The mosquito problem here is of gigantic proportions due to the hundreds, maybe thousands, of acres of surrounding swampland. And I do not have any running or standing water on my place, but don’t know about my neighbors, and just two properties down there are three abandoned trailers on that three acre piece that have been trashed–the owners are now in a nursing home in Orlando, and the property has been abandoned. People can pick up property around here just by paying the taxes for 10 years on abandoned property, and then it is theirs, but the owners or the heirs can reclaim the property within that 10 year period by repaying the taxes.

So what happens is that property just sits for years, abandoned and trashed by teenagers, and an eyesore to the neighborhood, but the local realtors pick up pieces of property quite cheaply this way, so I don’t expect the anything to change anytime soon. I was pretty astounded when I found out about this system. I’m finding that the Yard Safe cedar oil spray does a pretty good job on ticks–and I don’t have fleas because all of my dogs get Sentinel and don’t go off of the property.

As for other animals–pigs, goats, or cows–I just don’t want them—I just want dogs and chickens. I’m allergic to milk now anyway! And I agree with your assessment of goats–I was just trying to be polite. I do see them in fenced areas around here and the whole area is denuded, with the trees stripped up to “goat eating height”–they are really kind of overkill.

I’m going to try the vinegar based product from Cedar Cide on the poison ivy before I try any more homemade formulas. And I have such a fly problem from the horse corral and chickens on the five acre “ranchettes” behind my place, that I don’t think I want any open containers of wine fermenting on my place. And I am also going to break down and get one of the cheap, small, bug-zappers from WalMart for $19.95 that covers 1/2 acre, and I can buy mosquito attractant for it–this is much cheaper than the Mosquito Magnet machines that run on propane and are quite expensive to run.

I will put some smaller plastic mesh over the openings to the bug zapper to exclude my butterflies and dragon flies, but let in mosquitoes and small green flies, as I am getting flies now that the people with the horses and chickens have moved in behind me—thousands of flies-nothing like livestock to attract flies–and it’s only April.

I’m finding that it is really difficult to maintain a balance here without resorting to harmful chemicals. I certainly don’t want to do anything that will hurt all of my beneficial “critters”–my beautiful butterflies and dragonflies, and fire flies, and all my little lizards and green frogs–but I can’t let the place be overrun with insect pests and rampant, severely irritating poison ivy either! But thanks for everyone’s input–it is always interesting to find out how other people deal with similar problems.

We do not have goats but have done quite a bit of research about using them to control invasive exotics in the woods. Cornell has done quite an extensive project called, “Goats in the woods.” What you are describing sounds to me like over browsing and poor management of the goats. They need to be rotated or have a far more extensive area in which to browse.