Why would anyone want to voluntarily expose themselves to chemicals around their homes or on their bodies? If it is for lack of effective options, then it is way past time to get up to date.
There are so many options now for gentle pest control and bug repellent that even if you need to call a professional, there may be one in your area who offers plant based products in addition to the normal industrial strength spray. But first, check out these solutions that you can pick up for yourself.
Gentle Pest Control for Your Home
There is a whole new movement in the pest control world these days, and it’s called Integrated Pest Management. It’s all about using a variety of strategies to keep pests under control without spraying poison all over. Even the Environmental Protection Agency got in on the act.
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“Many chemical pesticides are very toxic, and in addition to killing pests, they can harm you, your children, your pets and the environment. So next time, before reaching for that can of bug spray, try some of these safer alternatives.”
Different pests require different solutions. The EPA suggests using Borax for some of them, but that isn’t exactly gentle, and is still a danger to kids and pets. So we are sticking to the more natural alternatives. Here’s a sample of remedies for the most common.
One of the most effective natural pest control products you will ever find is food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It works on roaches, fleas, ants, even bedbugs. It consists mostly of silica that will tear up the waxy outer layer of exoskeletons, allowing their lipids to leak out and causing them to dehydrate. It is super effective, and so safe for mammals that there are people who believe eating a bit every day will help them live to over 100 years old.
Be sure to read the instructions carefully, keep it dry and airtight, and check out its other benefits. While Diatomaceous Earth is readily available, here are a few more remedies you can try until you get a chance to buy some.
To trap and kill flies that are in your home, sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil on pieces of cloth and place them near where you will be serving food. You can also place them near your pet’s food bowl.
To stop too many flies from entering your home, fill cheesecloth sachets with cloves, bay and basil leaves that have been sprinkled in eucalyptus oil. Place them near doors, windows, cracks and wherever else flies are getting in.
Even when you have monthly service, many pest control companies will charge you extra to deal with an infestation of ants. Not only will that be more expensive, you will have another harsh chemical to deal with on top of the usual ones. And it’s completely unnecessary, because ants are actually one of the easiest pests to be rid of.
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If you already have an infestation of ants inside your home, you can kill them by simply spraying them with soapy water. If you can find where they are coming in, then place citrus oil or cayenne pepper along their entry path.
Fleas are not just a problem for pets, a lot of people are extremely sensitive to them. While regularly brushing and combing them outdoors, and bathing them with mild soap will always help, there are a couple of simple steps you can take to keep fleas at bay.
1. Try adding garlic and brewer’s yeast to his food.
2. Lemon rub: Score a lemon all over its peel, then slice and put into a container with 1 cup of boiling water. After letting the slices soak in the water overnight, remove them and rub the water into your pet’s fur. Double the recipe for large or very furry pets.
Soapy water works on cockroaches, as well as ants. If you don’t have cats, you can make cheesecloth sachets with dried catnip, or spray baseboards, counters and cabinets with catnip tea. Non-toxic roach traps are available, as well.
Personal Insect Repellent
Most insect repellents contain DEET, which is a very harsh chemical, and one to be avoided whenever possible. However, it is effective against mosquitos, ticks and other insects for up to 8 hours. That makes it hard to resist when you are going to be outdoors for a long time.
It turns out that substances which have gained popularity over the years are actually not effective for very long. Citronella only works for about 20 minutes, and Avon’s Skin So Soft for less than ten. Many other oils have been tried, but none proven conclusively to work.
Still, progress has been made in recent years. CBS News reports that soy based products, such as Bite Blocker for Kids, is effective for up to 90 minutes.
The big winner, though, is Geraniol. Dr. Andrew Weil notes on Prevention.com that this compound from the geranium plant is effective against a wide variety of insects, including fleas, fire ants and mosquitos for up to 6 hours. It repels mosquitos and deer ticks as effectively as products using DEET, and is found under the brand name of Repel.
With all the diseases carried by mosquitos, you’ll want to be most vigilant at keeping them away. The best way to do that is not to have any standing water around for more than a short period of time. Make sure your screens have no holes, and try to have a fan on whenever you are sitting in one place for a while, even on an outside porch. Moving air makes it hard for them to land on you.
Unless it’s blisteringly hot, cover up completely if you are outside for a while. Be especially careful at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
There is no longer any reason to use harsh chemicals for pest control. With Geraniol for personal insect repellent and Diatomaceous Earth for pests all over your home, you can be covered for most anything. Even plain old soapy water can dispatch two of the peskiest problems: ants and cockroaches. So treat yourself and your family to a more gentle method of extermination.