Categories
Desert Plants and Wildlife

Moths in Arizona

Bent-line carpet moth perched on a green leaf

You’ve probably noticed a lot of moths fluttering around your porch light lately. With the massive amount of rain we have received this year, it’s no wonder there’s been a huge influx of bugs. Don’t be annoyed. This is a good thing!

Arizona’s successful monsoon season turned the desert into a green oasis. The more rain we have, the more plant growth, which gives insects like moths and butterflies more food to eat and contribute to our ecosystem.

With a diverse topography, Arizona is considered one of the most insect-rich places in North America. Here is everything you need to know about these winged insects.

WHY ARE MOTHS IMPORTANT?

Moths do more than fly around and chew through fabric; they play an important role in our ecosystem. Insects like moths are food sources for other animals and pollinators for plants.

“Birds eat moths, bats eat mosquitoes, all these non-insect groups, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, they feed on insects. And so, they’re all connected with each other,” said Gene Hall, insect collection manager at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

The insects that feed on the plants also act as natural pruners to the flowers and plants. They typically do not damage the plant to the point of killing it because they will have to find another food source.

Gray Hawk Moth on the ground

WHAT TYPE OF MOTHS ARE IN ARIZONA?

Arizona is home to hundreds of species of moths. The most common moths are hawk and sphinx moths. These moths have long narrow wings and thick bodies. They have the longest tongue of any other moth. The caterpillars of this species feed on wild grape leaves. 

Bent-line carpet moths are another common species in Arizona. A bend can be seen in the dark colors by the wing edges. Males are mostly gray while females have darker colors. Their coloring makes it difficult for predators to see them because they can camouflage in tree bark.

Giant silk moths are seen in higher elevations like Sedona and Flagstaff. These moths are usually known for their size and range in size from 40 to 50 mm (about 2 inches). Silk moths draw their name from the silk they spin for their cocoons.

Giant silk moth sitting on a stem

WHY ARE THEY ATTRACTED TO LIGHT?

Moths are nocturnal meaning they use the light from the moon and stars to navigate their way. Streetlights and lights from our home are similar light sources.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THEM?

Hall suggests taking the time to observe the insects in their natural habitat. They won’t be here for long and you may learn something new.

To get rid of moths, adapt your surroundings to make your home less moth-friendly. Turn off exterior and interior lights when not in use. Replace bright lights with yellow bulbs. Make sure there are no holes or gaps in screens and windows.

For more information about moths in Arizona, CLICK HERE.

Categories
Culture

History of German Fashion

Did you go to the German Fashion show on Monday (Aug 30)? Hosted by Beauty Box Boutique, this event was sure to get you inspired for Oktoberfest later in September at Fountain Park. But have you ever wondered about the history of the famous German fashion?  

Lederhosen

Lederhosen never started out as an iconic costume for Oktoberfest. Peasants used this clothing. Germans had been using leather for centuries but up until the 16th century, French fashion began to influence Europe. Culottes (or knee-breeches) were designed for leisurely and aristocratic fashion as they were softer fabrics. By the 18th century, German workers adapted the culottes into their attire but instead of using a softer material, they went with their trusty leather. This is what we now know as the lederhosen, which translates to “leather breeches.”

Although the lederhosen was designed for peasants, the upper class eventually adapted the clothing for outdoor recreation like horseback riding and hunting. In the 18th century, they also used lederhosen as a fashionable ensemble to mimic the peasant style. Thus, lederhosen became a common German attire for peasants and noblemen alike.

By the 19th century, the city-dwellers lost interest in the lederhosen, making it, once again, the attire for peasants. Eventually, a new fabric was introduced to country workers: jeans. Levi Strauss, a German immigrant, invented jeans in 1873. Not only were jeans durable for manual labor, but they were also seen as hip American fashion. Eventually, this caused the lederhosen to become unpopular in Germany.

Dirndl

The dirndl has a very similar history as the lederhosen. They were originally used as a maid’s dress for house and farm workers. By the 18th century, the upper-class adapted this style into their fashion, much like the lederhosen. The only difference between the peasants and upper-class fabrics was the materials they used. Wools were more affordable for the peasants whereas the more lavish materials included silk and satin.

Eventually, the dirndl also started to fade out by the 19th century. It wasn’t until more recently that fashion emerged as costumes for Oktoberfest. Additionally, the tradition of apron knot-tying is a more modern practice since women did not wear these outfits to impress anyone centuries ago. If the girl’s knot is on the right, she is taken. If it’s on the left, she is single.

When you’re attending the Fountain Hills Oktoberfest later in September, remember to toast to the peasants that began this famous tradition. Prost!

For more information, CLICK HERE.

To see the other upcoming pre-Oktoberfest events, CLICK HERE.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Categories
Inside Your Home

7 Ways Smart Home Technology Improves Your Life

When you were given chores as a teenager, did you ever respond with, “Why can’t someone invent a self-cleaning floor?” Of course, someone eventually invented the iRobot floor cleaners. Going back farther in time, someone said, “Why can’t someone invent a machine to wash the clothes for us?” And someone did!

Today, the opportunities for adding automated features to our homes are growing. Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology allows our devices to “talk” to one another and for us to “talk” to our homes, even from long distances.

We call these homes with automation technologies “Smart Homes”. The benefits of turning your home into a Smart Home are tremendous.

CONVENIENCE

You can schedule your thermostat according to your living habits, tell your oven to preheat while you’re in line at the grocery store, and see who is ringing your doorbell and even converse with them with devices like Ring doorbells.

SECURITY

Self-monitoring is made easy with smartphone apps. Add cameras, motion sensors, automated door locks, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. You can also install leak detectors to alert you to increased moisture so you can proactively protect your home from costly damage.

ACCESSIBILITY

Many accessible features are available for the elderly or disabled. Voice-command systems can control lights, lock doors, operate a telephone or computer. Other devices help the speech impaired. Even labor-intensive tasks like watering the lawn can be automated.

EFFICIENCY

Create automations for shutting off lights when you leave a room, adjust the thermostat when you’re away, and operate motorized shades. Pair automations with energy-efficient appliances to find new ways to save on electricity, water, and natural gas.

RESALE

Adding Smart Home features is a good way to improve the resale value of your home. These features can attract savvy homebuyers in the future and potentially increase the value of your home.

HOME MANAGEMENT INSIGHTS

Monitor how much TV you watch, get an inventory on food in your smart fridge, and get an overview of your energy consumption habits over time. These insights help you to modify your daily habits and behaviors to live a lifestyle that improves efficiency.

SAVE MONEY ON INSURANCE

Check with your insurance company to see if they offer discounts on your homeowners’ insurance. Find out which smart devices and systems qualify for discounts. These may include thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, motion detectors, moisture and humidity sensors, and smart security systems.

Categories
Things to Do

A Journey through Musical Cultures Around the World

A visit to the Musical Instrument Museum is more than just a stroll among interesting instruments from around the world. It is an experience that is enriching, inspiring, fascinating, and just plain fun.

MIM’s founder Bob Ulrich (then CEO of Target Corporation) was inspired to develop a new kind of museum that focused on the kind of instruments played every day by people worldwide. Today, the collection has over 8,000 instruments from more than 200 countries.

In the five Geographic Galleries, guests can see, hear, and experience musical traditions from every corner of the globe. These galleries focus on the major world regions of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Latin America, Europe, and the United States and Canada. Many of the instruments are rare and the finest of their kind. Many are historically significant and are part of distinctive musical cultures.

You will don a museum-issued headset, and as you approach video monitors in the various exhibit spaces, the videos begin to play footage of musical performances that show instruments played in their original contexts. The video combined with the sounds of the music transports you to other cultures and their unique styles of music and dance.

When you finish your tour of the museum, you will feel an appreciation of diverse cultures and the craftsmanship and traditions of instrument makers from the past to the present. Your sensory experience will pull on your emotions in ways you may not expect.

In addition to MIM’s regular museum exhibits, you can attend a wide range of concerts in their beautiful concert hall throughout the year. MIM also offers classes for children up to age 10, field trips for school groups, and a STEM video collection for educators.

Be sure to check out the oldest instrument in the museum: a paigu goblet drum. It dates to China’s Neolithic period and is estimated to have been created between 5000 and 4000 BCE. The drumhead may have been made of snake or frog skin. For more information about the museum, visit mim.org.

Categories
Home Management

20 Steps to Sell Your Home

As a homeowner, you can play an important part in the timely sale of your property. With guidance from your RE/MAX Sales Associate, here are some simple steps to facilitate selling your home faster and at the best possible price.

  1. Make the Most of First Impressions

A well-manicured yard, neatly trimmed shrubs, and a clutter-free patio welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted front door. Work with your landscaper to blow away all leaves and be sure to freshen up the paint on yard walls. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.

2. Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends

Here is your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. A paint refresh adds value to your property. Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, “with a little work.”

3. Check Faucets and Bulbs

Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks, and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned-out bulbs leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home.

4. Don’t Shut Out a Sale

If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.

5. Think Safety

Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps; roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs, and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.

Check out our online guide 20 Steps to Help You Sell Your Home for the remaining valuable tips. Visit SunPropertiesAZ.com/about-fountain-hills.