Non-Toxic Pest Control – Active Ingredients to Look Out For

Non-Toxic Pest Control  Active Ingredients to Look Out ForOne of the main concerns that pest control professionals are faced with is whether or not the chemicals they use are safe for households, especially those with young children and pets. The answer is usually the same: yes, all the chemicals used by professionals meet national safety regulations. But that doesn’t mean that they’re good for you, or that you’d want to be around them – especially if you knew how they worked to kill the pests!

Non-toxic pest control formulas include active ingredients which target specific pests only, or which work largely as a repellent rather than a poison. One of the most popular non-toxic pest control ingredients is diatomaceous earth, a silica-rich mineral powder which can be used like any other insect dust to kill ants, ticks, fleas, aphids, silverfish, bed bugs, spiders, mites, and other small crawling insects. Diatomaceous earth is not only non-toxic, it’s good for you – food-grade diatomaceous earth is often added to drinks or taken as a trace mineral supplement!

Another non-toxic pest control ingredient is citronella. Available as an essential oil, it can be used to make anything from diffusers to candles. It is strongly repellent to flying insects, especially mosquitoes. Just be careful not to get it on your skin, as it can cause reactions in some people if left on too long. Orange oil, the active component of which is d-limonene, is also a popular method of controlling aphids and other garden pests, especially on fruit trees – made up into a solution and added to a spray bottle, it kills bugs quickly and repels them from landing on the leaves again. For grubs and worms, milky spore – a safe, naturally occurring bacteria – can be applied around the affected area.

Electronic traps and bug killers are an effective, non-toxic way to kill lots of flying insects, including moths and flies. These traps use special lights to attract the bugs, which fly into an electrically charged mesh. It gives off no chemical odour or radiation, so it’s safe to use in rooms with people or pets. The only thing it really does is emit a loud buzzing sound when a bug hits the mesh, so most people keep theirs on their porch or balcony. Another alternative is fly and wasp paper, which attracts the bugs with a non-toxic food aroma and then kills them by starvation – they’re attached to the paper and can’t fly away.

 

 

Natural Pest Control Measures

Natural Pest Control MeasuresControlling pests naturally is something that is done relatively easily – and something that can prove to be a cheap and easy alternative to looking into costly artificial measures. There are plenty of techniques people have been using for years to take care of pests in their homes and the wider world, and you can use all of those techniques yourself to make sure that pests are totally taken care of in your home. Check out their ideas and put them to practice in your home – you’ll find it’s truly easy and simple to do.

Whether it’s using citronella to deter mosquitoes or honey traps to get rid of ants, people have been using all of kinds of natural techniques to deal with pests for millennia. Citronella is a key one – it’s used all the time, in many products both artificial and natural. It’s easy enough hot get a hold of citronella yourself and put it to use repelling mosquitoes and various other kinds of insects. Citronella can be used in its natural plant for around your home to provide a pleasant scent and get rid of bugs, or you can distil and use the oil in the plant in candles or air fresheners of various kinds – the smell keeps all kinds of bug’s way and is easy to tolerate. Many people find it pleasant and truly enjoy the smell – in fact, I’ve often mistakenly used an insect repellent containing citronella as my deodorant and find it toe relatively inoffensive. At least, more inoffensive than body odour.

There are plenty of other methods, as well – a honey trap is something that ants cannot stay away from. If you mxi in a natural liquid in the honey that will prevent ants form leaving or kill them, then you’re sure to have the ants taken care of in no time. Slow-acting poison can also be taken by the nets back to their nest and you’ll totally have the best eradicated in no time at all. Many contemporary artificial bates and traps use this same principal, but use packaging and other kinds of techniques that are artificial and not good for the environment. The key with a hone trap is keeping it out of reach of rents or younger family members, as it will inevitably lee contain poison or something that you do not want your family members to ingest. Hone cyan provide to be an attraction for dogs and kids alike, so make sure you’re responsible.

Natural Pest Control and Repellent Plants

Repellent PlantsWhether you want to maintain great results from a professional pest service, or just prevent unwanted bugs and vermin from getting into your house in the first place, natural repellent plants are a great option. You could try planting them as a border, placing some in pots near entry points, or even placing small tied bundles of leaves inside your home. Here are a few of the best known and most readily available natural pest control plants in Australia.

Basil: Basil not only repels flies and mosquitos, it doubles up as a culinary herb. Not to mention, it smells great!

Catnip:This herb, as well as being like a happy drug for cats, is also great at repelling ants and a range of beetles including aphids, weevils and even cockroaches.

Chrysanthemum: As well as producing an attractive flower, this plant repels cockroaches, ants, tics, silverfish, different types of lice, and fleas. It’s ideal for households with pets and children.

Coriander: Like basil, coriander doubles up as a culinary herb. It can be planted to deter aphids and mites.

Dill: Dill is not only delicious and pleasantly fresh smelling, it repels aphids, mites, and some types of worms.

Fennel: Fennel repels aphids, slugs and snails. You can also eat the white crunchy part of the plant.

Garlic: When planted in the ground, garlic bulbs help repel aphids, moths, snails, borer beetles and some types of worms. If you live in a semi-rural area where rabbits are a pest, it can also help to deter them too.

Lavender: Lavender doesn’t just look pretty and fill the air with a pleasant scent, it also repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitos. It’s easy to bundle the cut flowers and use them like a potpourri around affected areas.

Lemon balm and lemon thyme: These are both great at repelling mosquitoes. As an added bonus, they can be used for a bit of ground cover and smell great when the leaves are crushed and the natural oils are released.

Spearmint: It’s not just a gum flavour – it’s also a relatively hardy herb that’s great at repelling rodents, as well as ants, moths, fleas and certain beetles.

Thyme: Thyme repels a variety of beetles and worms, including cabbage maggots which can wreak havoc on your veggie patch. Consider planting a bit of thyme as part of a herb border to your vegetable garden area.

Venus fly trap: The Venus fly trap is well known as a carnivorous plant, and does indeed attract and ingest flies. However,  each trap on the plant only ‘eats’ one fly every week or two, so don’t expect it to take care of large swarms of flies. It’s also not ideal for households with curious small children, as excess touching to trigger the trap mechanism can actually kill the plant.

Get rid of a mouse in your house!

Get rid of a mouse in your houseSpotting a mouse in your home is a highly unsettling experience. As someone who absolutely adores all animals big and small, I always thought that I would deal with the presence of a mouse in my house quite well. Oh how wrong I was! When I spotted one of the creatures running across my floor recently I jumped about ten feet in the air and screamed such blue murder that my housemates thought I was being murdered!  There is something so creepy about knowing a rodent has run over all your clothes (yes, I often leave my clothes on the floor) and is rummaging around in your walls. That scratch-scratch-scratch is just so disquieting in the otherwise quiet night time.

So here are a few ways to get rid of these cheeky critters and avoid the stress they can cause. First, why not give the ‘tried and tested’ approach a go and invest in a few mouse traps. Place them near entries to the house, such as a garage, garbage area or back door.

If the idea of removing squashed rodents from your home is all a bit much (and I don’t blame you!) then you could always invest in a feline companion. These are highly effective in killing off pests, and they really love the job! Not a cat person? Read on…

Another more humane way of getting rid of your problem is the ‘bucket trap’, which involves balancing a bucket on a piece of wood, tying a string around the object, putting some tempting mouse treats under the bucket, and when your little friend comes to claim his prize, just pull the string to trap him. Then you simply slide a piece of cardboard or a magazine under the bucket to serve as a lid and turn it over. This means you can then release him somewhere away from your home where he can’t find his way back; perhaps the local park.

Another, much easier (but of course more costly) alternative is calling your local pest control company. Putting the whole problem in the hands of the experts means a lot less worry and hassle for you, and is more likely to put an end to the problem rather than just serving as a bandaid approach.

The only thing I would really try to avoid are those methods that involve a slow death for the mouse. As I said, I really love animals and think it’s always best to try humane ways of disposing of pests over drowning and other such tactics. After all, they are creatures with feelings too!

 

Homemade Natural Pest Repellent

Homemade Natural Pest RepellentHave you recently had a professional pest control service in your home, and want to make sure the pests never come back again? Are you just looking for ways to make sure there are never any creepy crawlies around the house? Do you prefer to use all-natural, non- harmful ingredients? Then why not make your own homemade natural pest repellent?! There are plenty of different alternative recipes, depending on what sort of bugs you’re targeting.

One easy to make spray is made with 50% water, 95% witch hazel, and several drops of the chosen essential oil. Good choices for repelling flies and beetles include citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, lavender and mint. You can buy witch hazel from most supermarkets or beauty stores, and essential oils are available from pharmacies and health food stores across the country. The beauty of this recipe is that you can customise it so that it smells great too!

Is your veggie patch plagued by borer beetles, worms and moths? You can make your own repellent spray that keeps them at bay without harming your plants. Just one garlic bulb and one small onion in a food processor, and blend until finely chopped or almost liquefied. Add one teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper, and add four cups (1 litre) of water. Let it sit and steep like a tea for an hour or so, and strain it through a cheesecloth (to catch the bits) into a spray bottle. At this stage, add a tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the mix. When you apply the spray to affected plants, make sure you cover all the leaves thoroughly including under the leaves.

To keep bugs away inside the home, try blending your own oil for an oil burner. Citronella or lemongrass in your oil burner works well; just make sure to get it going about an hour before nightfall/when you need it to start working. You can get a similar effect without fire or electricity by placing a few drops of oil on a piece of tissue or paper, and placing it strategically near bins, entry points, under furniture etc.

If you’ve had success with repelling bugs using essential oils and want to carry that effect around with you, you can try making your own repellent balm by blending your essential oil/s of choice with solid coconut oil over a double boiler. Just make sure not to use citrus oil, as it can damage the skin if applied and then exposed to light.

Home Pest Control Measures

Home Pest Control MeasuresIf you have pests inside your home, then all hope is not lost. If you’re looking at a minor infestation of roaches, rats, mice, insects or various other pests, then you can take care of them without calling in a professional – there are some infestations that are more difficult to address than others, but it’s still enteral possible to take care of pests when they’ve established themselves in your house. There are steps you can take to limit their breeding cycle and prevent the areas that they can access. Of course, it’s a much better idea to prevent pests from entering in the first place through effective prevention measures – but this not always something that you can do. If you’re looking at an infestation, then you should definitely take some of these steps.

Invest in some pest traps – no matter what you’re looking at in terms of pest infestation, you should be able to find a product that’ll suit your unique requirements at your local pharmacy, hardware store or supermarket. There are plenty of eco-friendly and cruelty-free options to remove pests from your house – I’ve personally found that anti-coagulant pellets work wonders in ensuring that rats die a safe and relatively pain-free death, as they make them seek out water and will generally end up dying at a water source, which is not your home if you have all of your water sources covered up. Here is always a risk of rats dying within the walls of your home, but this lessens this risk considerably. These kind of baits have to be laid at entrances to your home where rats have entered, or anywhere on your property where there is a thoroughfare for pests. In my case, this was along a fence – simply placing a few baits on the part of the fence where I observed rats frequently running was enough to take care of them.

Ant baits are also an effective option for dealing with ant infestations – and importantly, many ant baits work by allowing ants to take the poison food back to their nests, where it is distributed and poisons other ants and eventually destroys the entire nest. This works very effectively because the baits are sweet and have the sugar in them that ants are truly attracted to – they’ll go for the bait over your food every time. This is a great way to take care of ants.

Have you got Termites?

Have you got TermitesOften referred to as a ‘silent destroyer’, it can be hard to detect whether or not you have termites. They might be hiding in your home or your backyard doing significant damage and you remain completely unaware of it. Termites thrive on eating wood, which is why they pose a threat to human dwellings as this is the primary material used for housing frames. They are also known to reap damage on other household items such as furniture and decking areas.

While termites are small (generally not growing to more than 1cm in length) they can cause significant damage due to their ability to hyper produce. Termites work in huge colonies and once they get underway in damaging a property they can be a real scourge to get rid of.

Prevention

The fight against termites really starts with prevention because once they get a hold of a property they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. This means taking the small steps to protect you home can be of significant benefit rather than having to pay out a huge amount of money in the future.

Eliminate Moisture

Termites thrive in damp conditions, so keeping you house warm and dry is essential for keeping them at bay. If there are any leaky taps or faucets then they should be repaired as soon as possible to keep them from making the problem worse. The same is true for the exterior of your house. Take care to ensure that your guttering is functioning properly and that rainwater doesn’t pool around the exterior of the house.

Remove Their Food

As stated termites love to munch on wood, especially damp wood. This is why it’s important to remove potential sources for feeding around your house. Piles of wood and stumps that are breeding ground for potential termites. Outdoor furniture should also be stored away from the house as this can serve as an entry point for these pests.

Warning Signs

If you have a feeling that you might have termites, then there are few things that you should keep an eye out for. Look out for a swarm of winged insects flying about your home or around the soil at your home. Another thing to try is tapping wood. If you tap wood and it sounds hollow then this a potential sign of an infestation.

There you go! A great blog post about termites and how they can truly ruin your property.

Ethical Mouse Traps

Ethical Mouse TrapsLets face it, no one likes mice crawling around their house. However as annoying and gross as they might be many of us simply can’t bring ourselves to kill the pest because it makes us feel bad. Furthermore, finding a squashed mouse stuck in a trap and then having to dispose of it isn’t a task that many people are willing to take on. Thankfully there are a number of alternatives that make getting rid of mice a cruel free endeavour, and they won’t leave you feeling bad.

Humane or ethical mouse traps are methods of catching vermin that doesn’t kill them. Generally this takes the form of a cage that has an easily accessible entrance, but no exit. This can involve some sort of weight sensitive door that require the mouse to step on it to open it, and then springs shut once they have entered. It’s important to remember with these type of traps that they aren’t perfect and they can accidentally cause an unintentional death. Most of the time however these traps work perfectly and function properly in terms of capturing mice and allowing for easy release.

There is a huge range of different traps available both at your local hardware store and online. Some are designed to capture multiple mice at once and are best suited for industrial or commercial building. Others however are more suited to catching a single mouse, therefore work better in residential applications. One significant benefit of ethical mouse traps is that they are perfectly fine to be reused multiple times. All you need to do is give them a bit of a clean and they can be deployed again.

One thing to watch out for is traps that advertise themselves as being ethical or humane, when they in fact aren’t. Things like glue traps that catch mice and technically don’t kill them can sometime falsely advertise themselves as being ethical, however they are hugely problematic. Once the mice is stuck to these glue traps they simply can’t be released, so the options that people resort to are either letting them starve to death or killing them.

Even when you buy a perfectly good human trap and are trying to be a responsible person, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to regularly check the traps. This can lead to mice starving to death, which defeats the purpose of having an ethical trap in the first place. So remember to regularly check your traps, and if you happen to come across any small friends – release them as quickly as possible.

Eight Simple Tips for Preventing Pest Infestations in Your Home

Eight Simple Tips for Preventing Pest Infestations in Your HomeThe old adage that ‘prevention is easier than cure’ is true in the case of pest control. If you have the chance, there are some simple measures you can take to prevent bugs and rodents getting in to your house and establishing themselves in the first place. Here are some simple ideas for preventing pest infestations:

  1. Take out the garbage as often as possible – preferably, at least daily. It doesn’t take long for the smell to attract flies, ants or mice.
  2. Clean out the garbage can once you’ve emptied the bin, if there’s slime or residue left. It’s not a pleasant task, but it can mean that bugs aren’t attracted to the area.
  3. Keep ripe fruit in the fridge. Fruit flies and ants can smell the ripe sugars, and may be attracted to the fruit bowl. If you leave fruit in there too long and it gets really soft, make sure to clean out the bowl as soon as possible.
  4. Wash dishes daily, as soon as possible after meal times. If you can’t possibly get to your dishes, make sure they’re submerged in warm soapy water so pests can’t smell (and be attracted to) the food leftovers.
  5. If you have a cat or dog, keep up to date with its flea protection and de-worming schedule. A simple application or tablet could prevent a lot of work in terms of getting fleas out of upholstery and fabric.
  6. Use silicone gap filler (available from any good hardware store) to seal up cracks and small gaps around the corners of the room, near windows, outlets, pipes and more. These are common entry points for cockroaches and ants.
  7. Make your own DIY fly trap, or multiple traps, and place them a safe distance away from your house to both draw out flies and make sure they don’t get past and into your house. There are plenty of recipes and instructions available online, all using simple things you may already have around the house (or can get at any grocery store). One example is using a soft drink bottle with the top inverted, and a bait chosen depending on the type of fly in question.
  8. When designing your garden, think about choosing natural pest repellent plants. Certain herbs have repellent properties and can be planted in pots and kept inside. Try keeping a planter box with fly repellent culinary herbs in your kitchen near the bin.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite on your trip to South America!

Don’t let the bed bugs bite on your trip to South AmericaSouth America is known for many things. The incredible Iguazu Falls, the amazing Inca Trail, beautiful Brazilian locals, pristine beaches, and fantastic music – just to name a few. Unfortunately, it also has something of a reputation for run-ins with pests. The pest control prowess of many of the local hostels has been the stuff of holiday horror stories for many a backpacker, with tales of bed bugs abounding.

But first, what exactly are these creepy critters? A bed bug is a parasitic insect that feeds on human blood and commonly lives in houses – especially near to or inside of beds. Charming, isn’t it. Their size and the anaesthetic/coagulant they inject into the skin means they will usually go unnoticed when tucking in to their victim. Apart from being kind of gross, they can cause nasty problems such as allergies and rashes on the skin.

After never having encountered bed bugs, I learnt during my recent pilgrimage to Machu Picchu that they were a relatively common occurrence in South America. Many people I met told me that they had suffered terribly from painful bites and rashes after being unwittingly bitten.

So what can you do? Well, it can be difficult to get total peace of mind, especially since the cleanest bed can still be infested with the bugs. Before booking, make sure you do your research and check whether there are any reports of bed bug infestation at the hotel you’re considering.

When you arrive at you room, search the seams of the mattress for signs of the bugs, which may include eggs, small fecal stains, blood, or even the bugs themselves. Other signs include the bugs’ exoskeletons, and a sweet or musty smell in the room. To protect the stuff you’ve brought with you, you can line your bag with bed bug luggage liners or laundry bags.

If you happen to be bitten, remember that scratching will just make the problem worse and make your bites last longer. Wash the bites and apply some anti-itch cream. The bites will appear like a mosquito bite; just a bit red and swollen.

Make sure you alert the hotel so they can bring in the pest controllers. Bed bugs are notorious for surviving in almost any conditions, so it may take a while for them to kill off the infestation. Also ensure to wash all your clothes thoroughly afterwards – you don’t want any eggs surviving!

“Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants!” – Myths about Pests in the Home

“Do you want ants Because that’s how you get ants Myths about Pests in the HomeUnfortunately for people whose houses are infested with ants, roaches or flies, there are a lot of urban myths about household pests, what attracts them, and how to get rid of them. Preventing pest infestations can be simple, but it requires the right background knowledge. You also need to know what food source or condition the pest in question is seeking out, so you can remove what’s attracting them.

One common misconception is that ants are only attracted to spilled sugar or syrup. The truth is that they are attracted to a wide range of food sources, including protein (such as scraps of meat) and even grease. It is generally important to make sure you clean up any scraps, throw your rubbish out regularly, and do your dishes as soon as possible after meal times – no matter what you’ve eaten. Of course, it’s still important to clean up any sweets spilled on the floor.

Another ‘DIY pest control’ myth floating around the internet is that boiling water kills ants. It may kill the ants that it touches right away, but pouring it into a nest will have little effect on the queen and most of the ants, as the water will cool down and drain away before it gets to them. You’re much better off surrounding nest areas with a poison which will be delivered to the centre of the nest before the carrier ant dies.

For those hoping to catch rats and mice, whether in quick-kill traps or catch and release traps, it’s important to know what kind of food they’re attracted to. A common myth is that they love cheese, but actually, they’re more likely to be attracted to sweet and fatty foods such as seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. A bit of plain peanut butter in the trap is likely to do the trick.

For those who have pets, you may find it interesting to know that fleas can survive a relatively long time without a host. Also, not having a host puts them into overdrive, and they search aggressively for something else to latch on to – which might be your other pets, or even you! Fleas can hide in any warm, sheltered surface including carpets and upholstery, so make sure to thoroughly clean your home as part of any pest control measure including insecticides. Also, don’t take any risks with your dogs and cats – make sure their flea treatment is up to date, especially if they’re social with other animals, as you don’t want to risk them bringing fleas inside the house.

 

DIY Pest Control Options

DIY Pest Control OptionsWhether you’re just trying to maintain results after a professional service, or you can’t quite afford to have a pest control company come in and take care of your problem, there are several DIY pest control measures you can take. Depending on the extent of the infestation and the type of pest you’re dealing with, you may be able to create or apply your own repellents, gentle pesticides and mechanical pest barriers.

The best option, of course, is prevention. There are lots of ways you can prevent bugs and vermin from getting into your home; you can create physical barriers at entry points, and make sure there are no gaps for them to crawl through. You can plant repellent herbs and flowers around the border of your house. You can also set up traps around the perimeter to prevent them getting into your home. But one of the most important pest prevention measures you can take is removing the food source that’s attracting them. This means keeping food containers properly sealed, keeping ripe fruit in the fridge, doing your dishes as soon as possible, taking garbage out daily, and other common sense measures.

If you already have pests inside your home, it’s important to take action as soon as possible before the population gets out of control and difficult to manage. First, make sure you have a good idea of what pest/s are in your home, as this will determine what type of formula or method you use; for example, you’d treat crawling insects differently from flying insects. You can choose to try and make your own DIY natural pest killer, or you can visit your local hardware store and get some advice. In recent years, several companies have developed consumer-grade versions of professional pesticides, including miniature spray packs. These sprays are applied around the perimeter of the home, especially doorways, and cannot be crossed by the majority of crawling pests (they also create a strong barrier for flies and other flying pests. Alternatively, you can get what’s known as a ‘bug bomb’ – most major supermarkets stock them – a single use product which diffuses a strong insecticide throughout a room. Just set it in the middle of the space and come back after the recommended time on the packet.

You can also get rid of a large number of pests using traps, from mouse traps to fly paper and more. Just make sure to set a periodic reminder on your phone or in your calendar to check these traps, and dispose of any dead bugs that might be stuck to them.