There are plenty of ways to deal with pests in your own home and garden safely and naturally,with many pesticides and pest traps available for purchase both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. We’ll be discussing that in this blog post, including methods for items you’ll find available in your own home.
For Your Garden
There are many insects in our garden that are not harmful to our plants, and are in fact quite beneficial for them, so targeting bugs that you find are harmful to your plants can be tricky because many pesticides are indiscriminate in the insects and pests they eliminate. Some of these helpful insects like ladybugs even help us get rid of unwanted insects like aphids.
You can buy ladybugs specifically for this purpose from gardening stores. Before releasing them however, be sure to spray the area with water to make it more welcoming for them.
You can use oil or soap spray insecticides. You can make oil spray insecticides from 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of mild soap (often recommended is castile soap) or 1 ½ teaspoons of mild soap and a quart of water – mix thoroughly, and spray on infected plants. It’s recommended that you do this in the early mornings or evenings, and apply as often as necessary.
A popular insecticide for home gardeners is neem oil, and you can purchase this from many stores such as Walmart. Follow the instructions on the bottle, or mix 2 teaspoons of this with a teaspoon of mild soap, and a quart of water. Shake thoroughly, and you can spray this on your garden plants (and it works well when used preventatively too).
Other popular insecticide sprays are garlic and chili pepper. For a garlic insecticide spray, puree 2 bulbs with a quart of water and let it sit overnight. Then strain into a quart jar, add ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of mild soap, and fill the jar with water. For chili pepper, add 1 ½ teaspoons of chili powder to 1 quart or water, and 2 drops of liquid dish soap.
Another method you may want to try is cultivating pest repelling plants themselves, of which there are many. Basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and petunias, are a few examples of plants that repel pests.
As for gophers in your yard or garden, there are traps you can purchase or set up yourself – however, if you’re not sure what is allowed in your area, or you want to ensure it is removed as humanely as possible, it’s best to call wildlife services or a professional pest control company.
Other methods you can still try to get them to willingly leave your property: gophers have very sensitive noses, and these are a few things you can leave in and around their tunnels to discourage them from staying: mothballs, coffee grounds, fish scraps, dryer sheets, and your pets droppings (cats and dogs are gopher predators, and this is intended to scare the gopher away).
For Your Home
As you probably know, we don’t only share our homes with other people and perhaps our pets – we may not readily see them, but chances are there are also plenty of bugs in and around your house.
So how do we get rid of them and keep them out, safely and naturally?
The insecticide sprays discussed earlier in this article would work on a number of insects that live inside your home as well, such as chili pepper spray for ants.
For more difficult pests such as roaches, there are a few traps you can purchase. Glue traps are effective in catching roaches that stumble unto it, but it won’t affect their nest. Cockroach bait on the other hand, come in child-proof cases, and it is poisoned food that the roach consumes and then takes back to their nest to affect the other roaches there.
Using soap spray on roaches work in that it clogs their breathing pores, however they may be able to recover when the solution dries.
For mice, mousetraps work great. However, note that for these to be effective, you have to know where to place them. Look for their droppings – which are brown pellets – alongside walls, and place 2 mousetraps end-to-end in those areas. The reason for this is that mice may jump over one trap, but they won’t be able to jump over two.
Mousetraps may seem brutal, but they’re the more humane choice between a glue trap that means a slow death for the mouse, and poisons will mean some mice may die and rot where you can’t reach them to properly dispose of them.
As important is securing your home against these pests and preventing reinfestation.
Cut off their water supply. A number of these pests are drawn to moist areas, and roaches need water sooner than they need food to survive. Find and fix any leaks in your house, and make sure to regularly clean out containers that may have accumulated water, as these are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Keep your food properly stored. Don’t leave out dirty dishes overnight as cockroaches may feast on the crumbs left on the plates, and make sure to regularly throw your trash. Keep pet food in closed containers so mice won’t get to them. If there’s no readily available food for these pests in your house, they won’t want to stay.
Lastly, make sure your house is properly sealed. Your walls may look solid, but there are plenty of small cracks where insects and small animals can slip through.
Use caulk and expanding foam to fill any gaps in your exterior and interior walls, and weatherstripping for your doors and windows (if you have netting on your windows, make sure they’re in good shape). Don’t forget to check on your roof and close any gaps, and if you have a chimney, use a cap or guard cover to protect it from birds, raccoons, and other animals. Cut off tree branches that touch the house as these serve as bridges for bugs and other animals.
If a pest issue keeps reoccurring, if you’re not sure about the safety of the store-bought insecticides you’re using, or you want to humanely get rid of birds, raccoons and other unwanted animals, then it may be time to call that professional pest exterminator.