5 Best Free Family Games & Top 5 Group Board Games

So family and friends will be visiting this week, and meal time is pretty easy, but what to do with the rest of the time you will be together? Instead of turning on the tube this holiday season why not try some good’ole fashioned party games? Sure there are your traditional board games like Monopoly and Settlers of Catan as of recent years. But not everybody is into throwing dice in a competitive battle of pure luck. From a board game fanatic, here are a few games that pretty much anyone can enjoy. This is the pest control guy’s list of Top 10 Games to play with your Holiday group this year.

The 5 Best Free Family Friendly Games This Season

#1 – What Were You Thinking?

This game was sold as a box game at one time and you might be able to find it as a collectible. But the game is simple enough to play with just paper and pencils and a few categories or questions from the group.  So pick a category, like “Disney Movies”, then ask everyone to name 5 Disney Movies. Give everyone a minute to write up their list. Then you start with one person reading their answers. As they read their first answer “Pinocchio” the question is then asked, who else wrote “Pinocchio”? Everyone that wrote that answer is totaled and everyone scores that total for “Pinocchio”. The object of the game is to match others and have the highest score after 5 to 6 rounds.  The laughs happen as people listen to the varied responses and find out how unique individuals think. As the box version reads; “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you think the same.”

  • A few questions and categories to get you in the holiday mood:
  • Top 5 must have food dishes on Thanksgiving
  • 5 Best tasting topping for Turkey
  • List 5 Pies
  • Name 5 things you have seen in 2017 with Pumpkin Spice Flavoring
  • Give us 5 things you are thankful for
  • Name 5 people you will say “Thank You” to today.

#2 – Three Stage Charades

This is by far the best version of charades you will ever play. Best for groups of 8 or more. Divide into two teams. Send one team into another room. Each team will now write down these 3 things: Person, Thing, Action. Now the two teams will come back together. Each team will now pick 3 people to act out the charades and 1 person to guess. Two of the actors and the one guesser will need to all leave the room.  The words will now be revealed to the first charades player. One of the actors will be called back into the room. The player with the revealed words will then act out each word/category separately for the next charades actor. After each word has been acted out without speaking of sounds for the 2nd actor. The 3rd actor will be called in and the 2nd will repeat the process of acting out for the 3rd. Finally they guesser is to be brought in and the guesser will need to guess each of the 3 words. Essentially the game is telephone charades in 3 stages. The lost in translation that happens with the typical telephone game is amplified by the fact that no one is speaking in charades as they try to pass the message along.

#3 – Telephone Charades Race

This version of Charades is similar to the last in that the word is passed from player to player by acting only, but this one is done in race-relay style. You have your teams evenly split. You will want at least 5 players per team and no more than 8 players per team. If you have 20 people, go with 4 teams of 5. If you have 18 go with 3 teams of 6. Two teams line up all facing one direction looking at the back of their team players’ head. The two opposing players on the end that can see the rest of the teams will start. They will both receive the word they will be acting out. The race begins as both players tap the shoulder of the person in front of them then proceed to pass the word along. Once the receiving team member feels fairly confident about the word they can turn and tap the shoulder of the person in front of them passing it up the line. Players only turn around to receive the clue as their shoulders are tapped. It is a race and there should be an object to grab to determine which team finishes the race first. The team that finishes the race first gets first guess. If they guess correctly they get a point for the total number of players on the team. If they guess incorrectly it passes to the other team to guess. A correct guess will give them full points for all members on the team. If they fail then it goes to the next player on the opposing team to guess but now it’s minus 1 point. The guessing goes back and forth until the correct guess is given points reducing by 1 for each player that fails. There are no points awarded if neither team can guess it. Play this with an even set of rounds for each team you have. You may also have 3 lines going at the same time.  Any way you play it, this the game is fun. The fast paced acting out is sure to gets some laughs.

#4 Guessing Celebrities in 3’s

Some call this game Fish Bowl. This game is also sold as Monikers. It requires a big bowl and 3 or 4 slips of paper for every player.  All players will need to write down Celebrity names on their papers. Fold the papers in half so that the name written is not visible and drop them in the bowl. Now divide into two teams. A minute timer will be needed. Play will then pass between teams as players step up and pull names from the bowl. The object is to get your team to guess as many celebrities as you can in 1 minute. As you empty the bowl, your team scores 1 point for each correct guess. Players may pass, but each pass will cost them a point. You may allow 1 or 2 free passes per player. Names passed are placed back into the bowl. Keep score after each player takes their turn. An opposing team player may also help younger children with reading or knowing who the celebrity is. This is played in 3 stages. At the end of each stage the names are all placed back into the bowl. Any remaining time at the end of a stage is given back to the team in play and they will begin the next stage with that time.

  • Stage 1 is “Say Anything”. You can say as much as you like so long as you are giving clues and not saying the celebrity’s name, spelling it out, or rhyming it with.
  • Stage 2 is “Acting Only”. You must act out only; no sounds, no sign language.
  • Stage 3 is “One Word”. No acting or pointing. Simply draw the name and give a single word.
  • Total up the points at the end of stage 3 and game over. This game passes one-minute at a time quickly. Competition can be fierce and celebrities everywhere will be offended.

#5 What If?

This game of wacky questions paired with random answers may create some lifelong inside jokes. Keeping an open mind for chaos and none sense is required to enjoy “What If…?”. Papers and pencils required. Write a “What if…” question. Throw the questions back into a hat and everyone draws. Make sure you get someone else’s question. On a spate paper, write an answer starting with “Then…”. Now re-distribute the answers. The game proceeds as players will now read their questions and then answer them by reading the random answer they pulled. Many questions will be left unanswered. But sometimes the questions and paired answers just make the perfect non-sense to get everyone laughing.

Just a tip, but personalizing a question or an answer by using players names increases the likelihood of giggles. I mean “What if Uncle Bobbie really did turn into turkey?…”. 

Top 5 Board Games for Big Groups of Families and Friends 

#1 Code Names

Topping my list of party size board games these days is Code Names. Best with at least 6 players. Clue giving word game at its finest.

#2 The Game of Things

This game is a great get to know you game as players guess who gave what answer. Sold in a box, but playable without the official board game. Still, the box set moves play along rapidly and this game is a keeper. Keep your party alive and kicking with this fantastic board game.

#3 Ultimate Werewolf

This game has taken on many forms from the free for all “Mafia” party game, to the more refined “The Resistance” game best as “Avalon”. In its many forms it will remain a party game for years to come. But I give you this version “One Night Ultimate Werewolf” as its best family and friend version. Absolutely playable for all ages. This box set plays each game in under 10 minutes. The app leaves no need for a game facilitator and makes it super easy for anyone to pick up and play. Who needs to read the rules when the app will walk you through?

#4 Telestrations

The best version of Pictionary ever invented. This is the telephone game but on paper and with drawings. Laugh it up as simple and easy ideas distort themselves into never before heard or seen fumblings.

#5 Catch Phrase

Guess the word, pass the ticking time bomb. Whatever team ends up stuck with the buzzer in their hands loses. This game can be too competitive and injuries may occur if the timer is thrown at players, but still worthy of our Top 5 Party Game list.

Venom

The biggest worry people have about having creepy crawlers in their house is getting bitten. while sometimes people just fear their presence, the way they look, or the damage to their food or home. the main concern is getting bitten by these pests. that is why the least popular creatures that invade a home are spiders and (depending on the area) scorpions. Some people don’t like cockroaches because of how gross they look, others dislike ants because of how they scourge food. Spiders and scorpions easily top both of those and it’s for one reason, they can bite and sting. Ants can bite too, but the difference between those little guys versus spiders and scorpions are the affects of the bite. Scorpions and spiders have a bit of a unique quality that differs from other pests, venom.

To be fair, ants, bees and a few other insects do have venom, however that venom does not have the same impact on our body that scorpion and spider venom do. We have an inherent fear of spiders because of the horror stores we have heard about the notorious Black Widow and Brown Recluse. These two spiders carry a venom that can potentially be deadly, so we tend to put that venomous umbrella over all types of spiders.  Scorpions carry a similar amount of clout compared to spiders, and this is often attributed to movies in which we see the effects of the Emperor Scorpion and other dangerous scorpions, we have a fear of what could happen.

 

 

 

 

Black Widow

 

A surprising aspect of venom, is the effect that it has on our bodies when we are bitten or stung. When you are bitten by a black widow the effects usually happen after about 20-60 minutes. After being bitten the venom will travel throughout your body and you will begin to feel pain at the location of the bite, and you may also experience nausea, abdominal pain and muscle cramps. If you have those symptoms, please call 911 or visit your local E.R. or urgent care. Though the affects often wear off within 24 hours, and it isn’t likely that you will die, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Brown Recluse spider bites only differ slightly from that of the Black Widow; after being bitten you won’t notice any effects until about 2-6 hours. Symptoms include pain and itching in the bite area as well slight skin color change in that area due to skin cell damage. It is best to treat these bites by applying ice to the bite and contacting emergency help. As with black widow bites, most of the time the effects will go away without medical treatment as time goes by. Unfortunately, for both of these spiders’ bites, children and the elderly are most susceptible to them and could be fatal danger if the bites go untreated.

Even though there are thousands of species of spiders within the United States, the only two that are “dangerous” are those mentioned above. Among the thousands of spiders that could potentially be in your home (not all at once), most of their bites’ could not even penetrate your skin. We have this inherent fear of spiders in our home because we are terrified of being bitten, but the chances of a bite are minimal, and if you do get bit, it will probably go unnoticed.

AZ Bark Scorpion

Regarding venom, the same holds true with both spiders and scorpions. When a scorpion stings you, the venom will travel throughout your whole body and you will feel quite a bit of pain at the location of the sting. A large difference within this sting versus that of a spider bite, is that there will be quite a bit more pain where the sting occurred, and there will be a bit more swelling. As with spiders, if a child is stung, call 911, poison control, or go to your nearest urgent care of ER because the effects can be detrimental. This same thing is true with scorpions regarding venom. Most of the time the affects of the sting will soon wear off and you will be fine, but again, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Although spiders and scorpions may seem scary and dangerous, they have been over dramatized for years in movies and television shows and therefore seem absolutely terrifying. It is still a good idea to avoid spiders and scorpions when possible, the real pests that can hurt your home are insects like termites that can “erode” your home away. Whether you have termites, spiders, scorpions, ants or another pest, Bulwark Pest Control is the best option to rid of any pests you may have! Call us today at, 1-800-610-7576.

Do all spiders spin webs?

Spider webs are some of the most intricate creations of nature in existence. The way they are made and they way that spiders utilize them, is absolutely incredible. Today, we are going to talk about how spider silk is made and how they use it. It should be known, that all spiders make silk, but not all spiders use that silk to make webs. Other uses of silk include: climbing, building walls for burrows, protection for egg sacs, transportation, and catching prey. Spiders transport by attaching an end of the silk to one side of a tree branch and dangling off the other, then letting go and moving with the wind; this is known as kiting. They also use the silk to “fish” in rivers and such “throwing a line” and catching what sticks. The use of the silk, completely depends upon the type of spider and their role in the wild. Different silks have different uses depending on the niche of the spider as well, some are sticky while others are impeccably strong. Now that we have some semblance of the who, what and why, we can gain a better understanding of how spiders create this stuff!  Spider silk is made within the spider through glands in it’s abdomen. The silk starts as a liquid made out of proteins and as the spider releases the silk out of its abdomen it becomes the fiber that is visible to us, the web. Spiders are so much more complex than the “scary” arachnid we see on the outside. 

Why are wasps important?

Whenever we think of wasps, we think of nasty pests, getting stung, nests on our house, and other annoying attributes they tend to have. What we don’t realize is that where there is bad, there is often some good, and believe it or not, wasps have a pinnacle role in nature in helping the circle of life. Wasps provide parasitism, pollination, and predation. Parasitism happens when two species interact and one of them is helped while the other sacrifices. Wasps are used as insect control in farm crops, because while they don’t damage the crops they lay their eggs in caterpillars and ruin any chance of the caterpillars harming the crop. Wasps, like bees, are also pollinators. People always think of bees as the only pollinators, and that without them plants would die, which is true, but wasps are just as important and effective when it comes to pollinating. Predation, is perhaps one of the most important attributes that wasps offer. Some people know that wasps are great spider killers, but lesser known is the just how many insects they actually kill. Without wasps there would an exponentially greater number of insects in the world, so much that it would affect our ecosystem. Wasps are important, and without them there would be an astronomical ripple effect within the circle of life. Be careful the next time you see these pesky creatures, but keep in mind that they do a lot for us! 

 

Why do scorpions sting themselves?

Most mysterious creepy things in this world are known to have some sort of myth or legend about them, and scorpions are no different. For scorpions, the myth is, when they are cornered or feel they have no chance to survive (for example, being surrounded by fire), scorpions will choose to sting themselves in order to commit suicide, rather than being killed. This myth has some truth to it, but in the end, it is false. When scorpions are in danger they tend to squirm around and sting vigorously around themselves, and thus on occasion, they will accidentally sting themselves. Even though scorpions may sometimes do this, their venom is not venomous to themselves or other scorpions so it would not normally kill them. This makes sense because when a scorpion tries to kill its prey, it will grab onto it and squirm around trying to sting it in order to disorientate its victim. Thus, when a scorpion comes up against an unknown danger, of course it’s going to respond by doing what it is used to doing, squirming and stinging. As far as fire goes, scorpions are cold blooded, so if they are surrounded by fire the scorpion may spasm and accidentally sting itself or it will look as though it is stinging itself. Consider this myth busted. Scorpions hardly ever sting themselves and if they do, it’s not suicide, but accidental self-defense.

 

 

 

 

How is an ant hill made?

Ant hills are some of the most intricate nests in the animal kingdom, yet hardly anyone knows their inner workings, or much about them at all.  I know I always thought that ants just, pile some dirt wherever they want and then live in that hill, but it’s actually far more sophisticated. Here’s the real intricacy behind how ant colonies build their homes. First, they search for the most adequate spot, which needs to be most ground, close to water, but not too close for obvious reasons. Once they have found the perfect spot, the ants will begin to dig their home.

A nest is separated into chambers, with the bottom holding the Queen Ant and her eggs. As the ants carve this out they will bring the dirt to the surface and stack it around the entrance which makes the hill we see above ground. They create a system of chambers and tunnels underground which aids in the organization of the hierarchies of the colony. The chambers stack in a sort of staggering fashion to avoid multiple cave-ins, and each chamber is separated by ant type. There is a chamber for worker ants, a chamber for soldier ants, etc.  This helps the ants be able to work together in a more productive way and helps them do what they need to do to continue their circle of life.

What can eat a spider?

When we think of spiders, we usually think of them as hunters, the top of the food chain, the “Big Kahuna” if you will. Well, believe it or not, there are many types of creatures that go after these bad boys, and today we identify who can size up against the eight-legged menace.

Astonishingly, spiders have a lot of enemies aside from humans. Spiders seem to be at the top because of how many types of insects they dominate, but in reality many creatures stalk spiders as prey, as is the circle of life.

 

There is a niche group of creatures called insectivores that mainly hunt insects and spiders. A few insectivores around us include, bats, lizards, frogs, rats, and birds. Spiders stand little to no chance with these animals, and thus the above insectivores are some of the biggest predators of spiders! 

Now, when it comes to invertebrates, spiders are the boss. In fact, they are ranked one of the top predators ever. The only small creatures that are known to eat spiders are other spiders and wasps. Though spiders rarely eat one another due to the hunt, the most common time another spider will eat its own kind is because a female spider eats its mate in order to aid their young. Though this is the most common occurrence of spider eating spider action, it doesn’t happen all that often. The real killer in this category is the wasp! Wasps are well known to stalk, kill and eat spiders. They do so by stinging and paralyzing the spider, and then burying the spider with its eggs and once the baby wasps hatch, it’s dinner time and they chow down on the spider. 

Getting Rid of Wasps by the Pool

So, you have wasps around your pool, but you don’t know why. Believe it or not, the wasps are there for the water source, they need water to survive and your pool is the most convenient place to get it. You may be thinking, why on Earth do they want to drink from the pool, doesn’t the chlorine bother them? Well, long story short, no; water is water and wasps just don’t care. Though your pool is an easy water source, we have a way to keep them away! 

  1. Call an Exterminator – Always consider getting professional help first, it will help limit the amount of stings you incur and will ensure they are being removed from the location properly.
  2. Find an Alternative Water Source  –  Create some sort of pond, bird bath, or other water source outside of your pool that has a constant source of water. This is a more pest friendly option; the wasps won’t be harmed and they will leave your pool alone. 
  3. Create a Decoy Nest – Wasps are very territorial creatures, and creating a fake nest will surely deter them from the area surrounding your pool.
  4. Build a Trap–  To build a fake trap, cut a water bottle in half and fill it with diesel fuel. The wasps are attracted to the fuel, and will go into the bottle and drown. Though this method is less pest friendly, it gets the job done. 

If all else fails, your best chance is to locate the wasp’s nest by the pool and get rid of it. See my other blog: How do you get rid of a wasp nest? 

      

Why do some things glow under a UV/black light?

What do scorpions and teeth have in common? They both glow under a UV/black light! If you think about it, we see these types of lights quite often, in amusement parks, Halloween, bowling alleys, and even pest control. The real question is why do some things glow under UV/black lights, while others don’t?

 

A black light is actually a type of UV light, there are many types of UV or Ultraviolet lights, but the one in a black light is specifically UV-A. Ultraviolet light is a type of light with a less than normal wavelength, meaning it is out of the the visibility spectrum. UV lights are the the same type of light that emits from the sun. When these UV lights hit and reflect off of certain things, interesting reactions will happen. For example, when UV rays from the sun hit your skin you could get sunburned. In the case of a black light, when the UV light hits the chemical element phosphorus, it reacts by glowing. “Coincidentally”, phosphorus is common in plasma screen televisions, certain fabrics, teeth, fingernails, and scorpions! So if you’re ever at a bowling alley and your shirt, teeth, and fingernails start to glow, the answer is phosphorus!

How do ants work together?

Whether you see them walking in a straight line, carrying their food as a team, or building a colony together, it’s no secret that ants are very organized and have a secret way of communicating that we can’t see.  Surprisingly this “secret” communication they use has nothing to do with speaking. One way ants communicate is by releasing pheromones that are universally understood by one another to signal different things, such as calling attention to food and alerting others of enemies.  Like the story of Hansel and Gretel they leave a trail of breadcrumbs, or, in this case, if an ant finds food, they leave a trail pheromones for the other ants to follow. They do this by using their antennae as sensors and continuing the succession of pheromones as they continue on their path to alert others. Ants also communicate through touch, and will lightly touch one another with their antennae to signal something important is happening. Although ants may not speak to each other, that doesn’t mean they never communicate by sound. When ants aren’t in a good position to send pheromones, like being trapped for example, ants with make a sound by rubbing their leg against a part of their body to make a scraping noise, usually as a distress call. Ants can work together because they, like humans, are among the few animals that can communicate in a way that allows them to be connected, sometimes in a way far beyond what humans do.