Spring is officially here! The bulbs in my garden are blooming, the days are getting longer and warmer, and I just spotted my first six-legged friend crawling on the kitchen floor! It's tempting to reach for chemical pesticides, but these toxic substances are linked to all manner of health problems in humans, and they're not so hot for the environment, either.
Here are a few more eco-friendly options for keeping ants, roaches, and flies out of your home.
One of the best things you can do is make your home unappealing to critters. Keep a tight lid on the compost bin and clean those kitchen counters. This helps with fruit fly problems, too! If you leave pet food out all day, putting the bowls into a shallow tray of soapy water keeps ants and roaches from getting to the food.
Problem with mosquitoes? Make sure you don't have any standing water in your house or yard. Common culprits are: patio furniture, ash trays, empty pots, tarps, and pool toys. A bit of water is OK, but if it's pooling anywhere, you'll want to dump it out.
Mint is a handy deterrent for ants, roaches, and flies. You can grow some mint plants in problem rooms of the house, or leave little mint sachets around to help deter. Planting mint in your yard supposedly keeps pests away, too. Just be careful - mint plants spread and can take over your garden! You might want to keep your mint in pots to be on the safe side.
Despite your best efforts, persistent critters might still find their way into your home. Once that happens, there are quite a few natural options you can try!
If ants are your problem, your best bet is to find and seal their point of entry. Placing cinnamon, mint, or cayenne at the point of entry helps deter them, but nothing is as effective as finding that hole in the wall and caulking it. Sealing these little leaks won't hurt your energy bills, either!
Once you've barricaded the entrance, you'll want to clean the invisible trail they leave with a spritz bottle of vinegar and water, to make sure their friends don't pick up the scent.
Boric acid is a great repellent for both ants and roaches. The only trick here is that it's also toxic to pets and kids. If you do go this route, make sure you apply only in places they don't go. To fight roaches, just sprinkle the boric acid where you're seeing the pests. They'll take it back to their nest (shudder), and poison the colony for you. For ants, you'll want to mix the boric acid with sugar, since ants prefer sweet things.
Do you guys have any tips for home-made pest control? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by kemakeur