In addition to longer days and warmer temperatures, summer seems to also bring out a lot of un-welcomed pesky visitors in and around your home. Insects seek refuge from the heat and can find a world of resources and food supply in your home. Chemical pesticides are available to take care of these invaders but can also be harmful to the environment, you, your children or pets. Just like natural homemade cleaners, there are also green and safe ways to help take care of insects in your home. Here are some things you can do and natural ingredients you can use to help deter and remove common household bugs.
In any efforts of deterring insects, one of the things that have to be done first is removing any attractants. Ants are usually in search of food and water. Clean up floors and counters of any crumbs or food stains. Water sources such as faucet drips, left out cups of water or soaking dishes will also invite ants, so be sure to keep things dry or sealed. Here are some more tips if you already have an ant problem.
- Cucumbers, especially bitter ones, are a natural repellent to ants. Cut slices of the cucumber and skin to leave at points of entry or along their pathways.
- Leave garlic cloves or mint tea bags at highly active areas.
- At night for areas of high ant activity, leave a low wattage night light on. The change in light patterns can help discourage their rummaging patterns.
For those of us with pets, we all know how troublesome a flea infestation can be, especially during the summer when their populations are rampant. Fleas usually gain entry into a home by using animals as a carrier, then lay eggs on the pet and in the environment. Though bombs and topical chemical flea treatments work well, they often garner varying reactions from humans and animals. Treating fleas is an ongoing process that can take weeks before seeing a dramatic difference but here are some easy methods to help speed up the process.
- Use a flea comb to check your pet regularly and clean after use. For every flea you find, you are reducing the amount of eggs being laid.
- Bathe your dog in mild soap, rather than insecticides. Water drowns the fleas, and eggs wash off.
- The natural acidity in citrus makes it a natural flea deterrent, so mix boiling water with sliced lemon and let the mixture sit over night. Spraying or sponging this mixture on your pet will kill fleas.
- Vacuum and wash bedding frequently, especially the area in which your animal resides.
- For the backyard you can plant fleabane, which is flower that repels fleas.
Dust mites cause problems especially for those with allergies. They reside everywhere from curtains to bedding, stuffed animals, clothing and shelving. To help reduce dust mite population do the following.
- Vacuum fabric surfaces often. Beds, couches, pillows, carpet and curtains are prime homes for dust mites.
- Because detergents have no effect on dust mites, wash your items in hot water (130F+)
- For allergy sufferers keep books, rugs, laundry hampers and excess stuffed toys out of the bedroom.
- Laminated covers for mattresses and pillows prevent dust mites from penetrating. Fabric covered headboards since can’t be washed are more likely to harbor more mites.
- Avoid the use of humidifiers; dust mites prefer humid and warm environments.
Many of us have experienced the presence of moths by finding holes in our clothes. Here are some natural moth repellants.
- Items such as cedar chips and dried lemon peels act as a moth deterrent and can be placed inside a closet.
- For taller closets, make hanging sachets filled with lavender, rose and rosemary petals.
The most efficient way at controlling cockroaches is to first take preventative measures. Keep your bathrooms and kitchen area clean. Just like ants Cockroaches are foragers.
- Catnip acts as a repellant to cockroaches. The active ingredient is nepetalactone which is non-toxic to humans or animals. Catnip can be put into satchets to be placed in areas of high activity or be soaked to make a spray mixture to be applied in hidden places. Use this option if you don’t have cats.
- Soapy water if sprayed on roaches directly will kill them.
- Boric acid also works effectively against cockroaches and can be applied for high places. It is however toxic by the mouth so keep away from children and pets.
- Bay leaves, cucumber slices and garlic are also a good aversion to roaches.
Humid, wet and warm environments are what attract silverfish which makes the kitchen and bathroom prime areas for them to reside. The best way to control them is to control damp conditions and remove food particles and vacuum up their eggs.