As any homeowner can tell you, maintaining one’s property is an ongoing responsibility. Most folks realize that a home comes with a laundry list of tasks such as cleaning, painting, updating and replacing the worn out or obsolete. One aspect that does not usually come to mind is pest control. Whether they are inside, creeping around pantries and bathrooms or outside, wreaking havoc in the garden, at one time or another, most homeowners will have to figure out how to chase away these unwanted visitors.
If pests become a problem, rather than have the place professionally bombed or fumigated, consider tackling it yourself. Chemical sprays and other synthetic applications can be very harmful to people and pets. Those with small children should be especially leery about using pesticides in or around the home. Instead, try some of these simple solutions that enlist the help of ordinary household ingredients.
Water bugs and roaches
Ugh! The very sight of these mahogany creatures skittering around can illicit cries of dismay from even seasoned nature lovers. For a simple solution, mix one part Borax powdered detergent with one part powdered sugar and sprinkle where you think the suspects are congregating. They eat the sugar and the Borax along with it, which they can not digest. It swells in their stomach and viola! No more bugs. (keep it away from pets and kids)
Should you spot a platoon of ants marching by along a windowsill and onward ho towards your pantry, deter them with vinegar. Either use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle or wipe down areas they’ve appeared with a sponge or damp cloth with the same mixture.
Known for being tough to get rid off because their eggs hatch every three(!) days, fleas are probably right behind termites and bedbugs as the most loathed household pests. After a thorough vacuuming, including all furniture cushions, draperies, carpets, and throw rugs, make a flea trap. Before bedtime, pour about an inch of water in an oblong glass dish. Add about ¼ cup of dish soap, but do not allow it to foam. Instead, gently swish it around with a wooden spoon. Put it on the floor and next to it, place a desk lamp. The light attracts the fleas, they land in the water, and the dish liquid kills them. Use caution and do not try this method if a small child or pet will come in contact with these items.
Another method is to liberally apply table salt to the infested areas. Salt every day for nine days and vacuum every third day. Make sure to empty the vacuum each time to completely get rid of the flea eggs.
If you know these pesky creatures are a problem, drastic measures may be necessary. Thorough vacuuming and washing all linens and clothing in 120-degree water are the first steps. It may be necessary to replace mattresses and upholstered furniture because of how difficult it is to break the breeding/hatching cycle. After vacuuming, try going over upholstered furniture and mattresses with a clothing steamer, which should immediately kill the bedbugs. It has also been reported that sprinkling diatomaceous earth is an effective treatment, because the bedbugs can not process the jagged particles and it destroys their digestive system.
These arachnids like to stake out certain spots in and around the house and garden and spin their elaborate webs to catch prey. Although they are valuable creatures, sometimes, they have a knack for setting up housekeeping in the most inconvenient places. Make your place unattractive to spiders by using a citrus spray in those areas. Just use one part lime or lemon juice to three parts water to wipe around windows, doors, and corners favored by the 8-legged ones.
Luckily, during the summer when mosquitoes are at the peak of activity, it’s easy to grow plants that they find offensive. According to Science Daily, “catnip repels mosquitoes better than DEET.” You can place a few pots of it around and use catnip oil directly on your skin for about two hours of protection. Pennyroyal is another herb that mosquitoes find distasteful.
Wave a little crushed basil in the air or tie small bundles of it along the deck, porch, or patio to keep flies from spoiling your picnic-or try serving pesto or Caprese salad!
In many parts of the country, slugs and snails are an unwelcome sight. Known for wiping out entire gardens in a single evening, gardeners who have dealt with them seem unable to agree on the best means to chase them away. It may have something to do with different climates and moisture levels, however, it’s difficult to say for sure. Here are a few suggestions: coffee grounds, talcum powder, lime, animal hair, dryer lint, powdered ginger, and diatomaceous earth.
If slugs and snails are some of your worst enemies, check out this article from Yahoo that reveals a number of solutions including a DIY snail trap.