Can Stagnant Leaf Infusions Decrease Mosquitoes Near Your Home?

Chemistry, Nature
[caption id="attachment_24149" align="alignright" width="480"] Can you reduce the number of mosquitos breeding near your home?[/caption] During mosquito season, most people are aware of the need to eliminate standing water near their habitation, in order to minimize, if not eliminate their number one pest, the seemingly omnipresent, buzzing mosquito. Eliminating standing water is necessary, but moving water is not much of a problem. Movement disrupts the still air-to-water interface needed in order for mosquito larvae to breathe. Mosquitoes thus favor still, even stagnant water, to deposit their eggs. You can standing water in bird baths, gutters, barrels, still pools, depressions, flower pots, and a host of other places. Eliminating standing water greatly diminishes local mosquito populations. Simple drainage works, or you could add a thin film of oil. But then, mosquito…
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Wilted Cherry Leaves Kill

It is widely known that, to cows, wilted cherry leaves are deadly poisonous. Every cattle farmer is well acquainted with this fact. Yet, I, as a chemist, for years have wondered why. Surely it has to be a matter of chemistry, I realized. Indeed, that is the case. Cherry Fruits Wild cherries are bitter, but to the aficionado (and I am one), the tiny fruits called wild cherries, are quite delicious, especially when made into the intensely-flavored wild cherry jelly. Curiously, these fruits contain substances that could be quite dangerous, except for the lack of substances called enzymes that would convert them into poisons. One of those chemicals is amygdalin, seen in the image below. Note—in the upper right-hand corner of the molecule—are two atoms. One of the atoms is…
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