ideas, and then did the following:

I moved all other plants away so they wouldn’t get sprayed

Trimmed the tree a little, but wasps were flying around so I couldn’t get very close, and couldn’t do a good job.

Waited until dusk, when they would be less active, but I could still see a little

Turned outside lights on that were not in the direction I would stand

Had a quick escape route if necessary

Ensured I had antihistamines nearby in case of multiple stings.  You can also put ice on stings to help.

Mapped out a route to the nearest hospital in my mind, so I could quickly drive there if necessary

Got two cans of insect spray – for bigger insects like flies etc.

Put on thick socks, Wellington boots, thick trousers, shirt, scarf around neck, hat, raincoat, plastic poncho with hood, gardening gloves – in light colours as they prefer dark colours, and it’s also easier to see if any land on you if your clothes are light.  Kind of like a Ghostbuster outfit

There was very little movement at the nest by now – they were tired after a hard day moving house, I guess

Stood up wind about six feet / two metres from the nest and then directed both sprays against the nest.  The nest appeared to be wasps sitting on wasps all the way to the centre of the nest, so the whole thing just collapsed into an array of bodies on the floor after spraying for a minute or two.  Most were not moving, but some were – very few flew, and none landed on me. I sprayed in the air around me, then moved a little closer and sprayed the floor where the moving ones were

An hour later I returned and washed the bodies away, washed all the foliage of the plants to try to remove insecticide, and washed the floor – which was slippery

The next morning I strung up brown paper bags in the gardens as wasps won’t set up house near where other nests are, and they think the paper bags are nests.  When it rains they’ll become soggy, but in all the years we’ve been here this is the first problem we’ve had with wasps, so it’s unlikely we’ll have another anytime soon.  I just didn’t want any wasps that might have survived returning to set up home again.

And I moved all plants back and watered them

This all worked and I wasn’t stung at all.  Here is a dead one the next morning.

img_1780-copy

And a fake wasp home

img_1782-copy

Happy New Year

It’s New Year.  I love this time of year.  It’s very quiet – you can actually cross the roads on foot.  And the air seemed different walking around at about 8AM this morning.  It seemed like the weather was changing. The wind was different. Not that I’m predicting anything, as it’s not a forte of mine. At other times during Chinese New Year the roads are packed as everyone goes out by car at the same time.  But at least the first morning is quiet.  I tracked down a lion dance – I love these.

 

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Jpeg

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in January 2017

Well, again not so much has changed. Every time I think the wet season has ended it rains again.  It has been cool and rainy for most of January, too.  But a lot of Malaysia has been flooding, which thankfully we’re not having a problem with.

rainy sometimes, dry and sunny sometimes and they seem to do OK

rainy sometimes, dry and sunny sometimes and they seem to do OK

rainy sometimes, dry and sunny sometimes and they seem to do OK

rainy sometimes, dry and sunny sometimes and they seem to do OK

small Crepe Ginger are growing well

small Crepe Ginger are growing well

lime is flowering and fruiting

lime is flowering and fruiting and growing new leaves

I'm pruning the passion fruit vines now

I’m pruning the passion fruit vines now

however, there are still a few passion fruit growing, and some new flowers, too

however, there are still a few passion fruit growing, and some new flowers, too

smaller mock orange are flowering

smaller mock orange are flowering

grape vine growing - a grasshopper was eating it until we caught it

grape-vine growing – a grasshopper was eating it until we caught it

the best thing this month is the egg plant plant

the best thing this month is the egg-plant plant

lots of tiny eggplants to put in curry

lots of tiny eggplants to put in curry

So it’s been about six months now with not too many changes.  As that’s how long it’s been rainy and cool.

A walk to a very quiet beach on Pangkor Island

We just spent a few days on Pangkor Island.  Previous blogs are here on the ten best things to do in Pangkor, here on hornbills, here in comparison to Langkawi, and the first one, here.

At the end of the best beach, Coral Beach – near Nippah Bay (not to be confused with Coral Bay – which is a few minutes drive away) – is a Chinese temple.  You can follow a track after the bridge behind the temple and find a few small beaches, but probably find no one else.  It’s only a few minutes walk and flip-flops are fine.

Chinese Temple at the end of Coral Beach

Chinese Temple at the end of Coral Beach

Bridge behind temple

Bridge behind temple

Bridge behind temple

Bridge behind temple

At present there is a fallen tree to climb through

At present there is a fallen tree to climb through

you find a track

you find a track

with glimpses of the sea

with glimpses of the sea

track

track

track

track

in a few minutes you reach a beach

in a few minutes you reach a beach

there are several small beaches

there are several small beaches

beach

beach

beach

beach

beach and view of another bay

beach and view of another bay

beach in the bay

beach in the bay

beach

beach in the bay

beach

beach