You can limit the amount of pesticides you and your family are exposed to by using organic pest control. The use of pesticides and chemicals to control ants or roaches to the use of chemically controlled lawns all affect us as we walk through these substances and bring them into our living environment. Reduce your exposure by implementing organic pest control in and around your home.
Begin with your lawn
- Do a soil test about every three to five years and find out what your lawn needs to keep it healthy. Does it need a fertilizer?
- If you find your lawn needs a boost, use an organic fertilizer produced from plant or animal materials. The use of these allows your grass to take in nutrients slowly as the excess nutrients bind to the soil instead of running into the sewer systems, rivers, and lakes.
- Lawns should be watered deeply early in the morning so it evaporates and does not encourage the growth of fungus. Experts say a lawn should receive one inch of water a week.
- Treat weeds naturally and without chemicals. Corn meal gluten used in the early spring will benefit your lawn and help it to grow strong.
- Controlling pests
Block a pest’s access to food, water and shelter will mean you will have fewer pests in your home and need less insecticides.
- Caulk and seal cracks and holes on the outside of your house. Door sweeps and avoid leaving your doors open will reduce the entry of pests. Check all windows and repair any tears.
- Do not let food or water sitting around. Clean your food preparation areas well. Do not let crumbs lay on cupboards or floors by sweeping or vacuuming daily. Keep all food in sealed containers and not in boxed or plastic bags. Make sure all containers are air-tight and remove all standing water containers.
- Do not let clutter lay around. A messy room will give pests a place to take shelter and hide. Seal all holes in the walls including ones for plumbing and electrical cords. Check your baseboards and seal any that have gaps between them and the wall. Many pests are small and these gaps provide the perfect spot for them to hide or set up home.
If after following all these preventive measures you still find there are unwanted pests in your home; use organic pest control rather than chemical ones.
Organic pest control
Insects seem to be a part of every household despite our efforts to maintain an environment uninviting to them. There are a number of pesticides sold for almost every common household pests, but they contain potentially harmful chemical compounds that may be more harmful to you and the environment than to the pests. There are alternatives to use that are non-toxic ways to control insect pests:
Organic Ant Control
The first line of defense against the common house ant is not to let attractive food sources available to them. Keep your counters free of sticky substances and crumbs. If they still insist on sharing your home, fight them off with:
- A spray bottle filled with soapy water. Spraying the ants with soapy water will eliminate them.
- Ants do not like cucumbers, especially bitter ones. Set out a few cucumber peelings where you know ants come into the house to keep them away.
- Ants do not like mint or cloves. Set a few bags of mint leaves or cloves where you see activity in order to deter them from wanting to be in your home.
- Ants can be discouraged when their patterns are disrupted. By leaving a light on in the area you see them the most may disrupt them enough to leave.
Organic Mosquito Control
- Mosquitos are most active in the early morning and again in the early evening. Make sure all doors and windows are closed, especially during these times to reduce any that may be trying to gain access to the inside of your home.
- Standing water attracts mosquitos more than warm blood because they lay their eggs in water and require it for breeding. Do not leave containers siting around for any length of time where the water will become stagnant. If you have bird baths, pet dishes of water or wading pools, change the water often to keep fresh.
- Herbal Armor is a nontoxic DEET- free repellent recommended by National Geographic and reported by campers to be very effective against mosquitos. Citronella beeswax in candles placed low to the ground around decks and areas with no breeze will work well in chasing mosquitos away from you.
A natural bug repellent that has shown great results is one part garlic juice mixed with five parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well and lightly spray on exposed body parts for a good repellent that will protect you for up to five to six hours. If you do not want to wear the spray; you can dip cotton balls in the mixture and hang around the area you are in outside. You can also purchase a commercially garlic based, all natural mosquito repellent that will keep mosquitoes away for up to four weeks.
- If you have a bar-b-que throw some sage or rosemary on the coals to keep mosquitoes away.
- If all your efforts to rid your area of mosquitoes fail and you are bit; Ditch the Itch is a non-toxic cream to take the itch out of your bites.
Organic Fly Control
- Mint is great fly repellent. Small bags of crushed mint leaves will discourage flies from invading your area.
- Other natural ingredients are; bay leaves, cloves and eucalyptus which will discourage flies from bothering you. Wrapped one or more these in cheesecloth and hang in areas where the flies are being a nuisance.
- Make your own flypaper. Mix one quarter cup syrup; one tablespoon granulated sugar and one tablespoon brown sugar in a bowl. Using strips of kraft paper spread this mixture on the paper and let dry overnight. Hang the next day where flies are bothering you with a string or thread.
- There are pheromone-based outdoor fly traps that are safe and non-toxic.
- If you have pet food or other containers of food that sit in the open; place a small bowl of sweet basil near them to keep flies away.
Other Home Pest Control
- Moths : can be chased away with cedar chips in a cheesecloth or cedar oil in a cloth. The cedar should be from the juniper which has the most aromas. Sachets can also be made from; bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, lavender or pepper corns to repel the moth.
- Stink Bugs: can be found indoors and usually controllable with a vacuum. Diatomaceous earth can be applied to attics where they like to migrate. There are also non-toxic stink bug traps on the market.
Insects and pests are a part of life but toxic pesticides don’t have to be. Protect your family from these annoying and possibly disease carrying pests without further endangering them with toxic poisons. Use these tips to keep your family safe.