With new reports linking the use of pesticides in our homes and gardens with a host of adverse health effects, I thought I would post some non-toxic solutions for pest control. If you have a favorite that works for you, send me an email and I’ll include it.
Like your mother always said, prevention is the best solution. So, first try to limit access – 90% of all insect infestations come into the home from the outside.
Block pest entrances. Caulk those holes, use door sweeps, and keep door and window screens in good repair.
Eliminate moisture and food sources. If you store pet food outside, in the laundry room or in the mud room, for instance, make sure it is in a tightly closed container. Similarly, keep sugar, flour, cereal, etc., all in sealed containers.
If you keep cat or dog food available, try this neat trick. Place the food bowl inside a bowl of soapy water so your pet can reach the food but ants can’t. It is perfect if you leave out cat food all day – no ants!
Once you have done what you can to prevent access, then try some of the non-toxic solutions.
A poison non-toxic to humans can be mixed with a food that insects find attractive, such as oatmeal (attractive) with plaster-of-Paris (poison); cocoa powder & flour (attractive) with Borax (poison). However, always keep these out of reach of children or out of areas where children are present.
Ants: sprinkle red chili powder, paprika, dried peppermint, peppermint essential oil, or Borax (Borax may be harmful when ingested) where the ants are entering.
Fleas. Feed a pet brewer’s yeast in powder mixed with food or by tablets.
For both ants and fleas, spray a mixture of 4 ounces of natural soap in 1 galloon of water. You can also sprinkle powdered soap around your home’s foundation to keep ants out.
Weed killer. Boil ½ gallon of water. Add ¼ cup of salt and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Pour directly on weeds in the driveway, pathway, sidewalks, etc., while still hot.
Soap makes a great all purpose pesticide. It kills pests by dehydrating them. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap with 1 gallon of water. Spray infested areas. Don’t add more soap than 2 tablespoons because it will dry out the leaves.
Go natural. Encourage natural predators such as ladybugs, lacewings, toads, dragon flies and preying mantis is your garden.
Fleas? As part of an overall flea control strategy, put an herbal sachet with insect repellant herbs in your dog’s bedding. Make a large sachet (about the size of a piece of paper) and fill with any of these repellant herbs; rose geranium, rue, camphor, feverfew, lavender, rosemary, sage, eucalyptus, black walnut tree leaves, or neem. Some dogs can be irritated by herbal pillows.
Try a non-toxic flea powder for your dog. Mix ½ cup baking soda and ½ teaspoon essential orange oil. Blend. Dust onto your dog and work into the fur.
Make your own flea collar. Just place a few drops of repellant essential oil on a cloth collar and repeat weekly. Try orange oil, cedar, or eucalyptus. Keep in mind that essential oils can be irritating so use only a few drops, and don’t try this if your dog has sensitive skin.
A great all purpose pesticide is peppermint castile soap mixed with water. Just add 2 tablespoons liquid peppermint castile soap to 1 gallon water. Spray where you have infestations. Do not rinse. Flies, ants, fleas and mice avoid peppermint.
Got mice in your garden? Plant lots of mint. Mice avoid mint like the plague.