Green home pest control is something we all need at one point or another. Let's face it, no matter how clean your house is or how much you do to keep pests away from your home, you're almost guaranteed to suffer an invasion eventually. When it happens, you'll need some pest control solutions to make the problem go away. When you think of controlling pest invasions, some people assume you need nasty chemicals and other poisonous substances to do it. This is not true at all! You can control pests with green techniques that keep the environment cleaner and your house safer for pets, kids and anyone else.
Let's go over several green pest control tips that will do an excellent job of getting rid of miniature invaders without tainting your conscience or your home. They're inexpensive too!
Green Home Pest Control Tip #1 – Know Your Pests
The first step for successfully getting rid of your insect invaders and keeping them out is to know what you're dealing with. “Bugs” aren't just bugs – different species have very different habits and food preferences. What works with some types of insects or ants might not work with others at all.
Top pantry pests include meal moths and various pantry beetles. You can find photos of common pantry pests at UC Davis and Cereal and Pantry Pests at PennState. If you can't find your bug in those images, take a photo of their nests or the insect and post the image on the internet in pest control forums or email it to someone with pest experience.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #2 – Bug Proof Your House
This is another crucial and very clean step that you need to take if you don't want to ever have to resort to chemical pest control. Before you even have a problem, or to avoid future pest problems, start off your pest control by making your house hard to attack. (Similar tactics apply when you're trying to keep mice out of your home and garage.)
- Don't leave any organic garbage lying around to attract ants, wasps, mice and other pests like cockroaches.
- Look around your house and seal any cracks, holes, leaks or other easy access points that will let little critters get into your home easily.
- Seal off all your garbage in airtight plastic containers that can't be penetrated by even small pests.
- Keep your house dry and make sure that it's got no major water leaks either from your piping system or badly rain-proofed windows and roofing – many insect pests love moist, humid hideouts
Making your home more pest resistant isn't a guarantee of anything, but it does reduce your chances of having an invasion happen.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #3 – Commercial Products
These will cost a little more, but if you're in a hurry, you can go ahead and use commercial green pest control products. Look for organic insecticidal soaps, pantry moth traps, citrus based sprays, clothes moth traps or other plant/essential oil based sprays.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #4 – Cedar Oil
Cedar oil, also known as cedarwood oil, is an essential oil derived from the foliage, and sometimes the wood and roots, of various types of conifers, most in the pine or cypress botanical families. (source) Cedar oil can be used as a backyard mosquito repellant when burned – just like citronella. The liquid can be applied to household plants, used as a treatment in bedding or for bathing your pets. (Note: use only for large animals such as dogs, cats over 6 months of age, horses, cattle, etc – not for use with small animals such as hamsters, gerbils, snakes, etc.) It is effective against fleas, bed bugs, spiders and many other insects. Best of all, cedar oil smells nice and has no harmful effects on the skin.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #5 – Non Lethal Traps
For your bigger, and probably furrier household pests like mice, rats, rabbits and snakes, you can use non-lethal traps to catch them without killing them and later release them far from your own home (be sure to also release them away from anyone else's house unless you enjoy being a bad neighbor). All sorts of non lethal traps are sold on the market, each for a different type of animal. There are special cages on sale for rodents and traps for creatures like snakes and small reptiles.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #6 – Soapy Water
A small amount of vegetable oil based (castile) soap to a two gallon bucket of water will create a completely non toxic, easy to use ant killing solution. Mix the solution thoroughly and either pour it along patio areas where you have frequent ant infestations or use from a spray bottle to control ants and other small insects wherever they appear. Be sure to use castile soap that contains fatty acids from vegetables since it's the most chemical free and safest for home use. You'll hardly find a cheaper solution to ant infestations.
Green Home Pest Control Tip #7 – Food Based Remedies
Instead of resorting to all sorts of different chemical repellants to get keep insect pests away, you can try out a large variety of different home remedies that are based on foods or commonly bought plants.
- Ants hate citrus oil and coffee grounds; both can be used in strategic entry locations to repel the little insects from your home's interior. For sugar ants – mix 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1/8 teaspoon of borax. Add enough water to make a syrup. Place about a teaspoon of this mix on something like a flat lid in the affected area, but out of reach of pets and children. The ants will carry the syrup back to the nest and eliminate it. Borax is not dangerous in very small amounts, but you wouldn't want kid or critter eating it in quantity.
- Deter fruit flies by applying a small wad of of crushed mint leaves to window entrances and near doorways. Fruit flies seem to hate natural mint.
- Cut off cockroaches with catnip – Add a small amount of dried or fresh catnip to some water and steep it as if you were making tea. Cool, strain and place in a spray bottle. Apply wherever your ugly cockroach problem is showing itself.
This is a guest post by Karen Miller. Karen has been a leading writer providing tips for pest control for over a decade. When she is not writing, you can find her training for her upcoming half-marathon or spending time at home with her two daughters.
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