Are tiny, unwanted creatures lurking around your home? Insects might be a huge benefit to the outside environment, but feel people feel as pleased to see them taking residence in their house. If your home is becoming overrun with hordes of bugs, it might be time to make some changes so they feel a little less welcome.
However, buying the biggest bottle of insecticide you can find is not the answer. The same chemicals that stop insect invaders in their tracks can also have some dire consequences for the humans nearby, and putting you and your family at risk is never worth the relief of an ant-free kitchen.
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural alternatives that can keep your pest problems to the bare minimum. Best of all, these techniques go beyond the ‘just keep your counters clean’ advice, because every natural living enthusiast knows how unrealistic that is when there’s sourdough bread to make and homemade cheese to age!
By following the techniques in this article, you will soon learn to banish the bugs that leave your space looking gross. But first, let’s look at the impacts on your health and your body of using toxic pesticides.
The Dire Cost of Household Pesticides
You might be surprised to learn just how many chemicals you are exposed to. In fact, North Americans use over 136 million pounds of pesticides in their yards and homes every year- over three times the concentration used by farmers! Not only does this cause massive problems for wildlife and nearby water sources, it also has a profound effect on your health.
According to the U.S. Center For Disease Control, the average American now has 43 different types of pesticide in their bloodstream. When these chemicals build up to dangerous levels, they can cause a host of health problems, including nausea, headaches and more serious health problems like reproductive damage and cancer. Worst of all, children are the ones most affected by pesticides, especially kids that like to play outside or put things in their mouths. Not enough research has been done to know how much pesticide exposure it takes to make you sick, so it’s better to avoid them entirely in order to stay safe.
Equally unsettling, most commercial pesticides aren’t all that effective. Though they initially kill plenty of pests, the exposed insect populations eventually become resistant and immune to the effects of the spray. Some sprays only target insects during specific stages of their life cycle, meaning they barely put a dent in the total population. Other times, pesticides actually make problems worse. For instance, spraying an ant colony can cause the insects to enter a ‘stressed state’ where they split up into multiple colonies and actually increase their rates of reproduction to make up for it. For these reasons, the damage to your health and nearby wildlife is hardly worth the brief relief you get from your pest problems.
Natural Alternatives For Removing Pests From Your Home
Your unwanted insect populations don’t need to rage out on control. Thankfully, there are other options. Not only are natural pest control methods less expensive than buying regular pesticides, they are also far safer for your health and the environment, and often more effective, too. You can keep these creepy critters in check by following the methods listed below.
- Obviously, the most effective method of pest control is to keep bugs out of your home in the first place. Prevention is easier than eradication, so do your best to remove anything that would tempt a bug. Strive to keep your kitchen spotless, store food and drinks in tight containers and remove any standing water. If you don’t make your home attractive for pests, they are less likely to move in.
- Keep unwanted insects far away through the use of an essential oils spray that makes them think twice before moving in. A simple strategy is to mix two cups of water with one cup white vinegar and add fifty drops of peppermint essential oil with twenty drops each of basil essential oil and lemon essential oil. Spray this mild-scented spray where ever you have insect problems, and soon you’ll see those bugs retreating back to where they came from.
- Boric acid powder can be used to control insects like ants, termites, cockroaches and more. Because boric acid is less toxic to mammals than table salt, you’ll have no need to worry. Simply sprinkle some powder where the bugs like to walk, and it will stick to their legs and get carried into their colony. When they groom each other, they ingest the powder and soon die.
- The use of insecticidal soaps on soft-bodied insects can make a big difference in eradicating them. The fatty acids in the soap penetrate the bodies of aphids, spider bugs and white flies, killing them in the process. These soaps work best when applied directly to the insects, so keep a spray bottle handy for when you catch sight of an outbreak.
Tips For Removing Specific Pests
If one certain species is causing you angst, there are specific measures you can take to keep them under your control. Whether your problem comes from flies, roaches, ants or more, these tips will help you out.
Whether you like it or not, ants will come into your home if they catch the scent of crumbs or spilled sticky liquids. Your best method of keeping them away is cleaning up after yourself, but once ants have become a problem, these tricks should help you manage them without resorting to toxic chemicals.
- Find where the colony is entering your home and create a barrier with items ants naturally hate, like coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, cucumber peels, or lemon juice. Any of these substances work well to make ants think twice about coming into your home.
- Keep a small spray bottle where you can easily grab it and spray any ants you see with soapy water.
- When you find an ant hot spot, surround the area with mint tea The potent smell will soon drive them away.
- Ants often prefer to feast in the dark, so leave a low wattage light on at all times in their favorite grazing space in order to keep them away.
- Make up a special “snack” of cornmeal for your pesky ants. Their bodies can’t digest it and will quickly die when they try, so you’ll manage to get rid of them without putting pets or kids at any risk.
These frightful insects are the bane of many homeowners’ existence, but you don’t need to resort to poison to keep their populations in check. By keeping your kitchen and bathroom clean, you’ll be doing much of the necessary work to keep these critters far away from your family. Other tips include the following:
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas where roaches congregate, especially in hard to reach places like cabinet tops. Made from the fossilized remains of the exoskeletons of a type of prehistoric algae, diatomaceous earth is a safe, all natural substance with sharp silica shards that cut into the waxy skeletons of roaches, killing them within 48 hours.
- Spray soapy water directly on any roaches you see to kill them within hours.
- You can make an all-natural roach trap with an empty one pound coffee can and two pieces of beer-soaked bread. Coat the inside rim with Vaseline and make a ramp leading in, and you’ll soon lead your roach population to its glutinous death.
- Catnip naturally repels roaches, so placing small sachets in areas of roach activity can help keep them away. Just be sure to only follow this method if you don’t have any house cats!
- Roaches are attracted to high places, so your treatment of boric acid will be more effective when put on the top of your kitchen cabinets.
- There are plenty of non-toxic roach traps commercially available, so if all else fails you can look online for some heavy duty products that are sure to work.
Pets bring plenty of good things into your home, but an unfortunate negative is the fleas from their skin. Short of leaving your kitties outdoors all day, here are some extra methods for keeping fleas out of your furniture.
- Give your pet regular cleanings with mild soaps. This helps pull fleas and eggs from their fur before they can become a problem.
- Supplement your pet’s diet with brewer’s yeast or apple cider vinegar in order to deter fleas from sticking on them.
- Cedarwood is a great natural flea deterrent. You can buy the oil infused in pet shampoos or get pet beds filled with cedar chips
- To kill fleas instantly, coat them with citrus oil. You can pour a cup of boiling water over a sliced lemon and let it sit overnight before sponging off your dog with the created mixture. Keep in mind that this method is completely ineffective for cats.
- Trap fleas in your home with a shallow pan filled with soapy water. Simply shine a lamp over the water in order to attract fleas to the heat source, and the fleas will leap right in and be unable to get back out.
- Plenty of non-toxic flea traps are also commercially available.
If you find swarms of flies in your home for no apparent reason, these tips can help you cast them away.
- Make a small herbal sachet from a square of cheesecloth and fill it with crushed mint, eucalyptus or cloves to create a potent scent that keeps flies away.
- Eucalyptus oil turns any area into a fly-free zone, so apply some essential oil into a small cloth rag to keep the bugs far away.
- Make your own flypaper by mixing a quarter cup corn syrup with one tablespoon each granulated sugar and brown sugar. You can soak strips of brown paper in the mixture and let dry overnight before hanging with a string.
- Sweet basil plants mysteriously repel flies, so you can keep them away by placing some plants in the places where flies tend to be a nuisance. This method is especially helpful if you take the plants with you when you eat outside.
You don’t need to live in a home filled with unwanted pests. Essential oils, natural products like soap and diatomaceous earth and some clever contraptions can all work wonders to keep insects far away from your furniture. If you follow the natural pest removal methods in this article, your house will be free from annoying insects in no time at all.