Easy Green Pest Control
Instead of resorting to nasty chemical sprays, try these 100% natural methods to get pests out of your home and garden.
It’s true what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why keeping your home clean by wiping up crumbs, fixing leaks, and disposing of garbage quickly is the best way to keep pests out of your way.
But no matter how tidy you keep your kitchen or bathroom, you’re bound to end up with a few invaders. When that happens, there are plenty of natural, non-toxic ways to keep the bugs at bay:
• Keep a spray bottle filled with soapy water handy – a few squirts will kill ants and help wash away the trails they leave behind.
• Follow them back to the source and line their entry point with lemon juice to deter them.
• Clean your counters with vinegar – it destroyed the scent trails ants use to find food.
• Use a citrus-based spray as an indoor insect repellant.
• Cockroaches hate catnip, specifically its main chemical component nepetalactone, so spreading catnip around the house is an easy way to drive them out (but be careful not to get your cats too excited!).
• You can make a cockroach trap out of any empty glass jar: just coat the inside with Vaseline or oil and use beer-soaked bread as bait. Once trapped, the bugs can be dumped outside or killed in hot water.
• Look for non-toxic roach bait that uses boric acid to kill roach colonies.
Controlling outdoor pests can be tricky – you want to get rid of bugs without damaging your flowers, vegetables, or pets. It’s especially important to stay away from nasty pesticides if you’re growing food, since you don’t want toxic chemicals making their way onto your table. Here are the best ways we’ve found to keep you and your plants naturally bug-free:
• Most garden pests will avoid strong flavors, so try a mixture of garlic, cayenne pepper, and soap mixed with water. You can spray on it on plants every few days to keep soft-bodied insects away.
• Like cockroaches, slugs are bugs that enjoy a drink: if you leave bowls of beer in your garden, slugs will crawl in and drown.
• Dusting your plants with flour will fend off grasshoppers, beetles, and other common pests. Make sure you use an unbleached, salt-free flour to avoid damaging plants.
• Tomato leaves are an excellent defense against aphids. Just steep two cups of shredded tomato leaves in water overnight, then strain and spray the mixture on leaves and stems.
• If you don’t want to make your own pesticides, look for eco-friendly pest control that uses essential oils instead of toxic chemicals.
• Essential oils are also great for making a homemade insect repellant. Combine 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, citronella, or clove oil with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or witch hazel, then apply to skin or clothing. You’ll typically need to reapply every hour or two.
• Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, so fool them with a homemade CO2 trap. Cut the top off of a soda bottle, invert it, and slide the top back into the bottle (you made need to tape it so it will stay). Then mix 2 c. water, 1/3 c. sugar, and 1 tablespoon of yeast in the bottom. The fermenting yeast will release CO2 and trap mosquitoes.
• Use a chemical-free trap to keep your yard free of wasps and yellow jackets.