Late summer/early fall brings the warm weather, which I love. But it also brings something I hate—BUGS!!! From destroying the lawn to attacking your skin to taking over the kitchen, it seems they are everywhere! However, they are not always so easy to get rid of, especially if you don’t care to intoxicate your home and families in the process. I thought I would explore some more nature-based remedies to combat this problem. I will go over first solutions for the lawn, a detailed list of fixes for certain individual pests, and then a study on the benefits of boric acid.
*Why Chemical Pesticides are the Wrong Choice*
– They kill hundreds of insects that are beneficial to lawn and garden care, such as bees, ladybugs, et cetera.
– They are harmful to people, pets, and the environment.
– They are especially harmful to small children.
Every year 43,000 children under the age of six are subject to concentrations of pesticides high enough to cause cancer, respiratory illness, and harm the central nervous system. Children have a hard time “bouncing back” from this exposure because their organs are not yet fully developed.
– Create an equal balance of flora and fauna in your yard, ensuring nature will talk care of itself.
– Attracting beneficial bugs is key, because they will take care of a majority of the “bad” bugs for you. Below are listed three top bug-eating bugs, and the plants/herbs that will attract them.
* LAKE WINGS – Yarrow, Dill, Cosmos, Fennel
* LADYBUGS – Coriander, Marigold, and Tansy
* MINUTE PIRATE BUGS – Caraway, Alfalfa, Spearmint, Goldenrod
– You can also attract birds and bats (they eat 2,000–6,000 bugs a day) by providing water and housing for each. Contrary to popular belief, bats are very clean and only bite in defense. Visit BatCon.org and BirdSource.com for more statistics and info on building their respective housing.
– For a solution you can apply directly to troubled plants: mix 5 oz. sugar water and 1 qt. water, put in a spray bottle, and show those aphids, et cetera, who’s boss!
– Grits are great for combating fire ants. When the ants eat them and then drink some water, they will expand and then explode!
– To keep ants from getting in your house in the first place, sprinkle baby powder around the perimeter. Ants won’t cross it, and it is harmless to kids and pets. Plus it smells nice too!
– Cucumber peels, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon are also good ant barriers.
– Keep a lemon peel in your sugar bowl to deter these menaces.
– Keep them away from your pet’s dish by encircling it with Vaseline.
– Mix sugar and baking soda 50/50 and place in their pathways. It can take 3–4 days to notice any difference, but after two weeks, they should be gone completely. This works well because roaches’ stomachs are naturally acidic, which is not a good combo with baking soda. Plus, they’re cannibals, so when a “healthy” roach eats an “infected” one, he can take it back to the colony and solve half your problem for you.
– Of course, we know roaches are very good at hiding. An effective way to get them out and into waiting “traps” is by using a steam cleaner.
– Adding brewer’s yeast, fresh garlic, or flaxseed oil to your pet’s food can be a huge preventative measure against these little hoppers.
– Once your pet is infested, you can wash him in Neem Oil (NeemResource.com) shampoos. You can also find non-toxic flea collars that contain such flea repelling herbs as mint, cedar, rosemary, and lavender (can be found at health food-type stores).
– Eating garlic (whole or pill form) and/or applying lemon oil to your skin create strong scents that will deter biting insects.
– If that option is a little too strong for you, look for body washes containing oils of lavender, tea tree, and peppermint (The Body Shop is a good place to check out).
– Lay fresh, bruised leaves on your exposed skin while resting outside.
– This one is obvious, but burning citronella candles really does help.
3 C. rubbing alcohol
1 ½ C. red cedar wood shavings
½ C. eucalyptus leaves
Mix all together in a bowl, cover, and let stand for five days. Strain the solid ingredients out and save the liquid. Put in a spray bottle, and apply before heading outdoors. Keep any remaining solution tightly sealed.
-ALL these are much safer alternatives to DEET!!!
– Boric Acid is effective for getting rid of cockroaches, palmetto bugs, water bugs, ants, termites, and fleas. It works by attacking their nervous system.
– Boric acid is used in diaper rash ointments. EPA tests show it to be more cost effective and a better type of treatment than any monthly spray.
– It is heat and water resistant, but the bugs do not become immune to it.
– It is also odorless and won’t stain surfaces.
1 TBSP boric acid
1 TSP sugar
4 oz. water
Mix boric acid and sugar in a bowl. The mixture can then be poured over cotton balls in another small bowl—make sure to keep them moist. Place individual balls in the areas frequented by ants.
8 oz. boric acid
½ C. flour
1/8 C. sugar
½ onion, chopped (optional)
¼ C. cooking oil or bacon drippings
Cream oil/drippings and sugar. Mix boric acid, flour, onion, and add to sugar mix. Blend well, then add more oil/drippings as needed to form soft dough. Mold into marble-sized balls (keep in sandwich baggies to maintain softness). Distribute balls anywhere roaches have been sighted—especially dark, moist areas.
Sprinkle boric acid on carpet and brush it down until it settles deep into the fibers. Leave on for one week and then vacuum. You should be completely rid of not only the fleas, but their eggs as well. *NOTE* If you want, you can substitute baking soda for boric acid.