In the air, carpet, counter or cupboard, every home shares it’s resources with these tiny, often unseen invaders. Pesticides are available for most common household insect pests, but these potent chemical compounds may be more harmful to you and the environment than the pests.
Here are some natural, non-toxic ways to control household insect pests.
– Store all dry goods, including pet food, in glass jars or metal containers.
– Keep the surfaces in your kitchen clean.
– Wash dishes immediately after meals. (Pay particular attention to clearing your toaster of any tempting crumbs. If possible, store it out of reach.)
– Don’t leave your pet’s food or water out all day and night. Serve them, let them eat, and then clear the dishes.
– Put a tight cover on your garbage can and compost bin. Use bungee cords as reinforcements if necessary.
– Store your extra blankets in heavy plastic bins.
– Eliminate any clutter. It can be used as a nest, or become the raw material for one.
Try a little aromatherapy: Mice are reportedly deterred by certain strong smells. Make a cayenne pepper or clove potpourri, and scatter it at strategic points throughout your home. Or soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in the problem areas.
Attract an owl: Set up a barn owl nesting box. Attracting a natural predator to your property may help you keep your in-house mice population down.
Try a little strategic landscaping: Eliminate hiding places for mice on your property. Keep woodpiles or compost piles far away from your house. Keep bird feeders well away from your house. Keep bushes that are close to you house well trimmed. Keep tree branches trimmed so that they don’t provide easy access on to your roof.
Takeaway: As with other critters, the best way to deal with mice is to prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place.
Cucumber: place a few peels of cucumber at the entry point of invasion of the pest to repel/deter. Works for ants, cockroaches, and silverfish.
Mint leaves: scatter these in places of infestation to deter ants and flies.
Eucalyptus oil: drop some on cloth and place near areas of infestation of flies and moths.
Soapy water: If you want to instantly kill an insect in your home – Mix water and soap flakes (from something like a bar of Ivory soap) into a spray bottle, you can kill all bugs on contact. This is because the soap component breaks down the waxy exoskeleton and lets the water enter the bug and drown the critters quickly. Sorry bug!
Sand barriers: sand barriers are a preventative measure that works on an underground termite invasion because those termites cannot tunnel through sand at certain grain-sizes, and sand does not retain moisture, which is crucial to termite colonization. Sand barriers can be applied in crawl spaces under pier and beam foundations, under slab foundations, and between the foundation and concrete porches, terraces, patios and steps. Other possible locations include under fence posts, underground electrical cables, water and gas lines, telephone and electrical poles, inside hollow tile cells and against retaining walls. You need sixteen-grit sized sand and the layer must be at least 4 inches thick in between wood structures and soil. This is a physical method of control rather than chemical and provides long-term protection, but should still be regularly inspected.
Cedar oil: products such as CedarCide’s Agent Gold contain cedar oil, which is apparently very lethal to termites but totally non-toxic, organic, and chemical-free. It is a very effective contact killer and repellent to termites and can be used on any wood structure. The way it works is that the product penetrates the wood and the aromas from the cedar oil disrupt termite (and apparently ants – bonus!) pheromone systems in a lethal manner. The cedar oil also a drying agent and promotes moisture evacuation from the wood, which also helps prevent and eliminate the existence of termites.
Nematodes: these microscopic worms are a good form of termite treatment for chemically-sensitive individuals and environmentally-sensitive areas. Nematodes can be pumped into the infested area and they will kill the termites.