A. MR08, Flies, Scat Dog and Polar Bear
Linda J. Gormezano, then at the Museum of Natural History (New York, NY), writes about her experiences with Quinoa, the male scat dog, that helped her to track polar bears in the Canadian tundra. Scat dogs are especially trained to track individual polar bears through their scats (feces) as a non intrusive way to track bear movements, spatial distribution, relatedness between bears, and diet.
During her PhD work in 2006, Linda came for a visit to discuss a special problem: scat dogs and biting flies.
Quinoa, was unable to track feces during the summer effectively because the dog spends more time in freshwater areas to avoid the bites of swarms of flies on the groin, ears and belly which are sparsely covered with hair. Insect repellents containing DEET could not be used because DEET damages Quinoa’s ability to track bear feces. Poseidon Sciences formulated an MR08 based formulation applied on Quinoa that warded off flies without affecting his sense of smell.
Read more about scat dogs in this NY Times article HERE.
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B. MR08 and exploring the Yucatan Cenote caves
Cave diving is already considered a most deadly sport and getting leishmaniasis from sand fly bite in the Yucatan can make it an even more deadly experience.
Cave diving is a relative new sport, requiring specialized equipment, such a re-breathers, driver propulsion and dry suits. The 1990’s saw great interest in diving the cenotes (from the Mayan word d’zonot) after the discovery of vast underworld system of caves within the porous limestone shelf of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Beto Nava, a member of the Mexican PET (http://www.baue.org/projects/PET) exploring the Akhtun-Hu cave system in Tulum area of Q.Roo/Mexico, contacted us about a special problem: the problem that divers may get infected leishmaniasis from sand flies bites.
Leishmaniasis is prevalent in the Yucatan Peninsula, with biting activity from March to October. As the divers emerge from the cenotes, bites from sand flies can be the next dangerous part of the caving sport. Having read our reports on the superior performance of MR08 compared to DEET against sand flies (see the report HERE), Beto requested if they can try MR-08 during the forthcoming expeditions.
Read Beto Nava’s experience on the use of MR08 during the Akhtun Hu Cave expeditions HERE.
C. Termites in our Midst
Termites are nuisance practically in most places in the world and no particular pesticide can outlast them. Our experience with MR08 and termites is quite surprising. Considering that MR08 repels most insects for a few hours depending on the concentration, termites reacted totally different. The results of our termite experience can be accessed HERE.
The data showed that termites can be repelled for over a year with simply soaking wood overnight. Because termites are social animals, it appears that the ‘smell’ might have been communicated through the colonies and none had invaded MR-08 treated wood.
Consider how effective MR08 can be if pushed by pressure into the wood matrix, just like all the preservatives being used in the industry. Imagine years of protection using a totally nontoxic food ingredient like MR08.
Our Philippine research station was going through some renovations in 2007. I had asked our staff to wipe 20% MR08 into plywood in half of the walls being covered, while the other side was left untreated. Years passed by and we totally forgot about it. In 2012, we decided to remove some of the walls that had obviously been damaged by termites and found something quite fascinating. The half of the wall treated with MR08 did not sustain a single termite damage, while the other half had a colony of termites that practically ate up all the wood to create really fascinating structures.
On the left is a wall panel showing termite colony inside. Below is an adjacent panel treated with 20% MR08 by wiping once on the inside wall in 2007. The panels were opened in September, 2012.
Photo of typical cenote in the Yucatan. Photo credit: JRMatias, Poseidon Sciences Group.
Drywood termites eating soft pine wood. Photo credit: CSIRO
Close up look at the termite colony.