Monday, 19 March 2007


Photo: Max the dog was known to have a few fleas sometimes.

Photo: Dogs and cats are not the only animals to get the itch.

I really enjoyed the snow a few weeks ago. There was on day that saw a covering of the soft and fluffy stuff that is so good for throwing, which makes a pleasant change from the ice balls that kids usually have to settle for. The youngsters on our estate were all out having fun and when the sledges came out I though it would be a great opportunity to go out and take some photos of the action. I went out and gave the permission for some lads to throw snow in my direction (all in the name of art of course) then I decided to get the sledge in the picture. I had to run a bit to keep up and in doing so I found myself flat on my back in the middle of the road. I was well insulated to take the impact thankfully, but that didn’t stop me getting snowballed as I lay on the ground! The worst bit was that my camera had taken the full force of the impact. I made a quick exit indoors with all of the bits and tried to superglue the camera back together. You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it hasn’t worked. Still I think myself lucky that it was the camera and not me that needed fixing. It makes me realise that my legs are not as bendy as they once were!


I have bites all over my legs and they are very itchy. They must have come from fleas. We have a dog and think they might be from him. How can I get them out of the carpet? Thanks BP. Carn

Even though it is cold outside, fleas will hatch and thrive in the carpets because we have the heating on. This makes a perfect environment for breeding.

Here are a few facts about fleas:

Fleas are similar to cockroaches in that they adapt to their environment. They become stronger and more immune to these popular chemicals with each generation.

Most of the fleas are living in your pet's environment, rather than in its fur. (Every flea found on your pet may mean that there approximately 30 more living in your home.) Fleas usually gain entry to your home through your pet.

A single flea can lay as many as 60 eggs per day. The lifespan of a flea is about 90 days.
Controlling fleas does require some effort, but there are there safer and effective ways to control fleas than several well-known commercial flea control products.


Bathe and comb your pet regularly.

Use mild soap, not insecticides. If fleas are found on the comb, dip the comb in a glass of soapy water.

Citrus is a natural flea deterrent. Pour a cup of boiling water over a sliced lemon. Include the lemon skin, scored to release more citrus oil. Let this mixture soak overnight, and sponge on your dog to kill fleas instantly.

Add brewer's yeast and garlic, or apple cider vinegar, to your pets' food. However, it is not advisable to use raw garlic as a food supplement for cats.

Cedar shampoo, cedar oil and cedar-filled sleeping mats are commercially available. Cedar repels many insects including fleas.

Fleas in the carpet. The carpet should be thoroughly vacuumed especially in low traffic areas, under furniture, etc. If you are desperate then some people put flea powder in the vacuum cleaner bag to kill any fleas that are vacuumed up. I don’t like the idea of this as the dust could be breathed
Trap fleas in your home using a wide, shallow pan half-filled with soapy water. Place it on the floor and shine a lamp over the water. Fleas will jump to the heat of the lamp and land in the water. The detergent breaks the surface tension, preventing the flea from bouncing out


A new initiative was launched recently aimed at eliminating illegal dumping in the countryside. The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, said he would give €350,000 for a pilot project in Co Wicklow which, if successful, will be introduced nationwide. A coordinator will be appointed to streamline communication between the local authority and landowners, like the forestry service, Coillte in an effort to stop illegal dumping at beauty spots. Local community groups will be encouraged to report on any illegal or suspicious activity on a lo-call number. As well as education programmes, concealed CCTV cameras will also be used. The pilot project will run for three years. I would like to think that we here in Inishowen are already aware of our shortcomings with illegal dumping and are taking steps already to eliminate some of the problems before the initiative is introduced. (although I did have to steer around two mattresses that were dumped on the Buncrana road last week!)


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