Title:
Insect repellant barrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An elongate insect repellant barrier for application to the exterior of a building. The barrier is formed of a backing extending in a substantially vertical direction when applied to the exterior of a building, a bottom surface extending from the backing, and a lip formed along the front edge thereof. The backing, bottom surface and lip form a trough along the length of the barrier, and an upper angled surface slopes downwardly from the backing and extends outwardly from the backing to overhang the lip along the length of the elongate barrier. The trough is filled with a mixture of mineral oil, or other light oil, and water, from which crawling insects attempting to enter the building fall as they reach the top of the lip on the front edge of the elongate member and are unlikely to escape, and the overhanging angled surface protects the oil and water mixture in the trough from being affected by ambient weather conditions.



Inventors:
Marr, Jimmy F. (La porte, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/999589
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
12/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/72
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PEVARSKI, BENJAMIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark R. Wisner, (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insect repellant barrier adapted for application to a building or other structure comprising: an elongate backing extending in a substantially vertical direction when said applied to the exterior of a building; a bottom surface extending from said backing and having a lip formed along the front edge thereof, said backing, bottom surface and lip forming a trough along the length of said elongate backing; and an upper angled surface sloped downwardly from said backing and extending outwardly from said backing to overhang said lip along the length of said elongate backing.

2. The insect repellant barrier of claim 1 additionally comprising an oil-water mixture contained within the trough.

3. The insect repellant barrier of claim 1 wherein said upper angled surface additionally comprises a front edge extending along the length thereof.

4. The insect repellant barrier of claim 1 wherein said elongate backing is applied to the exterior of a building by an adhesive that seals between said backing and the exterior of the building.

5. The insect repellant barrier of claim 1 wherein said elongate backing is substantially level when applied to the exterior of the building.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/874,156, filed Dec. 12, 2006, which related patent application is hereby incorporated in its entirety by this specific reference thereto.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a barrier that is applied or installed to a building or other structure for repelling entry of insects into the building or structure. In more detail, the present invention relates to a barrier that is applied to the outside of the building that traps crawling insects attempting to enter the building along the building foundation.

In today's environmentally conscious world, it is no longer acceptable to repel insects from, for instance, building interiors by applying increasing amounts of stronger chemicals. Such chemicals require periodic re-application, further increasing their impact on the environment and even the health and safety of those who apply such chemicals and those who live and/or work in the buildings to which they are applied.

At the same time, and for some of the same reasons, stringent governmental controls for both the composition of chemical insect repellants and for methods of application of chemical insect repellants increase the cost of traditional insect repellant chemicals such that such methods are not as economical as in years past. For similar reasons, so far as is known, there are no safe and efficacious insect repellants that can be applied by the “do-it-yourself” home and/or business owner. Nor are there any known insect repellant methods or treatments that can be applied to a building or structure once, without repeated applications (and repeated cost).

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an environmentally-friendly insect barrier for application or installation on buildings or other structures.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a barrier that is easily and quickly applied to the exterior of a building or other structure for trapping insects, especially crawling insects, that would otherwise enter the building or other structure.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that is effective in repelling insects from the interior of buildings or other structures.

Another object of the present invention is to effectively repel insects from buildings or other structures without the need for re-application of toxic or harmful chemicals.

Similarly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that is effective at repelling insects even after long exposure to ambient weather conditions, including heat, cold, and moisture.

Other objects, and the many advantages of the present invention, will be made clear to those skilled in the art in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment(s) of the invention and the drawings appended hereto. Those skilled in the art will recognize, however, that the embodiment(s) of the present invention that are described herein are only examples of specific embodiment(s), set out for the purpose of describing the making and using of the present invention, and that the embodiment(s) shown and/or described herein are not the only embodiment(s) of method performed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention meets the above-described objects by providing an elongate member adapted for mounting to the exterior of a building or other structure. The elongate member is formed with a cross-sectional shape comprised of a backing extending in a substantially vertical direction when said member is applied to the exterior of a building, a bottom surface extending substantially horizontally from the backing and having a lip formed along the front edge thereof, the backing, bottom surface and lip forming a trough along the length of the elongate member, and an upper angled surface sloped downwardly from the backing and extending outwardly from the backing to overhang the lip along the length of the elongate member. The trough is filled with a mixture of mineral oil, or other light oil, and water, from which crawling insects attempting to enter the building fall as they reach the top of the lip on the front edge of the elongate member and are unlikely to escape, and the overhanging angled surface protects the oil and water mixture in the trough from being affected by ambient weather conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the figures, FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic sectional view of a presently preferred embodiment of the insect repellant barrier of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

Referring now to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated and will be described in detail. The insect repellant barrier is indicated generally in FIG. 1 at reference numeral 10, and is applied to the foundation or an exterior wall of a building or other structure, the concrete slab 12 of a building being shown in FIG. 1 at a point above ground level 14. As known in the art, the building or other structure is provided with an interior wall 16 with the exterior brick, siding, or other facing being shown at reference numeral 18. After removing any dirt the extends up the side of the slab 12 from ground level 14 and cleaning the exterior surface of slab 12 to which barrier 10 is to be applied, the barrier 10 is adhered to concrete slab 12 with a bead of caulk or building adhesive. A silicone caulk is preferred for this purpose because of the durability and water repellant capabilities of that material and, although as described below, barrier 10 is preferably made of a material that flexes and therefore follows the contour of the exterior surface of slab 12, it may also be advantageous to fill any cracks or voids in the exterior surface of slab 12 with caulk or other material as known in the construction arts to provide a smooth surface to which barrier 10 is adhered and to seal the exterior of slab 12 against barrier 10. As shown in FIG. 1, two beads, or rows, 20 of caulk provide satisfactory adherence to slab 12, but as set out below, the exterior surface of barrier 10 is preferably provided with a bead of caulk to provide a weather seal that also seals the barrier 10 against slab 12 such that those skilled in the art will recognize that barrier 10 can also be applied to the exterior surface of slab 12 using masonry screws or other conventional fasteners known in the art, hence the use of the term “applied” herein for characterizing the relationship between barrier 10 and slab 12. If masonry screws or other fasteners are utilized to apply barrier 10 to slab 12, it is important that the screws be inserted through barrier 10 near the top and that each screw hole be sealed with caulk so that the oil-water mixture 22 (see below) does not leak through the screw holes and to insure an effective barrier against crawling insects.

In applying barrier 10 to slab 12, it is important that the barrier, which is applied so that it extends around the perimeter of the entire building, be level. Further, barrier 10 is comprised of aluminum, vinyl or other polymeric plastic, or other material that is seamed and/or sealed in accordance with techniques known in the construction industry for, for instance, installation of gutters. For instance, if barrier 10 is comprised of vinyl, scrap pieces may be used with PVC cement to complete the barrier in accordance with known techniques around both interior and exterior corners of the building supported on slab 12.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the structure of barrier 10 will now be described in detail. Barrier 10 is formed from an elongate member that is comprised of a backing 24 that is substantially vertical when barrier 10 is properly applied to slab 12. A bottom surface 26 extends from backing 24 and, although shown as being substantially horizontal in FIG. 1, there is no requirement that the bottom surface 26 extend at a right angle from the backing 24, or even that the bottom surface 26 be flat. The present invention contemplates, for instance, that the bottom surface may extend at an angle other than 90° from the backing 24 for, for instance, application of barrier 10 to surfaces that are not vertical and/or that, in the alternative, the bottom surface 26 may be curved to form a gutter (not shown). The front edge of bottom surface 26 is provided with a lip 28 that extends along the length of elongate backing 24, and lip 28, bottom surface 26, and backing 24 form a trough 30 that likewise extends along the length of backing 24 that is, as described below, at least partially filled with an oil-water mixture 22.

As shown at reference numeral 32, the top edge 34 of backing 24 is provided with an angled surface sloped downwardly from backing 24 and extending outwardly from backing 24 to overhang lip 28 that extends along the length of backing 24. As will be apparent from FIG. 1, the combination of the downward slope and overhang of angled surface 32 provides effective protection of trough 30, having the oil-water mixture 22 therein, against the entry of ambient moisture, dirt, and other elements; angled surface 32 provides a second function as set out in more detail below. Although not shown in FIG. 1, and not necessarily required for effective sealing against environmental conditions and crawling insects, the top edge 34 of backing 24 may be sealed against the exterior surface of slab 12 by a bead of caulk that is applied at the juncture of the exterior of the top edge 34 and slab 12.

The trough 30 formed by lip 28, bottom surface 26 and backing 24 that extends along the length of barrier 10 is at least partially filled with a mixture of oil and water so that insects that crawl up the exterior of and over lip 28 fall into the mixture 22 and are trapped therein. Any crawling insects that do manage to escape from the oil-water mixture 22 in trough 30 can only exit trough 30 from the front over lip 28, keeping them away from slab 12, or up the backing 24. Of course insects that do crawl up backing 24 encounter angled surface 32 and, if the insect crawls along the underside of angled surface 32 without falling back into oil-water mixture 22, the insect next encounters the overhanging front edge 36 of angled surface 32. The overhanging front edge 36 provides another difficult passage from a crawling insect such that the likelihood of the insect being able to navigate from the underside of angled surface 32, around front edge 36, and then onto the outside, or top, of the angled surface 32 of barrier 10 is small enough that barrier 10 acts to effectively exclude such insects from the interior of the building supported by slab 12.

In a presently preferred embodiment, the oil-water mixture 22 is a mixture of mineral oil and water, mineral oil being preferred for its ready availability, low cost, and resistance to breakdown. Water is preferably added to trough 30 to a depth of about a quarter of an inch and the oil is then preferably added to the top of the water to act as a “cap” to reduce evaporation of water from trough 30. Those skilled in the art will recognize that even with the oil “cap,” it will be necessary to check and replenish the water in trough 30 periodically, and also that oils other than mineral oil may be used to advantage in connection with the insect repellant barrier of the present invention. Although it is important that the oil be relatively inflammable, other oils that may be utilized include essential (preferably mixed with a resin), vegetable (for instance, inedible oils such as palm or coconut oil), and fat-derived (tallow or fish oil, for instance) oils, but mineral oils are preferred because of their resistance to breakdown of the organic molecules. The oil in oil-water mixture 22 provides the added benefit of wetting the exterior of the body of a crawling insect that falls into trough 30, increasing the likelihood that the insect will not escape.

Those skilled in the art who have the benefit of this disclosure will also recognize that certain changes can be made to the component parts of the insect repellant barrier of the present invention without changing the manner in which those component parts function and/or interact to achieve their intended result. All such changes, and others that will be clear to those skilled in the art from this description of the preferred embodiment(s) of the invention, are intended to fall within the scope of the following, non-limiting claims.