Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pest control the natural way

It's the pest you do not want anyone to know you have. You know, those tiny little ants that come in your home. The squirrels that chew through your cable wire, and all the other little creatures you don't want near your home. They can be the worst and anytime you see them you want to pull out the artillery to get rid of them. There is another option and that is to get rid of them naturally. Yes you read this right. Now i'm not saying you have to get rid of those chemical can's under your cabinet. Instead try these natural methods and if those fail then resort to the chemical can's. Or even better get rid of them! So here we go-

If you live in a drought tolerant place then ants are looking for water. Put a few pie pans filled with water outdoors near their trails. If ants are eating your pet food then make an ant moat by putting the pet food bowl in a slightly larger bowl that has an inch of soapy water in it. Ants are horrible swimmers. Try dusting boric acid or borax into cracks that cannot be caulked. Paint brush works well for this.

Ant bait-There are several types of ants. Ants who love proteins and fats and ants that love sweets and are sugar ants. Make a bait for grease ants by mixing a tsp of boric acid with a quarter cup of bacon grease or butter.  Kill sugar ants by mixing 1 1/2 tsp boric acid with 1/3 cup of sugar with one cup of water.  Soak some cotton balls in the boric acid solution.  Put a few of the wet cotton balls or dollop of the greasy bait in a small bottle with a screw on lid, poke ant size holes in the lid, then screw the lid back on.  Lay the bottle on its side in a location where pets and children cannot reach it. Examples:behind the fridge or under the sink.

Squirrels, mice and rats
The best way to keep these guys out of your home is to seal off all entry points to your home.  If you can fit a dime into a hole, a mouse can squeeze through. Rats can squeeze through a nickel size hole and squirrels can fit through a quarter size hole. Did you know rats can chew through concrete? Yes! So any holes need to be plugged. If you find a hole that you suspect is a entry level but don't see any signs of life, try dusting flour near the opening and leave over night. You will find footprints in the flour if there is life.  Use rodent-proof material such as 26 gauge galvanized sheet metal, galvanized hardware cloth(metal mesh), or cement mortar to seal  any opening into the house.

-Do not stack firewood near your home. Rats love to live in piles so stack wood away from your home and eighteen inches off the ground.
-Birdhouses or feeders need to be on poles or hung from metal cables.
-Store pet food or birdseed in metal containers with tight lids.
-Collect fallen fruit or veggies and put them in the compost pile. Bury them under several inches of finished compost.
-Metal garbage cans are rat-resistant. Plastic is not.
-Store all dry goods in airtight metal or glass containers. Never in plastic bags, plastic containers or  cardboard boxes.
-Rats or mice are nocturnal(meaning they are awake at night but sleep during the day) so before you go to bed clean up your kitchen, sweep, and take out trash before you go to bed.
-Peppermint repels mice. Plant peppermint next to your foundation (along with catnip if you have termite problems). Dabbing peppermint oil on shelf edges helps as well.


To keep these away you have to eradicate breeding area's. Try a few of these out.
-Empty pet water dishes, birdbaths, plant saucers and wading pools at least every other day to prevent larvae from maturing.
-Get rid of old tires. Clean out your gutters and drill holes in the bottom of your tire swings.
-Put covers or screens on rain barrels.
-Buy Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (BTi) mosquito dunks or granules and put them in ponds, puddles and other permanent or seasonal bodies of water.  BTi is a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to other organisms.
-Keep your window and door screens in good working order.
-A little brown bat can eat several hundred mosquito's in a single night.  Encourage these busy little insectivores by putting up bat houses, and refrain from using pesticides; bats are very easily poisoned.
-Wear light colored clothing during mosquito season:Mosquitoes are attracted to darker clothing.
-Electric bug zappers do not kill mosquito's.
DO NOT USE DEET filled products. They cause insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function .  Instead use:
A plant-based insect repellent called Bite Blocker. It contains soy bean oil, geranium oil and coconut oil.
Also catnip repels mosquitoes.  The catnip oil can be ten times more effective than DEET. Maybe rub some catnip on your arms while your outside?

Now this should keep you busy for a while. Good luck and remember to try natural methods first before you use chemicals.


    Patty said...

    I have a citronella plant growing near my patio. I can't swear by it but would say it works as well as the candles.
    I don't want to kill the ants, just get them to move along out of the kitchen. Havn't decided what I want to do about the mouse living in my compost bin.
    Thanks for the tips! Now how do I keep the hornworms off my veggies?

    Wonder-ful said...

    It seems like no one in our house gets attacked by mosquitos...except for me. I found that garlic helps. I use to get the garlic suppliments and take them during the summer/early fall, but now since we make meals heavy on the garlic I can skip the supplements.

    Ashley said...

    Another great option is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). It is the only plant-based ingredient recommended by the EPA and Center for Disease Control for use as a repellent. It is proven to work as well as DEET but without all the harmful side effects. Cutter and Repel both make an Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus product and in my opinion they work great. Not only do they keep the bugs away, but they don’t leave you smelling like chemicals as DEET does. I highly recommend them!

    Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

    Wonder-ful-I use garlic when I can but my hubby isn't a big fan of it. His problem is the smell so im wondering if I took garlic supplement would I smell like it? Hmm gonna have to check this one out. Mosquito's and any other type of biting insects love my husband. I wonder if he would be up to taking the supplement.

    Ashley-Thanks for the great tip! I'm ordering some and also citronella for the same reason. Gonna try making my own bug repellent this year. I will keep you posted.