We're kicking off deer fly and mosquito season around here, so I thought I'd take a minute to share some tips for deer fly control to help you keep biting flies away. (See Natural Mosquito Repellents That Work and Natural Tick Control for more on those biting insects.) [Read more…]
If you build it, mice will come. Sooner or later, you'll probably need to get rid of mice or rats. Fall is prime time for an increase in mice in your house, as they look for winter protection, but mice and rats can move in at any time. While small, mice and rats can cause big problems. They chew on everything, causing property damage and potential fire risks when they gnaw on electrical wiring and build tinder dry nests in dark corners. Rodents can spread disease, on their own, through the parasites they carry (their fleas carried the Black Plague) or through their droppings (such as hantavirus). [Read more…]
Walking down the pest control product aisle in the hardware store or garden center gives me a headache. Sure, I know bugs in the garden and yard can cause trouble, but that doesn't mean we need to wage full out, heavy duty chemical warfare. It's easy to make up homemade bug spray for the yard and garden that use plant compounds and soap to knock back your bugs. [Read more…]
Spider bites are generally uncomfortable but not dangerous, and may be difficult to confirm as spider bites because they look similar to other bug bites and the spider wasn't caught in the act. A typical non-poisonous spider bite will commonly present as a raised welt – like a big mosquito bite. It itches and may burn or sting a little, but the pain is not incapacitating or severe. Symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days, and can be safely treated at home. [Read more…]
I'm not quite sure when they moved in. First we were seeing one or two small black ants at a time. They were in the basement near the woodpile, so I thought they were coming from the wood. Then we started seeing an ant or two or three on the main floor, closer to the kitchen. I knew those weren't from the woodpile, and it was past time to do something about the ant problem.
Like most of what I do around the home and yard, I wanted an ant control option that was as non-toxic as possible (except to the ants). I hit the laundry room and the pantry and made up the ant bait. I set one spoonful out in both locations, and the next time I checked, both of them were swarming with ants. Yuck! Thankfully, after a few days of frantic bait munching, the numbers have trickled to almost nothing, and our indoor ant problem should shortly be at an end. [Read more…]