PESTICIDES: Non Toxic Solutions for Pest Control

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.

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