As spring comes, it’s the time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. However, along with all that outdoor fun come pests. Here in SE Georgia, the bugs are out and about! I could not tell you the countless pests I have found crawling around outside my house so far this year!
Many people, when confronted with a pest control issue, call someone who comes out and sprays a lot of toxic chemicals. There are all-natural ways to fight all sorts of pests, and we’ll go over some of them here. Not only will you be saving the environment and reducing exposure to toxins, you’ll be putting money back into your pocket!
The easiest way to keep pests out of your house is to keep it relatively clean. Don’t let the dishes pile up, and sweep kitchens and vacuum carpeted areas regularly. Gnats love to gather in the kitchen where you may have dirty dishes or even rotting fruit!
You can use any of the nontoxic cleaning products available at stores, or you can make your own green cleaners at home, to keep the house tidy. However, if you do find insects or other pests in your home, here are some natural and safe ways to get rid of them.
Use vinegar, either straight from the bottle or diluted with water, to keep ants out. Vinegar works to destroy the scent trails that ants follow, confusing them and leading them away from your home. Vinegar is also great as a household cleanser.
Black pepper and cinnamon are also safe ways to control pests in the home and the garden. Dust outdoor plants with either spice (however, cinnamon works especially well at keeping pests out of your home.
Sugar and borax is a natural ant-killer. Most think that the mixture should be equal parts sugar and borax, but you should start with a lower proportion (maybe 10% borax at first) to allow the ants more time to bring it back to their nests. Put the mixture wherever you see ants. Alternatively, you can use either talcum or baby powder.
If the pests haven’t made their way in yet, you can use a simple solution of liquid soap and water (2 tablespoons per quart is fine). Spray it on your plants to kill pests.
You can also use cayenne pepper or peppermint to keep ants from coming inside.
Fruit flies are a problem, especially in the summertime. Don’t let overripe fruit sit around, and take out the trash (or compost) regularly. Apple cider vinegar is a natural way to exterminate fruit flies. Add some to a glass, and put a paper funnel over the top. Fruit flies are attracted to the smell, and once in, cannot find their way out of the funnel. You can also mix some liquid soap into a glass of inexpensive wine- the flies will drink it and then die.
Wasps are another problem. You can trap them by cutting the top off of an empty soda bottle. Take the top piece, turn it upside down, and put it back into the opening at the top of the bottle. Tape the two pieces together, and fill the bottle halfway with soda or juice. Wasps, being attracted to the sweetness, will crawl down the neck of the bottle but won’t be able to find their way out. If you decide to remove a wasp’s nest, wait until nighttime when the wasps are less active. Carefully, put a sheet or a garbage bag over the whole nest and tie it closed. Remove the nest from the area, then put it underwater, being sure to weigh it down.
Pests are a big problem, both indoors and out- but you don’t have to use a lot of toxic chemicals to keep them out of your home. With the tips given above, you’ll be able to control pests without harming the environment (or your family).