West Nile Virus Awareness Week; BE PREPARED!


wnvgraphWest Nile Awareness

Since the first reported case of West Nile Virus in New York City in 1999 West Nile Virus has spread across America like an epidemic, and it seems there is no easy way to eradicate the disease. So the best defense we have is education. By sharing the information we have about how mosquitoes breed and carry the disease we can do more than try and prevent from being stung, but rather prevent the mosquitoes from being born and becoming carriers of the disease at all.

West Nile Virus comes and goes in surges, but it never ever really goes away, making it particularly dangerous. As the reported cases of infection swell and contract the population is lulled into a carnal security thinking that it could never happen to them- that they would never be infected resulting in carelessness and a casual attitude toward mosquito disease.

wnv_us_human_map_week52Looking back to the year 2013, a total of 2374 cases of West Nile Virus were reported with 114 deaths attributed to the disease (down significantly from 286 deaths in 2012) and in 2014, the West Nile Virus has a strong potential to exceed the 2013 numbers due to the mild winter. Nevertheless, there is no surefire way to know what kind of mosquito season we will have this year, but one thing we can be sure of is our level of preparedness.

 

Transmission of the virus occurs through mosquito bites. This leads people to believe that the primary defense we have against the spreading of disease is taking action to prevent mosquitoes from biting you, your kids and your pets or animals.

Naturally people automatically think of mosquito repellent sprays as the primary defense against mosquitoes. However, they are widely varied in their cost, features and functionality.

deet cirPerhaps the greatest protection against mosquito’s bites is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible in conjunction with a spray or repellent, because it’s not possible for the mosquitoes to bite your skin through the material of your clothing.

Just like cell phones and power companies have peak hours, so do mosquitoes! If you know when these hours are, than you can more easily avoid them and keep them from ruining your outing! Mosquitoes come out in full forces most often around dusk and dawn times of the day. Plan your day to avoid too early of a start or staying too late and you will experience less mosquito attack.

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April Showers Bring May flowers…

April showers also bring standing water though, which brings forth new mosquitoes! NOW is the time to spread the word about mosquito awareness and most specifically West Nile Virus awareness.Empty any stagnant and free standing collections of water. Simply dump them out and turn the vessel upside down or prop it up so that it will not refill with water.

 

Other ways to prevent mosquitoes from collecting and breeding…

 For homeowners and small business owners that wish to take a proactive stance against mosquitoes and other insects in general there are a couple of suitable options.

  • Skeetobusters Mosquito RepellentContracting with a local pest control business will ensure that your property is pest free on a regular basis. With regular treatments of the property on a frequent basis the mosquito (and pest) population will stay low throughout the entire season. However this type of service can be expensive and prohibitive.
  • An excellent alternative that people can utilize is a fertigation/pestigation unit attached to their existing sprinkler system. These units are designed to be an all-in-one plug-and-play solution for all your fertilizing and pest control needs. It simply uses the existing sprinkler system to apply fertilizers and/or organic pesticides through the sprinkler heads to the grass and irrigated parts of the property thereby creating an effective boundary for pests. Units are available starting around $950 and can be installed quickly and easily by a certified installer or a savvy do-it-yourselfer. This may sound like an expensive investment initially, but it quite cost effective because it will continue to serve the property for years to come.
  •  There are some areas of your yard and/or property which are prone to gathering puddles. Tarps and tires are two of the most infamous offenders when it comes to standing water. Perhaps you have a rain collection barrel designed for capturing water or catch basins installed to carry away drainage water. These can be prime targets for mosquito breeding…especially because they are often physically obscured and hidden away from view. It is recommended that homeowners use an all natural super product to protect the areas and prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for your yard. By simply applying an appropriate measure of liquid cedar oil to the water (such as Best Yet & PCO by CedarCide) and the oil acts as a barrier by creating a thin layer on top of the standing water and repelling mosquitoes.
  • Secondly the oil will dehydrating and prevents any eggs that it comes in contact with from hatching. So it can be used effectively in several situations. (this type of oil is the same kind used in the sprinkler fertigation/pestigation units.)

 

 

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The following are some ways that you can use a product like Best Yet to help combat the breeding and growth of the Mosquito population.

 

  1. Eliminate standing water on your property – Turn over kiddie pools, trash cans and lids and anything else that can act as a container for rainwater.  Fold and properly store all tarps in cool dry indoor area (tarps are a major offender for mosquito breeding grounds) Bring all tires indoors away from the sprinklers or rain (tires are prime mosquito breeding grounds due to their shape; they easily retain water and provide protection from sunlight and the elements. (tires imported into the US from outside have been the source of many new insects and pests being introduced to the country) Spray water collecting prone places down with the Cedar Based product to keep mosquitoes from returning to those places if they do collect water again.

 

  1. breeding groundsChange water catch pans for flower baskets. – Most flower pots have a water catch dish to allow excess water to exit out the bottom of the flower pot. This water should be discarded at least once a week. Treat the newly cleaned treat with cedar oil  to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water when it does fill up.

 

  1. Bird Baths and water fountains – keep the water running regularly to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. If the water is not running, clean out the old water weekly and treat with cedar oil.

 

  1. Permanent standing water – Some water cannot be emptied or it is intended to be there (i.e. rain barrels, drains and catch basins etc. For these types of situations it is recommended that you apply a liberal amount of Cedar Oil based product to the water. Because Best Yet it is an oil based product it will float on the top of the water causing a barrier against mosquitoes. The oil will remain there till it is washed away or emptied.

Interview with a Raspberry Crazy Ant


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(The following dialogue took place between myself and the Public Relations director for the Raspberry Crazy Ants. We discuss their name, housing preferences, attraction to electronics and pesticides.)

  •  (Introduction) 

Me: For the past month or so the news has been running stories about crazy ants; exploiting their dangerous and destructive nature. They are reportedly nomadic, choosing to not live in anthills the way their cousins do. Furthermore it is said that they are resistant to traditional methods of eradication. Because these ants are mobile  and travel in large army’s with several queen ants per colony it was difficult to get an interview with the species head ant and leader but after repeated attempts to contact him, we finally were able to schedule an interview with the species PR manager, who is also the marketing director and 15th generation grandson of the species pioneer ancestors who came to America for the first time over a decade ago.

 

Please help me to welcome R.C. Antonio to the stage

 

  • (Audience applause) 

 

  • (Guest Enters from left of stage, walking in a seemingly random and non-linear path to desk)

 

 

Me: We are very excited to have a real live crazy ant in studio with us, thanks so much for coming! Did you have a safe trip getting here? For weeks we have been hearing about the impending invasion of your species on the southern parts of the USA. What have you found to be the biggest obstacle to this year’s invasion.

R.C. :  Thanks for having me!My trip here was very good, thanks for asking!

 

 

Me:  For weeks we have been hearing about the impending invasion of your species on the southern parts of the USA. What have you found to be the biggest obstacle to this year’s invasion.

R.C. :   So far everything has been right on schedule. We are finding it especially easy to invade because of the high levels of apathy among people with respect to protecting their property. Not to mention the incredibly high number of electronics that are in homes making a perfect place for is to get inside and stay! So we are doing well, and I am happy to be here with you here today.

 

 

images-(4)Me: The media is referring to you as the “Raspberry Crazy Ant”…do you take offense to this name?

R.C. : Yes, we absolutely do not endorse the use of that moniker. Our real name is Nylanderia Fulva. But that is a mouth full and hard to remember. So,  I prefer to go by “Nyles” instead, even though it does make me sound like a character from downton Abby…it’s better than being referred to as an insane rubus fruit.

 

 

Me: Where did the name raspberry crazy ant come from?

R.C. :  Most people think that the Raspberry-Crazy  name is the product of a love for the sweet berry fruit, but this could not be further from the truth. We actually have little or no interests in the sweet berry-fruit at all, but we do have the same physiological needs that any other ant needs. The Raspberry portion of our name comes one of our arch-nemesis. For years we were able to move about relatively unnoticed staying basically off-the-radar. Till one day in 2002 we were exploring as we typically do, and a human took a particular interest in us.

That man was Tom Raspberry, and ever since that day we have been irreversibly marked in the media as being “Raspberry Crazy Ants”.  

 

 

Me: Where does the term crazy come from? — Because, as I sit here with you now, you seem to be quite cordial and well mannered!

R.C. : The media has long referred to our species and others like us as crazy because we choose to not conform to ant protocol by following each other in a line wherever we go. Instead we feel we can cover more ground and get more done if we think for ourselves and move independently of one another. Basically, we refuse to conform to the ant stereotypes and choose to be progressive and forward thinking we get called “crazy”. It’s a travesty and nothing more than run-of-the-mill lampoonery! We won’t stand for it.

 

 

Me: Why do you choose to not stay in anthills or underground colonies?

R.C. : We are free spirited and don’t want to be tied down to a single solitary area. Additionally, because we are so small and mobile it makes more sense for us to stay on the move and utilize the shelters we can find along the way. If a place is warm and can protect us from the elements, we can use it as a shelter.

As you can probably imagine, our travels throughout the southern United States we have seen a great deal of different electronics and gadgets where we have been able to stay and make home. Our favorite place to stay is probably flat panel TV’s.

 

 

2014-04-15_16-33-40Me:  Why do you prefer flat panel televisions?

R.C. : For a couple of reasons actually! The first reason is, like I mentioned, is warmth… in addition to providing an effective element of cover from the elements TV’s are perfectly warm and spacious too! It seems like as time goes by, the TV’s we are finding to stay in keep getting bigger and bigger! Additionally, it seems like the TV is the one electronic in the house that stays on for the longest.

The second reason is that we ants love the feeling created by electricity flowing through wires and circuit boards. The almost inaudible hum of electricity resonating though wires and circuit boards is something we just cannot get enough of! We love to find a TV that we can all fit inside of. We just settle into all the nooks and crannies inside of the case and relax as we enjoy that wonderful electricity warmth and feeling!

 

 

crazy-ant-006_largeMe: How can humans know if their electronics have been invaded by an army of heat seeking ants? Is there any tell-tale signs to watch for?

R.C. : There is no way to know for sure that you have been invaded, till it’s too late. In other words, once you see us and you can see that there are floods of us, than we have likely already infiltrated the warm places in your home and property. 

However, one surefire way to know (albeit too late) is by watching for equipment malfunction. When my fellow ants get inside electronics and they begin to make themselves fat and happy by chewing on wires. Sadly, their bodies can act as a conductor and once enough have died and are touching, the current can be carried through their bodies causing a short circuit. Short circuits often result in erratic behavior of electronics but most frequently death of that device occurs.

 

 


2014-04-16_10-53-56Me:
It is reported that you have taught yourselves to be impervious to the standard arsenal of repellents and insecticides.


R.C. :
When we are very young ants we go to ninja school. In school we learn to not succumb to the traditional methods of killing ants. We build a tolerance to the most commonly used pesticides so that when they are used on us we will not be harmed. Additionally, we learn to art of evasive maneuvering which lets us move in erratic and unpredictable directions making it almost impossible to catch us or crush us.

 

 

Me: It is rumored (and I apologize for being so cryptic) but is it true that when one of your fellow ants is killed that it releases a scent or pheromone that attracts other ants to that location like a sort of homing beacon?

R.C. : No apologies are necessary; this is actually a very good question. See, we love to chew through wires. Especially wires that have power running through them. There is just something about that soft flexible plastic they coat those wires with that is just so much fun to gnaw on and chew through. Unfortunately, as fun and satisfying as this habit is, it is also very dangerous for us. We are taught in our youth (at young ninja ant school) how to hunt and track. This is an important skill for us to be able to track down our fellow ants when they are in trouble and help them. Unfortunately when an ant chews a little too far into the center part of a wire that is alive, they will be electrocuted instantly. The result is a great many ants becoming attracted to that location.

 

 

best yet quart by cedarcideMe: Is there anything that you are resistant to? Is there anything that can kill you which you have not been able to build up a tolerance to?

R.C. : Actually, yes there is. And most people would say I am “crazy” to reveal this publicly, but I don’t care because after all I am a “crazy ant” right!?  

To answer your question… Cedar wood. Cedar oil is the worst!! We ants hate cedar oil products. Specifically products like “Best Yet” and “PCO Choice” from CedarCide. That stuff is like Kryptonite to us, if it gets on our bodies we die in less than a minute because of the hydrated silica in it.  Even if we do manage to avoid contact with it physically, the cedar oil in it messes with our pheromone systems and is just downright unpleasant to be around. We’d rather find a new home than deal with the ALL the problems cedar oil causes us.

 

 

Me: Why would you reveal this to the world so openly? Are you not afraid that people will use it to destroy your colony?

R.C. : To be honest… I am not afraid. Humans are so predetermined and set in their ways! They believe that to kill insects they have to use the most “powerful” insecticides that they can find at their local hardware store. They will never believe that something that is 100% natural, pet & child safe, and organic can be so lethal… So the odds of them actually getting it and using it are by far in our favor!

 

 

Me: Where did your type of ant come from and how did you get here to the United States.

R.C. : I am a 15th generation crazy ant, which means that my Great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great-Grandfather was the first of the Crazy Ants to come to America. The story of his travels has been a tradition in our family for years. Back around the year 2000 he and his family and a few other families of ants boarded a ship called the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody (I guess he must have been royalty?) So he and his queen wife, princess & prince children boarded the ship and were at sea 3 days before finally arriving at the port of Houston Texas. This was going to be the new home for the royal ant family.

Once they were on the new ground in North America they began to settle in and get comfortable. They quickly multiplied and reproduced. Before long the royal ant family had gone from just 4 to 4-million! They spread out to find new lands to conquer and found that Texas was a great place for them to live and prosper.

14 years later, here I am… I don’t consider myself to be a royal or anything like that, but I am proud of the progress our people have made and hope to take over the entire state of Texas, Florida and New Orleans in the next 15 years.

 

 

Me: That is fascinating! How neat to discover that you are the descendant of royalty! Is there anything else you would like people to know?

Skeetobusters Mosquito RepellentR.C. : Yes, we want to ask people to keep leaving their electronics on and their doors and windows open thereby allowing us to come in and settle into their homes and seek shelter and comfort in those warm electronics! Additionally I just wanted to let you know that if you would rather have us leave your home alone all together, they only need to spray around their property with Cedar Oil products from CedarCide. The best way to cover the entire grounds and ensure that you are fully covered is to use a system like the one from Skeetobusters that injects the cedar oil product into the sprinklers. Not only is it inexpensive, but also the most efficient and effective way to cover a larger area. When we come upon a yard thats been treated this way we will just move onto the next place and I won’t have to deal with the deaths of many more of my friends and cousins.

 

 

Me: Thank you R.C. Antonio for coming on our show and sharing some information about yourself with us. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and hope that we never cross paths with you or your family & friends.

R.C. : No problem at all, thanks for having me.

 

  • (Audience applause) 

 

  • (End of Interview)

 

  • (R.C. Antonio stands up from seat and shakes hands with audience)

 

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Is Chikengunya the New West Nile Virus?


New Mosquito Born Disease Threatens Southern States:  Chikungunya

Mosquito’s are an annoying fact of living in the south. And is it not bad enough that when a mosquito bites you that you have to itch and endure the  embarrassment of a red spot on your skin that won’t ever go away quick enough!

chikungunya

Well, get ready to face your fears, because there is a new type of diseased to beware of that has been reported in Caribbean and now in parts of the US. The painful disease called  Chikungunya is making headlines in the Lonestar state and and it is migrating north from the Caribbean to the US.

A level one watch has been issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Victims of the disease suffer a tremendous amount of pain, including flu-like symptoms and joint pain so intense it can make moving the limbs near impossible to move. This pain can go on for weeks or even months. However, the one redeeming quality about the disease is that it is not typically deadly. (Nevertheless it is not anything you wan’t to mess with or catch!)

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Texas and other Southern states are currently advised to beware of disease and mosquito bites in general. Currently there have been over 2000 recorded cases of Chikungunya with even more cases popping up in South America.

Studies are showing that the type of mosquitoes which carry this disease prefer to prey on humans instead of animals and they are more active during the day time instead of the more traditional dawn and dusk patterns of most mosquitoes. Additionally, the mosquitoes carrying this disease thrive in areas like Texas due to the warm climate and temperate winters.

How can we stop this mosquito scourge from growing larger and larger? The answer is to create thousands of tire swings. Well actually the real answer is not so much tire swings as it is to eliminate as many tires from setting around an gathering water as possible. Tires provide a perfect habitat for a mosquito to breed because they trap water inside of them and provide a measure of shelter for the larvae. Other potential breeding grounds include birdbaths, child pools, puddles or  swamp land.

To protect your own home and yard there are a few easy and simple solutions to take:

  1. shutterstock_143416567Get rid of any tires, tarps, or places where water is able to collect and stand.
  2. Keep your grass short and shrubs trimmed back
  3. Apply Cedar oil based repellents using hand sprayers or with an automated sprinkler connected system like this one by Skeetobuster.

It’s just neat.


Had trouble coming up with a topic and started browsing the Sprinkler Warehouse website.

        Found out we sell some interesting things.  Some are just interesting, some are downright useful and one made me look twice and then start laughing. You get to figure out which one.

        Superman’s x-ray vision has nothing on these. The TurfSpy glasses let you see problems early, long before they are visible to mere mortals.  The earlier you treat turf disease the faster it goes away. Not only do you stop disease and infestations before they start, you look good doing it.

         Next is the mobile garden planter. It has wheels!  Now, you might wonder why that is exciting. I’ll tell ya’. I live in Houston, Texas. There is a law here that says we cannot get freezes unless it is a year in which I bought my wife new plants for the entry and walk. Then the freeze comes and I have to move all the plants inside. I have been told that, while my efforts are appreciated, the rusty Little Red Wagon does not really go with our décor.  These will.

          I want one: the Magnum Hose Nozzle. I am far from gentle using tools. When I am through watering I just drop the hose and nozzle. Doesn’t matter if I’m on grass or concrete, on the ground or on the ladder. Later I go to the hose bib and start pulling in the hose. Across the yard. Through the gate. Did you know that when pulling a hose and nozzle through the yard and around a corner that the nozzle handle acts like a grappling hook? Did you know that when it’s 100 degrees outside I have little patience and just pull harder? Did you know that most nozzles have many or are all plastic parts? Between dropping the nozzle on concrete and catching it on the gate I replace the nozzle every year. This is better. It’s all metal, no handles to catch and will survive my abuse for years. I’ve already proven I can’t learn new tricks. Might as well buy something that puts up with my old ones.

              Ever notice that no matter how much you try to clean your back yard there is always something that really doesn’t fit anywhere? Especially if you have kids. There’s always that one toy, that one tool or hose or gas can or just general clutter that never seems to go away. Now you don’t care if it goes away. You won’t be able to see it. Look at the Storage Rock. Open it up, fill it up, close it. No clutter, no problem.

          Remember those woven finger traps you had as a kid? Put your fingers in and the harder you pull the harder it holds. Well, they grew up, just like you did. The Wire Mesh Grips work the same way. Put the pipe in, start pulling and the grip just gets tighter and tighter. Wire Mesh Grips are used for pulling irrigation pipe, insulated wire, wire rope, tubing, PVC, and bare conductors. Far easier than pulling by hand and automatically adjusts to the size of the pipe. No programming needed.

    Well, playtime’s over. Gotta go back to work.

You filter your coffee, you filter air. Really should filter your irrigation water.


The water going to your irrigation system is probably not as clean as you think. Even if you have municipal water from the best city supply in the country (Austin, TX, Des Moines, IA, Sioux Falls, S.D.) that water has to get to you through old pipes. Many cities still have cast iron pipes as their main lines, some dating back over 100 years. Most homes built before the 1960s have galvanized piping.  Pipes tend to fail from the inside, losing minute rust and other particles into the water. Add in the occasional sand particles that get in the water when pipes or pumps break and are fixed, plus the minor debris caused by cutting and repairing pipes, and there is a whole flotilla of little particles floating in your water.

At this point you are probably thinking “Wait a minute! I drink that stuff! All that garbage goes into me!” Yes, it does. However, your body is better adapted to handling it than your sprinkler system. Besides, didn’t your doctor always tell you iron was good for you? Back to the pipes…

All of these particles go into your irrigation system and accumulate in valves, sprays and emitters. This causes decreased performance and a steady increase in maintenance. It also costs you money in ways you might not expect.  The thing to do is stop it before it happens.

A common problem with irrigation valves is failing to close completely. This leads to water seepage through the spray heads, wasting a great deal of water. Many times the problem is just grit or debris keeping the diaphragm from seating.

What you didn’t know it cost you: paying to fix something that is not broken. When you call a service tech (me) out for a leaking valve chances are good the first thing I will do is replace the valve. Generally I won’t even bother to see if it just needs cleaning. This is not done to save time. It is far quicker and easier to open and clean a valve than it is to cut the pipes and replace the valve.

I do it because people tend to be unhappy paying for service. People get really unhappy when charged for a service call and I look at them and say,  “Nah, I didn’t have to replace anything. I just wiped it off with a rag. It’s fine. Please pay me for one hour labor.” People like seeing things replaced. New is always better, right?

The debris also accumulates in your spray nozzles, causing pattern changes, reduced coverage distance and eventually complete blockage. These are easy to clean: tooth pick, tooth brush and running water. A tech will never clean them. It does take longer to clean these than to replace them.

The best thing to do is avoid these problems all together. Install a T-style filter.

The Vu-Flow screen filters keep out sand and debris. The body is clear so you can instantly see when the filter needs purging or cleaning. To purge, just open the valve on the bottom. The trapped dirty water flows out. If the filter needs washing unscrew the body, remove the screen and clean. You don’t need to dry it off, it’ll get wet anyway.

Various screen sizes are available for different debris sizes.

Sediment
In Water

Use
To Protect

Type To Use:
(Mesh; Micron; Inches)

Coarse Sand; Shell

Sprinkler heads

30 mesh; 533 micron; .021″

Medium
Sand/Grit
Pipe scale;
Well Cuttings

Solenoid Valves
Gear Drive Sprinkler
Domestic Water

60 mesh; 254 micron; .010″
60 mesh; 254 micron; .010″
100 mesh; 152 micron; .006″

Fine Sand/Silt

Poultry drinkers
Household well water
Drip Irrigation
Fogger Sprayer

140 mesh; 104 micron; .004″
140 mesh; 104 micron; .004″
250 mesh; 61 micron; .0024″
250 mesh; 61 micron; .0024″

T-filters are easy to install and maintain. Filtering your water extends the life of your valves and nozzles. Maintenance becomes less frequent, saving time and money.  All in all, a relatively minor investment with pretty good return.

In the Time Before Plastic there was Brass.


There was a time when brass nozzles where all you saw in irrigation systems. Why? Well, there were no plastic ones. Hard to imagine pre-plastic, isn’t it?  You had brass, zinc and steel. Brass dominated because of its looks and durability.

The first generation or three of plastic nozzles were rough. Manufacturing technology was not at the level needed to produce a truly efficient, uniform pattern spray nozzle. If you wanted quality and efficiency you went with brass.

Today’s plastic nozzles are very efficient and provide good, uniform coverage. Many of them provide coverage as consistent as brass nozzles. They are also cheaper than brass. Why, then, would people continue to buy brass? There are a number of good reasons.

Normally about now I’d start throwing some numbers and statistics at you to show you why this product is so much better. Not today.  I will note that brass nozzles are available with a 24’ radius. Plastic nozzles tend to stop at 15’.

Our wonderful graphics group had absolutely nothing to do with this graphic.

Why buy brass?

Well, if you are designing a system and can space heads every 24’, as opposed to every 15′,  you save on parts and labor. Parts may be cheap but labor is not. Eliminating heads while maintaining coverage can make a noticeable difference in your costs.

Durability. It’s easy to find brass nozzles 50 years old still in service. Brass is corrosion resistant, withstands hot and cold easily, and resistant to abrasion from debris.  If you see a plastic nozzle 15 or 20 years old you have found an exceptional system.

Abrasion resistance. As clean as it is, your water can still carry sand and other debris. Even with municipal water there can be fine sand and, in some areas, metal particles from inside your old galvanized supply line. When metal pipes break down they tend to do it from the inside out, releasing abrasive metal particles into your water. This fine abrasion can have a cumulative effect on any nozzle. Plastic, being softer than brass, will show wear far earlier. The particles will also adhere to the side more readily, causing a build-up that has to be cleaned more often than brass.

Hot and cold. REAL hot and REAL cold. Extreme temperatures: brass has survived them just fine for centuries. Get cold enough and plastic can get brittle. Fine if no one bothers it until it warms up again, not so fine if someone steps on it.

And the main reason people still buy brass nozzles: they look good. Architects don’t recommend brass for door handles, desk trim, railings, faucets, lighting, fountains and more because it’s the latest thing. They use brass because it looks good and stays looking good for a long time. Brass gives everything a classic, finished look.

You work hard to make your place attractive. Very few parts of your irrigation system show to the public. Shouldn’t those parts reflect the pride and work you have in the rest of your home and last just as long?

The Traveling Sprinklers! Weren’t they a rock group in the 80’s?


 Let’s face it. There are times when an underground sprinkler system just isn’t practical.  If you’re a school with a football field, baseball field, soccer field and track the cost to install a system can be prohibitive. You also lose use of the facility during installation and have to wait for the turf to re-grow.

Have a ranch and you just need to water some areas every now and then? Want to keep the dust down on the horse pens?  Multiple areas with crops on the farm and no irrigation? Neighborhood park dying from the heat?

Traveling sprinklers handle all of these with a song in their heart. Coverage ranges from a low of 54’ x 165’ to a huge 145’ x 595’ with gallons per minute from 3 to 95. That is some serious watering.

Most have hydraulic propulsion so all you add is water. One has a built in drive motor with rechargeable battery. None have MP3 players.

ABI IRRIGATION MICRO 505 The big boy first. The with a Honda 5.5 horse booster pump. This thing can put out 95 gpm and cover an area 131’ wide. With a hose length of 560’ that is some serious acreage on each pull. It handles supply pressure ranges of 35 to 96 psi.

Don’t have that much pressure? Check out the ABI IRRIGATION MICRO 25. It will give you 42’ wide with only 30psi with a hose length of 165’. That’s not bad at all.

What? You don’t even have 30psi to work with? That’s no step for a stepper. Look at the KIFCO E110 ELECTRIC. It has an electric drive motor with rechargeable battery so your supply pressure requirement is smaller. At only 23psi you get coverage 85’ wide with a 280’ hose and around 30 hours per charge. Great for low or fluctuating pressure water supplies.

Each of these can handle terrain that is slightly unlevel or rough, as you would have on a farm or ranch. But what if you have a nice, smooth area that doesn’t need the all terrain capabilities? Maybe a nice, smooth football field?

Now comes the Underhill T-400-Tracker. This thing puts out up to 85’ x 400’ of coverage on 85psi and 9 to 15gpm. Another advantage is it only weighs 58 pounds, compared to the 120 to 800 pounds of its big brothers. Running goal post to goal post helps keep the weight down.

Finally we have the Buckner traveling sprinklers, the Rain Coach and Storm Cruiser. The Storm Cruiser is the Rain Coach with a cruiser shaped protective cover. These give you a coverage of up to 145’ x 450’ using a supply pressure of 55 to 75psi. It only weighs 56 pounds, making it easy to handle.Unlike the Tracker, it doesn’t keep its weight down by running the football field. It’s more of a hot-rod.

Look for the Sprinkler Warehouse sponsored Storm Cruiser at the next Traveling Sprinkler International Showdown!

There are more traveling sprinklers than I could show today. Start your browsing at Traveling Sprinklers and you’ll find what you need.

How we picked our team. Irrigation supplies, major league


Ever wonder why a company picks certain products to carry?  Sometimes it is obvious: if you are going to sell groceries you need to sell Kraft products. Sometimes it is not, like the Tabasco flavored tequila now on the market. Don’t try that one. Seriously.

Choosing the product lines for Sprinkler Warehouse involved both the obvious and the lesser known. The major requirement of each brand was that it was reliable, did what it said it would do and would show our pride in our company.

The obvious. You cannot discuss irrigation without involving Hunter and Rain Bird. Both of these companies are dedicated to irrigation and produce a full line of products. It would be extremely difficult to think of an irrigation requirement that they cannot fulfill.

There are a few others.

The one you’ve heard of but didn’t think about for irrigation.

The Toro Company. Ever wonder why it’s named “Toro”? I did. Seems it was started in 1916 to build tractors for Bull Tractors. Fits right in there, doesn’t it?  Toro is most famous for its commercial and residential lawn and tractor equipment, snow blowers and utility vehicles.  Not as well known is the fact Toro has been in the irrigation business since 1962. They produce a full complement of irrigation supplies and have one of the most innovative controllers on the market, the battery operated and waterproof DDCWP. They also produce the highly efficient Precision Series spray nozzle.

Some you may not have heard of but need to.

The K-Rain Corporation.  It’s not often you find a company started by a rocket scientist. This one is. It was founded 1974 by Carl Kah, a former manager of the U.S. Air Force’s reusable rocket engine program. According to Carl, “Thespace program set an example for all of us in business to follow. There is always something that needs to be improved.”  K-Rain keeps improving, having over 90 patents so far, including one for the Indexing valve, a Kah invention that reduces the need for five valves down to one. Their continuing quest for improvement enables them to bring quality products to market with prices noticeably lower than many of their competitors.

The DIG Corporation. DIG was founded in 1981 to do one thing and one thing only: provide efficient, cost effective low volume irrigation systems. “Low volume” is commonly known as drip or micro irrigation. That’s all they do and they are very good at it. They have anything you can think of for a drip system, whether it’s in your garden, your flower pots, under turf or in plant nurseries. They drip, spray, fog, mist and stream. They also provide the LEIT controllers. Powered by ambient light, LEIT controllers are much more sensitive than solar power, giving you more options for controller locations.

Cyber Rain Inc.  No other irrigation controller out there is as versatile, flexible, high-tech and just flat cool as the Cyber Rain Cloud controller. Need shade, order up a cloud, no problem! (sorry, couldn’t resist.) The Cyber-Rain Cloud controller does everything you can ask for and you control it from anywhere. Whip out your Android, iPhone or Blackberry phone, check your system performance, make changes and, instead of Zone 1 or Zone 4 you see a picture of the area. Why remember zone numbers when you can see what it covers? It checks the weather and automatically adjusts your irrigation schedule to match and, since Cyber-Rain uses the internet, weather updates are always free! Now folks, that’s pretty hard to beat.

Every member of our team was drafted after careful consideration. We’re glad to have them and look forward to the upcoming series/bowl.

Don’t listen to your sprinkler repair man. Better yet, don’t ask.


I’ll start by telling you that’s what I do. I repair sprinkler systems. This does cause a problem, as I’m telling you not to listen to me. Luckily, that’s handled by quantum metaphysics and we can skip ahead.

We are frequently asked: “What’s the best —?” Truth is, we usually don’t know. What we do know is what works for us. We have two basic requirements: we want to make a profit on the repair and we want the product to be good enough that we are not called back for warranty service. This defines our ‘best’ product.

We lose money on warranty repairs. This is bad.

We are also a conservative bunch. We don’t want to be the first one to try the new product and see if it lasts. We go with what we know.  We use the same rotors, the same controllers, the same pop-ups time and again.  I’ll go over a few of those and what might be better.

Pop-ups and nozzles

The Rain Bird 1800 series is one of the most popular popups out there, if not the most popular. It’s my default purchase. Why? Because in the years I was training my supervisors told me to go with the 1800s. Who am I to argue with the boss? Therefore it’s what I know and what I recommend.

What about the Hunter Pro Spray, Toro 570Z, and K-Rain 7800? All good, all in the same price range. The one you’ve never heard of, the K-Rain, might have the best seal in the bunch. Looks that way in drawings and specs. However, I install 1800s and don’t want to experiment.  See the problem here? I’m passing on a potentially better popup available at the same price just because I don’t want to try it and risk a warranty call.

How about nozzles? Rain Bird, Hunter and K-Rain are all extremely popular, pretty much same precipitation rate, all in the same price range. Which is best? Might be the Toro Precision nozzles. In a 12’ full circle spray they use about 1.3 gallon per minute less. Other sizes have similar savings.  Minimizes run off, helps with low gpm systems, and has an efficient pattern.  Why don’t I use and recommend them? They cost twice as much, if not more, than the others. People don’t want to pay for something they really can’t see and one nozzle spraying water looks like any other.

A quick note about something you’ve never heard of: K-Rain. K-Rain makes good products, has 90+ patents in the industry, is very competitively priced and apparently has one of the worst marketing programs around. Have you ever heard of it? People who don’t have irrigation systems know of Rain Bird, Hunter and Toro. There are many pros who don’t know about K-Rain. It’s hard for someone to recommend something they’ve never heard of.

Rotors

The most popular rotor out there is the Hunter PGP. Sells by the tens of thousands. Is it the best? Don’t know.  I sure put in a bunch of them. To be honest I like the Rain Bird 5000 “Rain Curtain” spray coverage better. The Toro T5 and the K-Rain 11000 series are in the same price range but you get a 5” pop-up instead of a 4”.  An extra inch for nuthin’. But people know Hunter and it works so I stay with it.

Controllers

I like and install Hunter. Good and reliable. That’s not the main reason I install it. Look at the face of Hunter controllers. They all look the same. I don’t have to worry about going to service a system and having to remember different brands or carry manuals with me. And, of course, I tend to recommend Hunter for the same reason.

Now look at  K-Rain series. Their controllers  are usually lower than both Rain Bird and Hunter, they also have a standard front and they are reliable. I could save you money by installing them if I were a bit more adventurous. Unfortunately, I’m a coward when it comes to money and warranties.

The point to all this is that your repairman will give you a safe answer. He works in the field all day, knows what works for him and  makes his life easier. The product might or might not be the best but it will be safe for him to recommend and it will work.

There are a lot of products out there that don’t get the exposure they should. Check our site for ideas. At Sprinkler Warehouse we try to give you all the details along with links to different manuals. A lot of information there to help you make a better choice and far more variety than many repair people have ever seen.

It’s the little rotors’ turn to turn, turn, turn…hmmm…I should put that to music.


Like the Little Engine that Could, some rotors just refuse to accept limitations. There is a whole bunch of over-achiever rotors available for smaller systems or smaller areas just eager to show you what they can do. Retro-fitting an old system? Need to cover a smaller area? Only have a ½” supply line? Listen! You can hear them yelling “Pick me! Pick me!”

Take a look at the K-Rain MiniPro, the  Hunter PGJ, the Toro Mini-8  and the Rain Bird 3500. Designed for smaller areas and retrofits these rotors fit areas too small for standard rotors but too large for standard spray heads. Coverage on these range from a low of 15’ to a high of 37’. Since most spray nozzles stop at 15’ and most rotors start at 25’+/- this fits right in.

Since they use a ½” connection you don’t need to run new pipe to get the same type coverage as their bigger siblings and you can match their precipitation rate. Have an older system that no longer provides the head to head coverage it should? Simply use these to regain coverage and possibly eliminate a head or two. For example, if your spray heads are 15’ apart you can replace each head with one of these set for 15’ or you could replace every other head with one of these set for 30’, eliminating the middle head.

For mid-range coverage they do everything the bigger rotors do and do it just as well.  And they are far more enthusiastic.

Once again I want to say that our talented graphics department had nothing to do with these graphics. Don’t want to embarrass them.