After writing the previous article covering the impact of pesticides on the human body according to scientists, I thought it only fair to follow up with a post showing just how easy it can be to avoid using pesticides in the home.
Natural pest control is a huge step towards sustainable living. These options are inexpensive, take minutes to put together and best of all will keep your home free from one area of particularly nasty chemicals. To remind you of why this is essential take a look at the following list:
It is also important to remember that most of the bugs that we encounter are not dangerous. If we are honest, they are usually just an irritation. I do not deny that some are VERY irritating – droning mosquitos which leave you itchy for days is the one that comes to mind – but where possible, exterminating them should not be our first choice. We need these insects whether we like it or not. They are an essential part of our ecosystem. Destroying them will ultimately destroy our food chain.
Pest control must start with prevention. There are simple steps that you can take to greatly reduce the number of bugs that trespass onto your territory!
Clean up! – Hygiene plays a bit part in the fight against mini beast invaders at home. It is simple, get rid of anything that will attract insects. Dripping or worse still, standing water, dirty dishes, greasy countertops, filthy garbage cans (inside and outside) and pet food on the floor are serious offenders for luring insects. Hygiene plays a bit part in the fight against mini beast invaders at home.
Seal the cracks – look out for any nooks and crannies that insects can sneak through. Window frames, electrical outlets etc. Seal them up where possible.
Helpful bugs – some insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantis, and most spiders actually help in the fight against bugs, as they eat them for you! If you can tolerate them then this is the best, most natural option for pest control.
Birds and geckos – – Encourage birds to your garden with a feeder and birdbath, which will not only make you feel happy, it will also reduce the amount of bugs in the garden – meaning fewer crawling inside your home. You may be lucky enough to have geckos in your home depending on your location in the World. These are fantastic fly hunters and make for great entertainment as they stalk the ceiling on the prowl. They also perform a Western-style show down on the ceiling when another gecko gets too close!
Houseplants – choose to fill your home with plants that repel insects. Good choices are marigolds and thai lemongrass. This will give you the added advantage of cleaning the air of toxins. You can read more about that here.
2. Insect traps – These lure the insects away from your home, so use them away from the areas you will be spending time. Outside of your home is great. Most of these traps can be used repeatedly.
Wasps – are a very beneficial insect to have around. I know that is hard to remember when we see them act with aggression. They are territorial and will sting as many time as they can if threatened. Try hanging fake nests outside of your home as a repellant as they will often steer clear. If that fails create a bottle trap as described here.
You will need an empty, clear, 2-Liter bottle
Strong sticky tape
Sugary liquid (sugar water, soda pop, juice)
Rope or wire
Cut the top off the plastic bottle, and slather cooking oil down the insides of the bottle’s walls (this prevents crawl-outs!).
Insert the spout end into the empty bottle to create a downward cone, and tape it in place. Make holes to attach your rope (for hanging). Pour in around 3 inches of your sweet liquid and hang up, out of reach of children and pets. Be amazed!
Mosquitos – You can adapt the wasp trap to attract mossies instead! You just need to change the sticky liquid to the following concoction.
1 cup sugar
1 cup very warm water
1 cup room-temperature water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
Mix the sugar and hot water, and then stir in the yeast. It will get all frothy and at that point pour it into the bottle with another cup of water. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and store in a dark, warm, humid place for a week to allow the yeast to ferment, and then hang up to attract those pesky buzzers to the CO2 that is emitted.
Cockroaches – The bottle will work for these persistent bugs too. Make sure to really grease the inside of the bottle though as they are incredible climbers. Use a sticky sweet liquid as the bait and position in dark humid spots like under the sink in the bathroom and kitchen. Double sided tape also works well anywhere you have spotted roach droppings.
Flies – you can make your own sticky paper quite simply using old paper bags or piece of cardboard. Mix up a paste of sugar, corn sugar and water by heating it on a stove. Once it is cool, spread the paste onto your paper of choice and hang strategically around the house.
3. Diatomaceous Earth – is a sedimentary rock made up of of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. You can buy it finely ground, where it dehydrates many insects including roaches, ants, slugs, spiders. It can be sprinkled in problem areas and mixed with water to create a spray.
4. Neem Oil – has been used by many cultures for centuries as a natural pesticide. It is effective when sprayed around the boundaries of the home as a repellant.
5. Garlic oil – is something that can be created at home. Soak fresh minced garlic in boiled water for around 2-3 weeks and then strain. Spray this in and around the home to repel most insects (and possibly vampires too!).
6. Create a blend of essential oils – to use on your skin as a repellent, or diffuse through a room. Try a combination of the following oils mixed with a base oil – Arborvitae, Catnip, African Sandalwood, Eucalyptus, Wild Orange, Citronella, Tea Tree and Cedarwood.
Be wary of off-the-shelf natural and organic pest control products. Read and research carefully and check especially if they are safe for children and pets if that is a factor of concern for you.
7. Boric Acid – This is not an entirely safe option, but it is better than spraying chemicals around the house if you are really struggling to control insects. You can create a mixture of 100% boric acid and sugar, and sprinkle around problem areas. If you have children or pets try making balls that you can hide in dark spots such as behind the fridge and under cupboards to keep them out of harms way. Simply use boric acid, sugar and shortening to make golf ball sized spheres. The shortening will attract cockroaches and other bugs that like grease.
There are so many natural options that you can try to keep insects under control in your home. Remember, prevention comes first! We depend on insects to keep our eco-system robust and healthy, so try to curb your need to annihilate.
What is your choice of pest control at home? Will you be trying any of these? If anyone would like a gecko, my personal choice of bug control I can ship one over to you! 😉
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